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Marissa Mommaerts is now a member of TRANSITION IN ACTION SOCIAL NETWORK
Wednesday
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

“CASCADIA: Community Mythology in Global Transition” - Download the ”Online Roundtable Reader”. By Willi Paul, NewMythologist.com

“CASCADIA: Community Mythology in Global Transition” -Download the ”Online Roundtable Reader”. By Willi Paul, NewMythologist.comhttp://www.planetshifter.com/node/2224See More
Wednesday
Yuri Smirnov posted a video

Journey to Sacred Russia...

Come and see sacred places of Russia, astounding dolmens, visit fascinating Shetinin's school (Kin's school or Forest school as they call it) and explore the life in ecovillage of Kin's domains! For details, map and tour itinerary please visit…
Monday
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

“Blackwater Rising” – Interview with Regina Hirsch: Organizer: "Localizing California Waters Conference.” 11/3 – 06/2014, Yosemite. By Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Mediahttp://www.planetshifter.com/…

“Blackwater Rising” – Interview with Regina Hirsch: Organizer: "Localizing California Waters Conference.” 11/3 – 06/2014, Yosemite. By Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Mediahttp://www.planetshifter.com/node/2223See More
Sunday
Doris Anne Beaulieu posted a video

Model A's ( Poem )

Model A’s ( Poem ) Vintage cars that are so old Classic beauties with stories told Some with Rumble seats in tow Owners of these want to show Antiques from l...
Oct 23
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

"Texting Joseph Campbell" - “Five Methods to Design New Stories & Myths” - eBook #18. Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Media

"Texting Joseph Campbell" - “Five Methods to Design New Stories & Myths”- eBook #18. Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Mediahttp://www.planetshifter.com/node/2222See More
Oct 22
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

“Parking Lot Love” - Interview #2 with Peter Ruddock, Transition Palo Alto by Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Magazine

“Parking Lot Love” - Interview #2 with Peter Ruddock, Transition Palo Alto by Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Magazinehttp://www.planetshifter.com/node/2221See More
Oct 18
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post
Oct 15
Doris Anne Beaulieu posted a video

Pumpkin Carriage Cake

Learn the do's and don't of making this cake as I tell you about every step needed to make this cake for Birthday or a Halloween Party.This is for one of my ...
Oct 15
Yuri Smirnov posted a video

Sacred Russia retreat (September 2014)

Sacred Russia tour (10 days retreat and short tours: 5 and 6 days), explore the dolmens, Shetinin's school (Kin's school) and ecovillage of Kin's domains Sin...
Oct 13
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

“One web site. One action plan. One planet” - Vision by Willi Paul, CommunityAlchemy.com

“One web site. One action plan. One planet” - Vision by Willi Paul, CommunityAlchemy.comOne big dream that has recently meandered up my stained whiteboard laments a “super nova-global-local” re-alignment of people and resources. A kind of “last dance” campaign, with a hoped for “Beatles coming to America” cultural impact and vision!* * * * * *…See More
Oct 11
Profile IconTransition Network top stories

Job - Web Manager

Job – Web Manager, Transition Network

  • 4 days per week
  • Circa £30,127 p.a. pro rata
  • Based near Bristol or Totnes, UK

All over the world people are coming together with shared concerns about shrinking supplies of cheap energy, climate change, inequality and economic instability. They are taking action to build a future with much less reliance on fossil fuels and greatly reduced…

See More
Oct 9
Profile IconTransition Network top stories

Naomi Klein on the role of Inner Transition

Naomi Klein is currently promoting her excellent new book This Changes Everything.  As part of this, she recently did a 'Guardian Live' event, chaired by Owen Jones and streamed on the web.  You can now watch the event in full below, it's fantastic and well worth…

See More
Oct 8
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

Collective Manifestation: A Heart to Heart with Willi Paul and Melissa Wadsworth from Planetshifter.com Magazine

Collective Manifestation:A Heart to Heart with Willi Paul and Melissa Wadsworthfrom Planetshifter.com Magazinehttp://www.planetshifter.com/node/2218See More
Oct 7
Profile IconJay Tompt, Juan Sarmiento, Nancy Hentschel and 1 more joined TRANSITION IN ACTION SOCIAL NETWORK
Oct 5
Yuri Smirnov posted photos
Oct 5
Yuri Smirnov posted a blog post

Sacred Russia retreat, September 2014

Here we go! Please enjoy the new inspiring pictures of the quest to dolmens, the Kin's School and the Kin's domains of Russia... )))https://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceoflove/sets/72157648349201041/See More
Oct 5
Profile IconTransition Network top stories

October 2014 - Transition Network Newsletter

Getting connected in different ways seems to be a thread in the stories in the newsletter this month. Firstly the website theme of "Making Space for Nature" has a range of interviews and articles, then our world round-up plus the Transition hubs get together. Several takes on the…

See More
Oct 1
Profile IconTransition Network top stories

Coming Soon! The First Transition Network Roadshow - St. Andrews!

