How to Involve Citizens in Sustainable Development
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In this study an investigation was made of how (best) to involve citizens in sustainable development. This has been done by a detailed study of the Transition Towns movement in the Netherlands. Transition Towns is a global bottom-up movement with the aim to make citizens aware of the risks of climate change and peak oil and to come with practical solutions on a local level for these problems. The aim of this study is to come to a better understanding of both the successes and failures of the Transition Towns movement through a comparison with the theoretical understandings of systemic thinking, social practices, transition management and tipping points. This has offered clues on how to involve citizens as key agents of change in a systemic transition towards a sustainable society and economy. The analysis of Transition Towns in relation to systemic thinking shows that the focus of Transition Towns is too heavily based on environmental goals like peak oil and climate change. Successful initiatives are initiatives where different parts of behavior (material/institutional/social) are incorporated in the initiative. The chosen theories were used as indicators for the analysis of the successes and failures of the Transition Towns movement. These theories have shown that important indicators for becoming a successful Transition Town are: having a clear and strong structured organization, to collaborate with third parties, having people with the right competencies and to involve a wide variety of people.