Transition management has recently been developed in the Netherlands as a new mode of governance for sustainable development. The rationale behind transition management is that we are facing persistent societal problems of such complexity, that we cannot easily solve them by means of traditional approaches. In areas like energy, mobility, agriculture and water management, but also in health care, education and housing, sustainability can not be delivered by top-down approaches or bottom-up innovation and liberalization strategies only. For this, governance approaches are needed that are able to take into account a very long time horizon, a multitude of actors with different perspectives, different levels of scale and uncertain future development. By taking societal complexity as point of departure, transition management offers an integrative framework to combine and integrate regular and innovative approaches and instruments for social innovation towards sustainability.
Transition management combines long-term envisioning, short-term experiments, and social learning. A central governance instrument is the transition arena: a scientifically underpinned approach for implementation, coordination and structuration of transition management processes. The transition arena is an institutional space where innovators with various backgrounds, perspectives and ambitions are brought together to develop shared long-term perspectives and a transition agenda that increasingly will influence regular policy and our societal systems. This approach has been successfully applied in areas of sustainable energy, mobility, agriculture and housing.
This book offers insight into the first five years of development of theory and practice of transition management as a new paradigm and approach in multi-disciplinary research and governance. It is highly relevant for science and policy for sustainable development in the international context.