Transition Towns is an innovative urban planning idea that was conceived and founded in Kinsale (Ireland) and Totnes (England) by Rob Hopkins between 2005 and 2006.
Rob Hopkins (1968) is an English activist and writer, specializing in environmental issues, permaculture expert and founder of the Transition Towns movement.
The main purpose of the movement is to increase citizens’ awareness of various issues such as: sustainable settlement and prepare for the flexibility required by current changes.
In this way, communities are encouraged and guided to seek methods to reduce the use of energy and increase their autonomy at all levels.
In this vision, the name “city” identifies communities of different sizes.
They range from the small village of Kinsale to large cities like Brixton.
It should be remembered that Brixton is a district of London, 6 km south of Charing Cross, and part of the London borough of Lambeth (of which it is the administrative center) and historically of the county of Surrey.
In the London Plan, Brixton is recognized as one of the 35 “major centers”.
The movement aims to educate and prepare communities to face the double challenge of adding global warming and the spike in oil.
It is a rapidly growing movement that has hundreds of affiliated communities in different countries.
The concept of transition matured following the work done by Rob Hopkins together with the students of the Kinsale Further Education College, culminating in an essay entitled Energy Descent Action Plan.
In this essay the following approaches are analyzed: resilient, multidisciplinary and creative with regard to the issues that revolve around the production of energy, health, education, economy and agriculture, in the form of a “road map” in the direction of a sustainable future for the city.
Following this work, one of the students, Louise Rooney, further developed the concept of a transition city and presented it to the city council of Kinsale, who with a historic decision adopted the plan and is now working on its energy independence.
Subsequently, in September 2006, the idea was reformulated and expanded for the native town of Hopkins, Totnes, where he now lives. The initiative has spread rapidly, so much so that over 2,000 communities have been officially recognized by the “Transition Network” in various countries, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Italy.
In Italy there are several Transition Towns recognized by TN and coordinated: one of the first was Monteveglio, in the province of Bologna.
In March 2019, all Transition Initiatives are invited to participate in the health check.
In the Transition Towns, a series of initiatives are implemented such as: the creation of common vegetable gardens, recycling of waste materials as raw material for other production chains, or simply the repair of old objects that no longer work in place of their disposal as waste.
One of the interesting activities is to “coin” its own local currency, the Totnes pound, which can be spent in local shops and businesses. This helps to reduce “food miles” (distance traveled by food before being consumed, causing pollution and energy expenditure) and supports the local economy.