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Über dieses Buch

This is a unique book that provides rich knowledge on how to understand and actively contribute to urban sustainability transitions. The book combines theoretical frameworks and tools with practical experiences on transition management as a framework that supports urban planning and governance towards sustainability. The book offers the opportunity to become actively engaged in working towards sustainable futures of cities. Readers of this book will be equipped to understand the complexity of urban sustainability transitions and diagnose persistent unsustainability problems in cities. Urban planners and professionals will build competences for designing transition management processes in cities and engaging with multidisciplinary knowledge in solution-seeking processes. The heart of the book marks the variety of very different local case studies across the world – including, amongst others, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, La Botija in Honduras, Sydney in Australia and Cleveland in the US. These rich studies give inspiration and practical insights to young planners on how to create sustainable urban futures in collaboration with other stakeholders.

The case studies and critical reflections on applications of transition management in cities offer food for thought and welcome criticism. They also introduce new lenses to understand the bigger picture that co-creation dynamics play in terms of power, (dis-)empowerment, legitimacy and changing actor roles. This will equip the readers with a deep understanding of the dynamics, opportunities and challenges present in urban contexts and urban sustainability transitions.



Transition Management in and for Cities: Introducing a New Governance Approach to Address Urban Challenges

For introducing our book, this chapter provides the arguments on why transition management as a governance approach is suitable for cities, as a new strategic planning approach. It also includes a thorough literature review of transition management applications from 2001 to 2017 that shows its spread as a heuristic, operational and theoretical model for transition governance in multiple sectors and across local, regional and national levels. From the literature review and the book contributions we derive ten directions for future research and development of transition management that can benefit not only its operational applications as a process methodology but also its theoretical and heuristic strengths, pointing at theoretical and conceptual deepening and broadening of its tenets and principles. Next, the chapter provides an overview of the book, its four parts and summaries of all chapter contributions. Last, we provide a ‘guide’ on how to read this book, and how to best use the knowledge and experience shared in readers’ research and urban practice.
Niki Frantzeskaki, Katharina Hölscher, Julia M. Wittmayer, Flor Avelino, Matthew Bach

Part I


Understanding the Urban Context and Its Challenges

This chapter introduces a particular understanding of the urban context against the background of on-going societal change and persistent problems that threaten to induce disastrous change. The urban context is presented in relation to urban challenges, scopes of urban sustainability and the governance of the urban. Understanding urban context and its dynamics is important for finding the right approaches to tap into the potentials of cities and reroute their development pathways towards sustainability and resilience. The governance of urban sustainability transitions requires new forms of strategic environmental planning processes that integrate diverse sources of knowledge and diverse perspectives. The new planning processes need also to set connections between urban challenges and global, national and regional developments. The challenge remains for urban practitioners and scientists alike to take up a process-content thinking and to reflect on how to navigate societal complexity while mobilizing transformative societal potential towards action for sustainability.
Niki Frantzeskaki, Matthew Bach, Patience Mguni

Introducing Sustainability Transitions’ Thinking in Urban Contexts

This chapter describes the basics of transitions thinking, its rationale and relation to sustainability transitions. We outline the fundamental conceptual models and frameworks (multi-phase model, multi-level perspective, multi-path, power and agency) and make a quick introduction to the relation of the sustainability transitions field to environmental governance.
Niki Frantzeskaki, Matthew Bach, Katharina Hölscher, Flor Avelino

Transition Management: Guiding Principles and Applications

This chapter describes a way of influencing sustainability transitions, namely transition management, and its strengths and limitations as a framework for strategic environmental planning in cities. This includes a description of the guiding principles of transition management, their translation into a governance framework and the operationalization thereof into process guidelines. For each phase of the process, rationale and methods as well as outcomes are outlined.
Julia M. Wittmayer, Frank van Steenbergen, Niki Frantzeskaki, Matthew Bach

Urban Planning and Transition Management: Rationalities, Instruments and Dialectics

This chapter juxtaposes the transition management approach with the rationalities and instruments of urban planning. Considering the historic evolution and current characteristics of urban planning in theory and practice, it identifies key challenges and opportunities for engaging with transition management. The discussion underlines the added value but also incompatibility of both approaches, and thus the need to create synergies and mutually compensate for critical deficits to effectively perform urban sustainability transformations. This implies to conceive of a dialectic relation between urban planning and transition management, deliberately striving for coordinated independence.
Marc Wolfram

