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Home > News & Events > News > Short Course on Urban Sustainability Transitions and Transition Management
June 17, 2015

Short Course on Urban Sustainability Transitions and Transition Management

The Transition Academy, the next-generation academic initiative of DRIFT, invites you to a 2-day research course of intense knowledge building, great debates and facilitated in-depth conversations with action researchers and experts on Transition Management about the forces shaping our cities and interactive sessions to experience and learn designing co-creation processes that tap and reroute such forces for sustainable and resilient futures.

In this course we invite PhD candidates and junior researchers to apply and be part of our intensive programme. We will take a closer look on the transition dynamics in cities: how to examine and understand on-going processes by bringing together driving forces and have a ‘hold on’ those who we conceptualise as transition frontrunners.

In this 2-day seminar we offer:

– an interactive intense knowledge building process in which experts on Transition Management work with you on a real-time transition management process

– a reader on Transition Management for Cities tailored for post-graduates (Master of Science, PhD) and urban planning practitioners that search for new ways to strategic environmental planning and governance

– a lecture on fitness of Transition Management as a transdisciplinary method and approach to your research problem and context

– an opportunity to visit transition experiments in the city of Rotterdam and get a grasp on what can be the follow-ups of Transition Management processes that deal and experiment with sustainability in the city.

“Cities have little choice: to survive and flourish they must remain hospitable to pragmatism and problem solving, to cooperation and networking, to creativity and innovation” (Benjamin Barber, 2013, If mayors ruled the world, Yale University Press)

Confirmed lecturers that will actively engage in building knowledge with you include:

Niki Frantzeskaki – associate professor on governance for sustainability transtions, is working at DRIFT since 2010 where she researches contemporary sustainability transitions and their governance across Europe (UK, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands) and in developing countries like Vanuatu, Ghana, Honduras as well as in the USA. She has applied Transition Management in Aberdeen, Delft, Melbourne and Vanuatu.

Julia Wittmayer – senior researcher at the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, Erasmus University Rotterdam, focusing on social innovation and social sustainability in urban areas and on a local scale. She is interested in the roles, social relations and interactions of actors involved in processes and initiatives aiming to contribute to sustainability transitions – with a specific interest for the role of science.

Course information

The course will take place in different urban areas of Rotterdam, amongst it the DRIFT Office at Erasmus University. The course fee is €250,-, including lunch and drinks. 
Dinners are on own expense and can be enjoyed together at one of Rotterdams nice restaurants.Rotterdam has quite a lot of good value rooms to offer through the regular channels, but we’d be happy to help you finding a place to stay during these days. Low cost flights to Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Eindhoven Airport are easily found, especially from Europe.


We encourage PhD reserachers, Master Students and other junior researchers to apply for our course by

1) Filling in the registration form and

2) Sending us a short motivational letter

Important dates:

  • Friday August 25: Deadline for registration including a motivation letter (500 words)

  • Friday September 05: Ultimate notification of acceptance, sending of reading material & preparation instructions

  • Friday September 20: Participants send their inputs to

  • Thursday 24 and Friday 25 of September: Course days in Rotterdam (The Netherlands)

Master students or PhD researchers that would like to be eligible for ECTS credits for this course, we suggest to contact us. Estimated ECTS for this course are: 2 for taking the course, 3 when in addition handing in a research reflection within one month after finishing the course. A certificate of participation will be granted to all participants that finish the Short Research Course.


Thursday 24 September
10:00    Welcome and introductory round
10:30    Introduction to Urban Sustainability Transitions
11.30    Interactive Session I:
– Questions and Presentations of On-going Research by Participants
– Forming of working groups
12:30    LUNCH
13:30    Presentation by Nico Tilie about Rotterdam’s Sustainability Plans
14:00    Group Work Session I – Sustainability Challenges from a Transition Perspective
15:00    Group Work Session II – Designing transformative visions
16:00    COFFEE BREAK with Group-Pitch-Presentations
16:30    Group Work Session III- Transition Pathways: multiple avenues to sustainability?
17:30    Transition Management in and for Cities
18:30    First reflections and closing of Day 1
19:00    DRINKS
Friday 25 September
08.30    Walk at the riverfront: Explanation of the different transition experiments
10:00    Insights and lessons learnt from Transition Management Applications in Cities
11:00    Interactive Session II:- Working Groups present and reflect on the Sessions I-III
12:30    LUNCH
13:30    When Transition Management ‘fits’ your research problem
14:30    Closing of the day and follow ups
15:00    Visit of the Fenix Food Factory, meeting the people of the sustainable food initiatives & Drinks

For more information about the course, contact Katharina Hölscher.

Please download the extended course description here.