Keywords: sustainability transitions, societal transitions, governance, transition arena, transition agenda, construction industry, sustainable construction, sustainable development, transition management, The Netherlands
Governing societal transitions to sustainability
Our paper addresses the inherent tension between the open-ended and uncertain process of sustainability transitions and the ambition for governing such a process. We explore this tension from two theoretical angles: the sustainability and the governance angles; by showing the implications of sustainability targets in governance processes and governance attempts. We propose transition management as a governance approach that has the potential to overcome this tension through selective participatory processes of envisioning, negotiating, learning and experimenting. Transition management includes a portfolio of tools that have a common objective to enable change in practices and structures directed towards sustainable development targets. We present the transition arena and the transition experiments as two transition management tools elaborating on their process design, expected outcomes and illustrating their application in the Dutch construction transition.