Designing Transitions Bottom-up: The agency of design in formation and proliferation of niche practices

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Sustainability transitions are generating comprehensive learning spaces, which yield substantial reconfigurations not only in our practices and actions, sociotechnical systems, but also in our cognitive constructs. This article tackles the agency of design in transitions, by particularly focusing on bottom-up and emergent learning processes at niches. An overview on common lines of inquiry from (1) design theory, (2) multi-level perspective (MLP) of system innovations and (3) practice theory (PT), which commonly address the agencies of design and learning in transitions, is presented. Consequently, we propose an integrative analytic-theoretical framework, and describe it with an exemplary analysis of a community-led transition project.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1659-1674
Number of pages16
JournalThe Design Journal
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational European Academy of Design Conference: Running with Scissors - University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 201912 Apr 2019
Conference number: 12

    Research areas

  • Sustainability transitions, Design Theory, Practice theory, multi level perspective, learning space

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