Date and location

  •   April 22, 2015 - April 22, 2015
  •   Chicago, USA

Conference details

In order to achieve sustainable development, large socio-technical systems need to change involving fundamental transformation processes in technologies, industries and lifestyles. Although a substantial body of literature has emerged in the promising fields of Sustainability Transitions and Transition Management (e.g. Geels 2005; Meadowcroft 2009; Grin, Rotmans and Schot 2010; Frantzeskaki, Loorbach and Meadowcroft 2012), the spatial aspects of this transition have only slowly been dealt with by research (e.g. Bulkeley et al. 2010, Späth and Rohracher 2010; Hodson and Marvin 2012; Truffer and Coenen 2012; Bridge et al. 2013). Given the scale advantage of a region-based analysis – providing necessary detail, yet also a broader strategic perspective – the Regional Studies Association Research Network seeks to explore questions and challenges around the governance of the postulated

Transition from a regional perspective. 

The focus of this third workshop is on geographical perspectives of the regional sustainability transition. For a decade a literature referred to as “transition studies” has produced a steady stream of interesting, if not controversial claims, about how society might transition our economies, technologies, and modes of governance to bring about more sustainable futures. More recently, two of the progenitors of this line of scholarship have recognized the value geographical perspectives bring to transition studies and made several efforts to cultivate a “geography of sustainability transitions” (Truffer and Coenen 2012, pg. 3).

This call has been made from other quarters, too. Lawhon and Murphy (2011) recruit a political ecological perspective into transition studies. Similarly, Aoyama (2011) points to the importance of environmental economic geography to be a key source in issues of environmental and sustainable change. Indeed, the scientific committee of the Regional Studies Association funded the Governing the Sustainability Transitions Research Network which has been exploring these issues in terms of regional governance, the built environment, technological transitions, and the like. The Chicago AAG is an appropriate place to bring further discussion and debate around the framing and analysis of ‘sustainability transitions’ from geographical perspectives. Toward this end, we invite conceptual papers and empirical case studies that explore different geographical concepts in the context of sustainability transitions.

Papers could address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • A conceptual examination of the ‘transitions’ literature and approaches;
  • Geographically grounded transition networks;
  • Institutional analyses of transitions;
  • Societal transitions and the political dimension;
  • Impacts of transitions on regions;
  • Transition strategies and general regional challenges;
  • Transition towns as a process of urbanization;
  • Local resistance to transitions;
  • Role of knowledge, values and power;
  • Epistemological tensions in transition research.

Additional topics will also be considered. This workshop will exist within the larger AAG meetings. We anticipate two paper sessions of 4-5 papers each and a panel session to explore more deeply issues raised in the sessions. The only fee is for the AAG meeting. We hope that this topic has broad appeal to many and look forward to proposals of interesting papers to serve as the basis of lively and enjoyable discussions at the workshop. For this, please note the following timeline.


20st October Researchers and practitioners who would like to present their relevant research and experiences at the conference should send an extended abstract of around 250 words to the email address shown below no later than the 20th of October 2014. 25th October Contributors notified whether their paper has been accepted. Contributors need to submit their abstract and register with the AAG meeting as quickly as possible. Send the AAG issued PIN to the session organisers (address shown below) immediately.

November 4 Deadline to submit the abstract and register for the conference as well as to send the AAG issued PIN. If you miss this last deadline, you risk being omitted from the program.

Location and Organization 

The workshop will be part of the larger AAG Meetings in Chicago, Illinois. There are a number of interesting and complementary sessions on transitions research participants might also attend. All participants must register and pay conference fees to the AAG directly. For further information, expression of interest, and submission of abstracts, please contact both

Robert Krueger, Social Science and Policy Studies, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; email:
Gerd Lintz, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Dresden, Germany; network management; email:

Further information on the RSA Research Network:

Travel and Accommodation Bursaries

Thanks to the support of the Regional Studies Association, we are able to offer one travel bursary of £300 to assist an eligible attendee, with his/her travel and accommodation costs. The bursary is redeemable on presentation of receipts for eligible expenses (to the specified limit). Eligibility means here: any student member of RSA, any early career member of RSA, any associate (retired) member of RSA, and any member working in a Band B, C or D country. Those wishing to apply for bursaries should include an additional paragraph in their abstract submission, outlining their eligibility for a   bursary to the workshop organisers. The closing date for bursary applications is also 20th of October 2014.

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How to get there

Chicago, USA