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Femke Coops, Rosa van der Veen, Sam van der Horst, Kristina Bogner, Dan Lockton

This workshop explores the concept of designing spaces for letting go in sustainability transitions to allow for the breakdown and phase-out of unsustainable or unjust established practices, structures, and cultures within societal transitions. Participants experience the intricate interplay between designing for a sustainable, just and resilient future and the deep emotions that come with letting go of the unsustainable.

Societal transitions do not only entail coming up with new, alternative ways of being and living but also breaking down, phasing out and letting go of lots of our existing practices, structures, and cultures. This inevitably means that many things we have considered normal, socially accepted and desirable for a long time might not be in the future anymore. As sustainability transitions are often discussed on a collective, meso level, the intimately personal dimensions of change and how these breakdowns and phase-outs manifest themselves as “transitions in everyday lives” tend to be overlooked. This hides how we as human beings living and shaping these transitions (while we are also being shaped by them) feel about letting go of well-established practices, structures and cultures and how our emotions could help us in sense- and meaning-making of these changes.

In this workshop, we explore how we can actively create spaces to engage with letting go in sustainability transitions. We engage with the interconnectedness between having a systemic understanding of how a system needs to change and the consequences this has for our personal ways of being and living, addressing the tensions and chances of how the systems we built shape us and can also be shaped by us. This hands-on workshop builds on theoretical concepts to shape practical techniques that could help with creating space for all the emotions involved in this essential yet challenging part of transitions-in-the-making.

KEYWORDS: transitions research, design research, societal transitions, letting go, emotions

Presentation dates

to be announced

Expertisenetwerk Systemisch Co-design




Citation Data

Author(s): Femke Coops, Rosa van der Veen, Sam van der Horst, Kristina Bogner, and Dan Lockton
Year: 2023
Title: Designing Spaces for Letting Go in Sustainability Transitions
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Amsterdam, NLD
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404