Part II


Empowering Actors in Transition Management in and for Cities

The multi-actor nature of urban sustainability transitions challenges existing social fabrics and local governance settings, and raises questions about who takes decisions, with which agenda and to what end. It demands close attention to who are actors involved in transition processes and what are the implications for (changing) roles, responsibilities and relations of actors and networks. This chapter provides an overview of different understandings of actors and roles in transition management in and for cities and how actors are empowered through transition management interventions to advance urban sustainability transitions. We first review different approaches and heuristics to understand actors and roles in transition management and in relation to the underlying goal to influence urban sustainability transitions. These enable to analyse actors and (changing) roles, support the actor selection and enhance reflexivity in transition management processes. We then discuss what the notion of ‘empowerment’ captures in terms of how actors (re-)define, develop and enact roles and relationships in the pursuit of urban sustainability transitions as a result of transition management interventions in cities. We exemplify our reflections with insights from our empirical experiences with transition management processes.
Katharina Hölscher, Flor Avelino, Julia M. Wittmayer

Starting Up Transition Management: A Closer View on the Systems Analysis and How It Initiated Transformative Thinking in Ghent and Aberdeen Cities

In this chapter we present a systems analysis methodology for the first phase of Transition Management, the preparation and exploration phase, in an urban context. The methodology consists of the following four steps, which are followed in an iterative way: (i) system definition, (ii) system structuring, (iii) data gathering and (iv) data assessment and analysis. Characteristic of this methodology is the use of the SCENE sustainability model, in combination with a set of lenses that reflect a variety of ways of looking at the system from macro, meso, and micro level. Together, these lenses ensure an integrated perspective and thorough analysis of a city’s government and governance. The systems analysis methodology was applied in the cities of Ghent and Aberdeen to identify the challenges and opportunities in their cities with respect to energy use and CO2 reductions. The outcomes and reflections on their respective systems analyses show that creating an overview of the state of the system revealed interesting connections and that constructing a historical analysis of the city inspired and motivated participants. The systems analysis broadened the problem perception, revealed institutional barriers to sustainable development and served as a catalyst for mutual understanding and learning between the participants. Overall, the systems analysis methodology proved to be an effective method to create an overview of the city activities under study, and stimulated the creation of a common information base and holistic thinking amongst participants in the transition process.
Suzanne Maas, Karen Fortuin, Niki Frantzeskaki, Chris Roorda

Transition Management in Urban Neighbourhoods: The Case of Carnisse, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

The case study in this chapter marks a socially disadvantaged community in the South of Rotterdam, the Netherlands: Carnisse. Transition management was applied in Carnisse in the context of decreasing public service provisions, closing of public facilities, high unemployment and crumbling social cohesion to facilitate the self-organisation of inhabitants to address persistent sustainability problems. This chapter illustrates how the process implementation has been influenced by political, institutional and emotional factors related to the place-specific characteristics of urban neighbourhood transitions. While urban neighbourhoods mark opportunities for self-organisation – through for example emotional connectedness – the political playing field can provide support, or restrain it. The transition management application in Carnisse shows several advantages of applying transition management on the scale of an urban community. It provided a new perspective for the development of that community, increased social capital, supported reflexivity on roles and own behaviours and revealed opportunities for self-organisation.
Julia M. Wittmayer, Frank van Steenbergen, Matthew Bach

A German Experience: The Challenges of Mediating ‘Ideal-Type’ Transition Management in Ludwigsburg

When the city of Ludwigsburg in Germany experimented with the transition management approach, it had already formulated ambitious sustainability strategies and programmes, institutionalised sustainability in a cross-sectional city department and established a variety of participatory processes to collect citizen input for strategic planning. In this chapter, we reflect on the transition management process in Ludwigsburg and its results against the backdrop of how ‘ideal-type’ transition management got mediated in a context with well-developed sustainability strategies and participatory planning processes. The case of transition management in Ludwigsburg reveals several issues that relate to a questioning of the distinctiveness of transition management as co-creation process, its ‘added value’ and its fit with existing policies and planning processes. The process outcomes might be an indication of challenges in that regard: the results were treated as ‘input’ to the city government’s plans, were not able to inspire ‘transformative’ thinking, did not result in concrete actions and, finally, roles and relationships of the city government vis-à-vis the citizens were largely re-confirmed. Nevertheless, the results do include new ideas about the future of Ludwigsburg, build on a systemic perspective and the experience with the new methodology triggered the involved policy officers to reflect on the city government’s current inflexible and narrow approaches to participation in city planning.
Katharina Hölscher, Julia M. Wittmayer

Transition Management for Local Sustainability: A Case Study from La Botija Protected Area, San Marcos de Colón, Honduras

In this chapter we present two methods that we employed to facilitate the exploration for environmental stewardship in La Botija protected area: transition management was the transdisciplinary methodology that connected a co-created sustainability vision with the co-development and mobilization of local action. The ecosystem services framework was employed to systematize knowledge about resource use and ecosystem degradation and identify links between malpractices and ecosystems’ deterioration. The transition management process activated participants to realise the co-created transition agenda by forging new partnerships, enabling self-organisation in community groups and empowering existing community groups. A highlighted learning outcome is the recognised need to develop own knowledge and community capacity to overcome local challenges, deviating from the dependence on external aid.
Giorgia Silvestri, Niki Frantzeskaki

Part III


Translating Transitions Thinking and Transition Management into the City Planning World

