A guide to good practice in collaborative research about, with and for the Transition movement (and other forms of community action), inspired by Christopher Alexander's pattern language approach.

One key output of a research project on relationships between Transition and academic research was a guide to best practice. Inspired by both reading Christopher Alexander's book A Pattern Language while studying for my Permaculture Design Certificate and Rob Hopkins' reframing of Transition as a pattern language in preparation for his book The Transition Companion, I decided to adopt a pattern language approach for this endeavour. I realised when doing this that no clear guidance exists for developing a pattern language through the application of permaculture design: this design also offers this, in the context of the SADI design framework.


The pattern language systematises insights from previous experiences of collaborative research (including systematic applications of permaculture design such as this and this) and established academic traditions such as Participatory Action Research in the form of a Pattern Language for Transition Research: a set of common methods, approaches, principles and values that can support effective collaboration between community groups and academic researchers. It was developed in collaboration with, and draws on the wisdom of, the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action at Durham University, along with various collaborators from the Transition Research Network, permaculture research, and fields of engaged academic research.


Design 4 in my diploma portfolio.


Tom Henfrey