Introductory Lecture on Transition Design

The transition to a sustainable society is one of the most important and exciting design challenges of our era. Today, designers in both professional practice and education are undertaking projects in sustainable design and social innovation. However, these efforts lack a unifying framework. In the face of social and environmental challenges, a vibrant, international grassroots “transition movement” is working to build local community resilience. How do designers identify their role and become a voice in this movement?

This presentation proposes “transition design” as a new field that uses the tools, processes and studio culture of design to facilitate this. Transition design focuses on reconceiving everyday life and societal systems around food, health, transportation, policy and energy resources to be more sustainable. Transition designers understand the interconnectedness of social and natural systems and conceive solutions that leverage the power of symbiosis. Viewers are introduced to the four aspects of transition design and presented with examples of transition initiatives. This lecture was given at the AIGA National Design conference in Minneapolis, October, 2013.


Ezio Manzini, Design When Everybody Designs, RSA

Leading social innovation and sustainable design theorist Ezio Manzini explores emerging forms of collaboration in design practice, which are driving radical, bottom-up social innovation.


In Transition 2.0: a Story of Resilience and Hope

In Transition 2.0 gathers stories from grassroots, community based transition activists from around the world:  “You’ll hear about communities printing their own money, growing food, localising their economies and setting up community power stations. It’s an idea that has gone viral, a social experiment that is about responding to uncertain times with solutions and optimism. In a world of increasing uncertainty, here is a story of hope, ingenuity and the power of growing vegetables in unexpected places”


Transition Town: What’s it All About?

Activists explain the transition concept from the grassroots perspective of ‘transition towns’.


The World We Made: Alex Mackay’s Vision from 2050

Based on Jonathon Porritt’s book ‘The World We Made’, fictional history teacher Alex Mackay describes, “the key events, technological breakthroughs and lifestyle revolutions that we have collectively created and that have made the world what it is in 2050.” An important example of the future visioning and backcasting process that is integral to transition design.


Great Transition Initiative

The Great Transition Initiative is an international network of scholars from all fields, activists, citizen groups and organizations who, similarly to transition design, “champion whole system change to a life-sustaining society”.


Great Transition Ideas

An overview of the Great Transition Initiative framework and vision, which includes advocacy of cultural transformation, a reinvention of our economy and institutional structures and a cessation of the quest to conquer the natural world.


Derk Loorbach, Sustainability Transitions, 1 of 10

An introduction to the field of sustainability transitions, which researches and develops methods and tools for transitioning socio-technical sectors such as agriculture, water, energy and building.
Derk Loorbach, Sustainability Transitions, 2 of 10>>
Derk Loorbach, Sustainability Transitions, 3 of 10>>

Videos from the Transition Design Symposium, June 2016

This international symposium held in June 2016 on the Dartington Estate in Devon,home to pioneering experiments in living in the twentieth of century, brought together leading designers, educators, environmentalists and activists working, writing and researching on transition-related issues to explore the potential of Transition Design.
Opening Panel Discussion>>
Values Panel Discussion>>
The Political Economy of Transition>>
Learning to Design and Implement Transitions Discussion>>