Navigating Critical 21st Century Transitions

Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi.
Without foresight or vision the people will be lost.

In February 2020 SOLGM launched a report to support local government chief executives and managers in their statutory responsibility to promote and maximise the well-being of their communities for the future, as well as the present.

The report outlines five future transitions that council's need to make, along with a framework to structure our thinking on how these transitions can be made.

Over the next five years SOLGM will support the sector to lead their communities through change and to articulate and navigate these transitions.

This will include a series of workshops, webinars and learning events on each transition as we build the picture what needs to be done.

The full report can be downloaded here.

What are critical 21st century transitions?

Critical transitions are ‘era-scale’ changes we need to make that will mean fundamentally changing the way we organise ourselves, our communities and our societies.

They are changes that are significant and far-reaching. For example, we need to move to different energy sources, take greater account of how we use land, reduce waste and protect the environment. This means things will need to be done differently; where people live, how and where work happens, how people travel, how food is supplied, and how learning happens, all while putting well-being at the forefront.

International action is important, along with central government action but, above all, this is a community challenge. The local government sector has a pivotal role to play in the scale and speed at which we can make the transitions.

A Three Horizons Approach

A three horizons approach has been developed to provide clarity about what we are changing from, and what we are changing towards by bringing shifts in assumptions and systems to the surface. It enables us to clarify our overall direction, to have conversations about strategies, and provides us with a framework for reassessing how much effort and resource should go into maintaining the status quo, how much should go into building the systems to bring the future into being, and how much should go into supporting the process of making the transitions.

What are the transitions?

We have identified five areas of transition which are critical to our survival, all of which have a direct bearing on well-being and require urgent and ongoing focus.

For each transition there is a high-level description of the drivers, the state we are changing from and the state we need to change to, and the assumptions that we might see in each state.

These provide a high-level overview of the nature of the shifts to be made in order to protect and promote well-being. They describe a broader landscape to support the sector to think about system shifts.

The five transitions

Transitions to low emissions living

Find out more about the transition to low emissions living

low emissions living

Transition to living in a disrupted climate

Find out more about the transition to living in a disrupted climate

Find out more

Transition to a low waste society

Find out more about the transition to a low waste society

Find out more

Transition to community interconnectedness

Read more about the transition to community interconnectedness

Find out more

Transition to learning-empowered communities

Find out more about the transition to learning-empowered communities

Read more