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Transition Management

One of the major barriers to achieving sustainability is the dominant socioeconomic/sociotechnical structure, so-called "regimes." Laws and regulations, available technologies, infrastructure, customs, and culture define how people behave and make choices. These structural elements have to be adapted to the changing environment, such as climate change and population aging (particularly in Japan). These elements of structure are, however, resistant to change even when there's a clear need to do so because the dominant "regimes" often attempt to obstruct transitions and maintain the status quo.

In order for us to live in a sustainable future, we need to develop a methodology for accelerating the sustainability transition.

"Transition management" is one of the policy processes for accelerating such transitions. It aims at stirring a change at the structural level by focusing on the frontrunners who have already started visioning and practicing a sustainable future. By promoting and scaling up their emerging practice, transition management attempts to trigger a sociotechnical transition and accelerate it.

I have been exploring the process of sustainability transition and transition management in Japan through case studies and action research projects since around 2010.

Publications (in English)

Masahiro Matsuura (2022) "Disasters as Enablers of Negotiation for Sustainability Transition: A Case from Odaka, Fukushima" Sustainability, 14(5), p. 3101.

Project sites

  • Urawa-Misono neighborhood (Saitama)
  • Kanazawa (Ishikawa Prefecture) on promoting bicycle transportation
  • Odaka neighborhood, Minami-Soma (Fukushima)
  • Kamikatsu township (Tokushima)