Following our successful pilot in Lancaster, Transition Network is on the road, and the next stop is St Andrews, Scotland, October 10/11th, 2014.…

See More
Sep 30
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

Instinct + Paranoia = Resilience? Climate change, species extinction and terrorism in the Chaos Era. By Willi Paul, CommunityAlchemy.com

Instinct + Paranoia = Resilience? Climate change, species extinction and terrorism in the Chaos Era. By Willi Paul, CommunityAlchemy.comhttp://www.planetshifter.com/node/2217exceprt -+ How is …See More
Sep 30

DAILY GLOBAL SCAN FOR SIGHTINGS OF TRANSITION

Daily Transition News -- Scoop.it by Christoph Hensch

Sustainability Surprise Party - Transition Leader Network


We invite your creative participation in a bold new initiative: the global Sustainability Surprise Party. Its purpose is to bring the need for large-scale transformative change to the forefront of the public agenda in a way that vested interests cannot stop. During May 2014 individuals and organisations around the world will put on thousands of blogs, conversations and events telling the truth about the need and hopeful possibilities of transitioning to a life-sustaining society.

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?


Nafeez Ahmed: Natural and social scientists develop new model of how 'perfect storm' of crises could unravel global system


Accepting Applications: Fuller Challenge Cycle Open Now! | The Buckminster Fuller Institute


The Buckminster Fuller Institute formally announces the Call for Proposals to the 2014 Fuller Challenge. Recognized as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”, the Challenge invites activists, architects, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, students and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy. Entries will be accepted until April 11, 2014.

The Enterprising Ecovillager. Achieving Community Development through Innovative Green Entrepreneurship | Ecovillages Project


A handbook "THE ENTERPRISING ECOVILLAGER. ACHIEVING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT THROUGH INNOVATIVE GREEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP" focus on green business and entrepreneurship, offering a practical guide on how ecovillages can create business opportunities that adhere to the principles of truly green thinking. It gives an overview of the different aspects that should be considered by the aspiring ecovillage entrepreneur, and presents examples of successful business stories from various ecovillages around Europe. The book also strives to remedy the reluctance that many ecovillagers feel toward business. Furthermore, it demonstrates the ways in which ecovillages are ideally suited to run businesses that are compatible with the well-being of both people and planet, the businesses of the future. 



Building the World's Most Sustainable Modern Town


Kalu Yala, a sustainable settlement for innovators, may be the alternative real estate model the world needs.


Transition Culture -- Rob Hopkins

Top Stories from Transition Network (UK)

Job - Web Manager

Job – Web Manager, Transition Network

  • 4 days per week
  • Circa £30,127 p.a. pro rata
  • Based near Bristol or Totnes, UK

All over the world people are coming together with shared concerns about shrinking supplies of cheap energy, climate change, inequality and economic instability. They are taking action to build a future with much less reliance on fossil fuels and greatly reduced carbon emissions, creating just, caring and connected communities living within environmental limits.

Transition Network exists to inspire, encourage, connect and support communities as they self-organise around the transition model.

This is a brilliant opportunity for an enterprising web manager to join an inspiring organisation at an interesting point in its development.

Taking up a pivotal role within a small, motivated and creative staff team, and connecting with people around the world, you will help develop and deliver a web service capable of supporting a grassroots movement as it spreads and evolves. 

Having previously stretched this role between web and comms, we have now decided to focus it solely on web management to pick up the pace of developments and make sure that our planned ‘Transition Network Version 3’ service is user-centred, beautiful, effective and ambitious. 

We have some strong pieces in place - a popular existing website, a great technical group, various stakeholder groups, project requirements and UX tracks underway.  However there are a number of key decisions still to be made - framework, hosting, migration plans etc. - making this a great moment to come in and play a leading role in shaping and delivering a very significant project.

We are looking for someone who can elegantly lead multi-disciplined teams through a variety of decisions, bridging the ‘client’ and ‘technical’ divide to help us develop a streamlined, flexible service with the users at its heart.  You will have strong project management skills and an interest in being part of a team which is exploring and modelling new ways of working.

