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What is "Just Transition"?

Just transitions/Design for transitions: Preliminary Notes on a Design Politics for a Green New deal

This article argues that the field of design for transitions should be brought into dialogues pushing for just transitions to best meet the technical, cultural, political, and economic needs of a low-carbon future.


This article makes a case for incorporating design politics into just transitions. The author argues that the discourses and movements for just transitions and design for transition have low levels of overlap at present; however, they would greatly benefit from increased collaboration to better meet the needs of a low-carbon economy.

The article first explores the transformation of just transition discourses, as well as the diverse, and sometimes, conflicting visions of what a just transition looks like, and how it should be implemented. The author also traces the dialogues surrounding the contribution of design and modes of design futuring in the shift to sustainability. The author argues that applying design to just transitions approaches can expand the scope of the possible visions for a low-carbon, high-quality future by incorporating elements of prototyping, prefiguring, speculative thinking, and scenario building.

The author concludes with several examples of how design approaches could contribute to just transitions. One such example is in the case of intensified land displacement due to expanding renewable energy technologies. Participatory design and social planning for the energy transition could help prevent green grabbing and better address the social and environmental challenges of the renewable energy transition. The author argues that these approaches and other modes of design politics will make low-carbon transitions more just.