City planning draws out relationships between land use patterns, housing form and density, transport, energy provision and other infrastructures. While commonly struggling with the task, a city’s planning system could be one of the key integrating forces for tackling the sustainability challenge. As it happens, these particular systems are quite regularly subject to coordinated and relatively well resourced reform efforts, usually not generated from a sustainability viewpoint. This chapter raises the question of whether, and how, transition management ideas might more directly enter and influence this “turbulent” reform space. Sydney provides the case-setting for the introduction of transition management, and related conceptions, to a recent major planning system reform project for that city. Working from a theoretical meshing of planning, relational-institutional and transitions studies, a new process model for planning system reform projects is introduced: the Planning System Transition (PST) framework. This framework’s development and testing, through empirical research, is explained. This chapter suggests positive prospects for transition management in city planning reform, but also highlights the critical requirement for contextualisation with practical and scholarly planning insights, as exemplified in the PST framework.
Peter Walsh

Transition Management in Urban China: Co-creation of New Homes or a Monopoly Game?

This chapter places empirical applications and review of established Transition Management principles in the metropolitan areas in coastal China. Based on content analysis and semi-structured interviews, an overview of state envisioning processes of urban sustainability is first presented as a conflicting context for the disequilibria observed in the environmental governance system across the metropolitan areas. The interactions of observed disequilibria grounded locally potentially weaken the state-led envisioning processes. With the presence of challenges in state-led transitions, the chapter proceeds to case studies in Shenzhen, the city that is practicing the state-led sustainability visions, to analyse how local dynamics of resource and organisational landscape are integrated in the transition process.
Qianqing Lindsay Mai

A Transition Management Approach for Shrinking Cities in the United States

Transition Management is not a widely used approach for guiding urban development and change in the United States. However, the principles of Transition Management may prove valuable to planning and policymaking efforts in the US, particularly in the shrinking cities of the Rustbelt region. In these cities, population loss and deindustrialization pose daunting challenges, but also offer robust and multi-faceted opportunities to pursue more sustainable urban futures. Established planning practices in the United States are primarily geared toward managing growth. These practices are often ineffective in cities that are not growing. New, more flexible approaches to planning and community engagement are needed. The principles of Transition Management may prove especially relevant for shrinking cities in the US because the overarching idea that Transition Management is not about adapting, or correcting current conditions, but rather a focus on transformative change.
Terry Schwarz

Context-Driven Transition Management as a Necessary Vehicle for Sustainable Urban Futures in Suriname

The capital of Suriname has experienced enormous growth over the past decennia. De decline of industries in other urban settlement have resulted in migration to the capital along with population growth and ongoing country immigration. With the absence of sound urban and spatial planning, the result is urban sprawl where increasing population and traffic density create ongoing specialization of services in the capital with continuously decreasing action radius; there is a tendency where people opt to live further from the city core but which makes the utilization of services in the city’s core cost-prohibitive. The answer to this is the creation of new urban settlements which build on new industries with increasing returns. However, this implies a break from existing paradigms with respect to strategizing, policy, planning, tourism, logistics, urbanism, etc. This requires a transition for which management has been broken down in several steps in literature. However, transitions tend to differ along geographical parameters; for instance, regimes tend to be relatively stronger in developing countries. Thus, transition management needs to fit the context which requires assessment tools such as Quinn’s culture model and the STEEPL and OPTIMISM frameworks to anticipate pitfalls and opportunities during the transition.
Daniël A. Lachman, Martinus R. J. Panday, Deryck J. H. Ferrier

Urban Transition Management as a Democratic Practice? The Case of Rotterdam’s Waterfront Regeneration

This chapter examines the democratic aspects and challenges associated with urban transition management. It does so at a conceptual level and by critically reflecting on the application of transition management in the context Rotterdam’s sustainable waterfront regeneration. As such, it aims to shed a more reflexive light on the increasing academic and public interest in transition management.
Shivant Jhagroe

Part IV


So What? Transition Management as a Transformative Approach to Support Governance Capacities in Cities

This chapter synthesises the insights from the various book contributions to critically reflect on what transition management offers when applied in and for cities. In this book, transition management has been suggested as a transformative governance approach in and for cities. Transition management seeks to provide impulses for systemic change by creating spaces for developing innovative ideas and practices and for empowering actors to develop transition experiments. It also holds the potential to fundamentally challenge existing planning and governance systems by aligning a diversity of actors, networks and initiatives under a shared and long-term sustainability vision and questioning existing roles and responsibilities of actors. We explore how transition management thus contributes to building transformative capacity for systemic change and orchestrating capacity for the coordination of self-organisation. On the basis of the book contributions we discuss the potentials, opportunities and challenges of transition management as a prescriptive and transformative governance approach. We conclude by identifying implications for transition management in light of the objective to strengthen governance capacities for navigating sustainability transitions in cities.
Katharina Hölscher


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