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Transition Streets: an evidence base to support the Transition approach to change

I am really pleased today to be able to share with you some of the key outputs from Transition Streets, which I have written about here before.  Let’s start, for people who are new to the concept, with this short video which beautifully captures how Transition Streets worked in Totnes.

Transition Streets has already been rolled out in places other than Totnes, but in a few weeks, a whole supported programme will be coming out whereby you will be able to run it in your community (I’ll let you know).  You can see the first section of the Transition Streets workbook here to get a flavour of it.  It is a great example of the tool from ‘The Transition Companion’ called ‘Street-by-street behaviour change’. The main output from Transition Streets is the ‘Final project report’, which “shares information about the Transition Streets project, funded by the previous government’s Low Carbon Communities Challenge funded: how it worked, what it achieved, what was learnt and where we are heading next”.  You can find a summary of its findings here.  It is a very thorough round-up of the project. However, the most fascinating to me is “Social Impacts of Transition Together (SITT): Investigating the social impacts, benefits and sustainability of the Transition Together/Transition Streets initiative in Totnes“,which goes into the more qualitative aspects of Transition Streets, what motivated people to get involved, what changes people made as a result of getting involved, what benefits individuals and groups actually experienced, what are the features of a successful group, what issues groups experienced and how they dealt with them, and finally, what role people see for their groups beyond their time doing Transition Streets. When I meet people in town who were part of Transition Streets, they don’t enthuse about how much carbon they saved, they talk about the new social connections they have made, and that comes through really strongly in this brilliant piece of research.  People’s main motivations for getting involved weren’t climate change or peak oil, but were “building good relationships with my neighbours”.  The main benefit they pointed to from having been involved was social and community benefits.  Here is the word cloud thing from when people were asked what were the most significant benefits they experienced from taking part in Transition Streets.

See how tiny the word ‘peak’ is?  I think there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from the experience of Transition Streets.  It is the first really good piece of research and evidence of how the Transition approach works, and how it is about so much more than just reducing energy use.  These reports give a taste of perhaps where the skilfulness of Transition lies, in making Transition feel like where people are having most fun, where the laughter and the companionship is, where people feel they can connect with each other.

tc Rob Hopkins is the author of The Transition Companion.


A write-up of the 2012 Transition Network conference. The best yet.

Transition folks from around the world gathered last weekend at Battersea Arts Centre for the 6th annual Transition Network conference.  In a week when the Arctic ice reached its smallest ever extent, scientists warned that the world’s weather could be on the verge of running amok and it was suggested that Saudi Arabia, always meant […] Read More..

Off to the Transition Network conference 2012

So, it’s bag-packing time as I get ready to set off to Battersea for the Transition Network conference.  There probably won’t be much activity on these web pages over the duration of the conference as it tends to be hectic bonkers from start to finish and little time to sit and blog.  However, there will […] Read More..

A July/August Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition

This month’s round up covers two months, because this time last month half of the team that lovingly create these round ups was away when they should have been producing this.  As a result it’s a bit of a whopper.  The latest Transition Bristol newsletter begins “In this issue…. The Bristol Pound is coming, the Bristol Pound is coming, […] Read More..

An interview with Charles Eisenstein: “Something in your heart knows that this is what life is supposed to be about”

About 4 weeks ago, I had the honour of interviewing Charles Eisenstein, author of ‘Sacred Economics’ while he was in the UK visiting Schumacher College to teach a course there for a week.  I had to admit before we began the interview that I have yet to read his book, in spite of the number […] Read More..

Costa Coffee and the Market of Hope

I was recently in Santander, a major port city on the northern Spanish coast.  While my kids were waking up in the hotel, my wife and youngest son went out in search of breakfast.  Bereft of a map, we wandered in search of some fruit, and some pastries perhaps?  Eventually, glancing round a street corner, […] Read More..