April 27, 2012

Transition Towns: Utilizing Tools of Resilience to Challenge a Globalized World

Emily Richey, Advisor: Kate Bjork


The Transition Town Movement started in 2006 in the United Kingdom, and it has spread globally since (Transition Sydney, 2008). Inspiration for this movement came from the fragility of our current social and economic systems, peak oil, and global climate change. Transition Town communities understand that the world is facing great change in the coming decades. These towns are making an effort to improve the self-sufficiency and resiliency of their communities. The Transition Town Movement has established many tools for towns and communities to use when attempting to create this resilience.

One of these tools is the Transition Network Principles. These eight principles enable Transition Towns to reflect on where they are in the process of building resiliency. For this study, eight Transition Town Initiators from Hervey Bay, Sydney, Byron Shire, Heybridge, Derwent, South Hobart, Water Works Valley, and the Sunshine Coast, all towns in the eastern states of Australia (Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland), participated in interviews about the implementation of each of these principles in their respective town. Analysis of the data compared the actions of a Transition Town to the definition of each principle. The results represent which stage of progress each Transition Town is in on the way to creating resiliency. Additionally, questions about how each Initiator and Transition Town defined, viewed, utilized, and challenged globalization were included in the interviews. The results demonstrate how globalization has affected the positive spread of Transition Towns, but also how greatly globalization has negatively affected the systems we live within, such as economy and ecosystems. The results also helped to further explain the necessity of and motivation behind the Transition Town Movement and its Initiators.

Transition Towns have used globalization to their benefit, but more consequently, have risen to challenge the current global system, and create more resiliency and self-sufficiency by implementing the Transition Network Principles.