Governance impacts of the Transition movement

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Research highlights the importance of skills, approaches and group processes that can either support or undermine the degree to which participants in Transition groups can engage in collective leadership and participatory decision making (Poland et al.,2019[1]; Longhurst and Pataki, 2015[2]).

Shared Governance

Since 2017, Transition Network has been on a journey of shifting to shared governance and consent-based decision making. This has had a deep impact on the way the network works, and the attempts to further distribute power, agency and resources across the wider movement, with 59% of the Transition 2020 survey respondents reporting some or meaningful or significant impact in Collaborative decision making.

Shared governance approaches used by Transition groups have had an impact on other local actors, as this Italian Transition group reflected:

“Sicuramente c'è stato un forte impatto culturale legato al tema della governance e al.pensiero siatemico. Ad esempio la forza politica che amministra il municipio (M5S) ci ha chiesto una formazione e sulla S3 per iniziare a usarla anche internamente al circolo locale. // There has certainly been a strong cultural impact linked to the theme of governance and systemic thinking. For example, the political force that administers the town hall asked us for training and on [Sociocracy] to start using it also within the local club.”

Participatory democracy

Transition groups have been experimenting in forms of participatory democracy, including participatory budgeting and citizens assemblies.  37% of Transition 2020 survey respondents reported some or meaningful or significant impact. Some examples include:

Transição São Luís, Portugal: “Participatory budgeting. Today most of our public buildings have photovoltaic panels, thanks to the Transição São Luís project.”

Dresden im Wandel, Germany: “I was the project manager of the Zukunftsstadt project, in which we developed and tested a citizen participation procedure and from which a vision of the future city of Dresden and 8 citizen projects with an impact in the city emerged[3]. Based on this experience, we have also developed software that supports cities in setting up comparable participation processes.”


  1. Poland, Blake, Chris Buse, Paul Antze, Randolph Haluza-DeLay, Chris Ling, Lenore Newman, André-Anne Parent, et al. “The Emergence of the Transition Movement in Canada: Success and Impact through the Eyes of Initiative Leaders.” Local Environment 24, no. 3 (March 4, 2019): 180–200.
  2. Longhurst, N. and Pataki, G., 2015. WP4 CASE STUDY Report: The Transition Movement TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2-1
  3. accessed 04/05/2021