Sustainable development requires changes in socio-technical systems and wider societal change - in beliefs, values and governance that co-evolve with technology changes. In this article we present a practical model for managing processes of co-evolution: transition management. Transition management is a multilevel model of governance which shapes processes of co-evolution using visions, transition experiments and cycles of learning and adaptation. Transition management helps societies to transform themselves in a gradual, reflexive way through guided processes of variation and selection, the outcomes of which are stepping stones for further change. It shows that societies can break free from existing practices and technologies, by engaging in co-evolutionary steering. This is illustrated by the Dutch waste management transition. Perhaps transition management constitutes the third way that policy scientists have been looking for all the time, combining the advantages of incrementalism (based on mutual adaptation) with the advantages of planning (based on long-term objectives).

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The International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Kemp, R., Loorbach, D., & Rotmans, J. (2007). Transition management as a model for managing processes of co-evolution towards sustainable development. The International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 14(1), 78–91. doi:10.1080/13504500709469709