Collaboration across scales

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This page will summarise the interactions and synergies between commnity-led initiatives (CLIs) and local, regional, national and international decision-making institutions, highlighting enablers and barriers of this partnership across scales, including a strong focus on common set of values and visions as well as innovative collaborative methodologies.

Municipal actions (ICLEI, MiT)

Municipalities in transition (MiT)[1]

  • Transition Network

"For one, the scale of actions remains a contentious issue [6–8]. Any city of significant size consists of many neighbourhoods. Accordingly, should the economy be localised to the metropolitan level or the neighbourhood level? Currently, the latter approach is far more popular. London, for example, has 38 registered transition groups throughout the city are working independently from each other. However, such a segmented vision of the city contradicts the workings of the city as an integrated urban economy [6]. Second, transition groups in large cities show limited success in injecting their objectives into urban politics that are dominated by the pro-growth alliance [7]. Third, despite its attempts to be inclusive, the movement is mainly driven by white middle-class values, while disadvantaged communities are very much under-represented [7, 8]. Consequently, for it to really trigger and support broader transition from the current high-carbon trajectory of cities, the movement has yet to expand beyond a narrow demographic group—the white, middle-class, well-educated population living in relatively well-off suburbs. Fourth, the transition movement has been criticised by other environmental groups as apolitical, meaning that the movement aims to achieve social transformation through positive action rather than through antagonism [9]. While the focus on direct action is likely to contribute to the popularity of the transition movement, it runs the risk of confining the movement to irrelevance and being co-opted into the mainstream agenda [10]. Evidently, this non-confrontational approach has failed to achieve a consensus even among many local transition groups. Thus, in some cases, the approach has resulted in ideological debates, delays, loss of membership, and lack of focus [8]." (in [2]

  • Ecovillages

"Indeed, it is increasingly common to find ecovillages actively engaging in local government, community organisations, and research institutions to spread their ideals and knowledge [14]. Non-government organisations such as Gaia Education and Living Routes are formed to facilitate the outreach process by collaborating with universities and ecovillages to offer sustainable education to students [15]." (in [2]

Regional actions (regions involved in SCP project)

Suggestions from Markus:

National support structures (governmental and bottom-up)

International structures

Key Findings and Recommendations


  2. 2.0 2.1 Lo, K., 2017. Grassroots environmentalism and low carbon cities, in: Creating Low Carbon Cities. Springer.