This thesis is about the local scale of urban neighbourhoods, towns and cities and its interaction with global problems and sustainability questions. At this scale, we most notably interact with these problems and thereby question current role understandings, actor relations and activities that come with them. One of these role understandings is that of the researcher: what are suitable approaches and methods for studying and supporting sustainability transitions at that local scale. Set in the context of a Dutch neighbourhood (Rotterdam-Carnisse) and the issues it is facing as well as based on transition thinking and inspired by action-oriented research, this thesis addresses the following question: How can we increase our understanding of sustainability transitions and their governance at the local scale, the changing role of actors therein, and in particular, the role of research and researchers?.

The main contributions can be summarized as follows:
1) It contributes to sustainability transition research by clarifying the concept of actor roles in local sustainability transitions;
2) It contextualise transition management as a governance approach for the local context as well as for addressing socio-economic dynamics, and
3) contributes to the development of action-oriented and transformative research approaches in sustainability transition research.

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D.A. Loorbach (Derk) , F. Avelino (Flor)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Wittmayer, J. (2016, December 8). Transition Management, Action Research and Actor Roles: Understanding local sustainability transitions. Retrieved from