Build4People Work Package “Sustainable Urban Transformation” Presentation at the Transformations Community Conference 2023 in Sydney

Based on ongoing empirical research, Ravi Jayaweera, Research Associate of Build4People Work Package “Sustainable Urban Transformation”, Hamburg University, shared findings on the empowerment of change agents and the institutionalisation of transformative partnerships in sustainability transition processes in the Global South in the context of the Transformations Conference 2023 – Transformative Partnerships for a Better World in Sydney on 13 July 2023.

The presented study jointly prepared with Build4People Work Package “Sustainable Urban Transformation” Leader Dr Michael Waibel introduced an empowerment-in-transitions framework to assess the (dis)empowering effects of transition interventions across motivational, resource and social capital dimensions. 

Applying the framework to an ongoing urban transition intervention in Cambodia, Phnom Penh, positive short-term empowerment effects in terms of common aspirations, potential for joint action, trust and networks were noted. These however need to be institutionalised and reproduced in the mid- to long-term in order to initiate transformative change. This presents a challenge for independently implemented interventions that have to navigate between the creation of co-creative and “uncaptured” safe spaces and the anchoring at existing institutions.

The conference was held at three locations across the Globe with hubs in Sydney, Prague and Portland. It was the sixth conference of the Transformations Community, a global network of scholars and practitioners dedicated to facilitating sustainable, desirable, regenerative, just, and equitable futures.

Another presentation in the session, given by Mrs Fiona Lord of the University of Technology Sydney, University also covered urban development in Cambodia, focussing however on governance arrangements and transformative capacities in secondary cities.