To apply

Please download the attached documents from this page and follow the instructions in the application pack:

  • Job application pack: background, instructions, details, job spec, person spec (PDF)
  • Personal details form (Word doc)

Timescales and deadlines

  • Closing date for applications: Sun 9th November 2014
  • Shortlisting: week commencing 10 November 2014
  • Interviews: Tuesday 18th November in Bristol, UK

And if you don't think this is for you, but know someone who might relish it - this is a great job and you will be doing them a favour - please send them this page!

Naomi Klein on the role of Inner Transition

Naomi Klein is currently promoting her excellent new book This Changes Everything.  As part of this, she recently did a 'Guardian Live' event, chaired by Owen Jones and streamed on the web.  You can now watch the event in full below, it's fantastic and well worth watching.  In one question, "could you talk a bit more about popular education?", Klein discusses the Transition movement and the role that Inner Transition plays:

 

"The first Earth Day in 1970 which engaged millions of people in North America was really a series of Teach-Ins more than anything else.  I think it's a really necessary stage for building the kind of movement that we need.  We have a film coming out on these same themes, and part of that has to do with popular education, because obviously film reaches a different constituency, it's more accessible than books in many ways.  Films are also really great at starting conversations, getting people into a room together and starting a conversation.  

It's one of the things that I think the Transition Town movement, which has been really important in this country, and spreading the idea that transition is something to be embraced, that there's hope and joy and possibility in it, it's not all fear.  That's something they do really really well.  They just have film screenings, and there's something really liberating about the way .... we don't do very well, except for weird Lefties like us, of getting in rooms together and just talking.  People need something to help them do it ... it doesn't even need to be a good film, any film!  Just get people together, and then talk afterwards.  

Part of it is that basic science education, just getting over the fear, "you know it's as complicated as it seems, you can do this". It can't just be listening.  It's really important that people talk, and that it be people they relate to doing the talking ... peer-on-peer teaching is really really important.  We're hearing this from a lot of community groups that we're talking about the film with.  "How can this be useful to your movement?"  They say they don't need a lot of it, but they do need some basic climate education to break that fear barrier.  

Naomi Klein

The other thing that I think the Transition movement does really well is to create spaces for people to talk about the emotional side to this crisis.  Maybe that's not popular education, but I think that's really important.  Social media is a great tool, but I still think there's something weird about the fact that people are alone in their cubicles or in their homes and they're clicking on this video, one minute of these 2 cats and dogs making unlikely friendships, and then, you know, 35,000 walruses scampering onto the shore because ice is melting.  How are you supposed to cope with this?  

A lot of what we call apathy is just people not knowing how to deal with the overwhelming emotions.  So you just push it away.  The way in which our movements are now structured, particularly environmental movements, but many movements, is these NGOs - we communicate - it used to be with mailings, now it's Tweets and emails - and it ends up being a lot of fear-based messaging, but then nothing about what to do with that fear. Scare you - click on this.  The idea is you're going to be scared so you'll become an activist.  But that's not actually how humans behave.  You get scared and you want to curl up in a ball right?  So we need spaces to grieve, and to actually talk about how frightening this is.

Naomi Klein

One of the reasons why in the book I write more personally than I've written before, about this fear not just of reading the scientific reports, but the fear that comes with raising a child in a world that you're told daily is dying.  We need to address that emotional side.  So when we create these spaces, and we must create more of these popular education spaces - I think the climate movement in the UK has been better at this - the Climate Camps do this really well, and the Transition Town movement has this part of it that they call "Inner Transition", which is addressing this reality.  

That it isn't just an outer transition, but also we have to go through our own personal transformation, and that also involves expressing that grief.  It's something that the feminist movement has done well, and a lot of people in the Transition Town movement who are part of this Inner Transition piece of it, come out of the feminist movement, because there's an understanding that if you're going to collapse peoples' world views, you have to stick around to pick up the pieces.  

Naomi Klein

October 2014 - Transition Network Newsletter

Getting connected in different ways seems to be a thread in the stories in the newsletter this month. Firstly the website theme of "Making Space for Nature" has a range of interviews and articles, then our world round-up plus the Transition hubs get together. Several takes on the Climate March and some groud breaking news from Totnes. Plus news from training, books, film and events.


Transitioners' Digest (September 2014)
We have been exploring the theme of "Making Space for Nature" from a wide range of different angles throughout September. We started with an editorial piece which argued that one of the key things that nature can bring our work doing Transition is a sense of wonder. Something to do with glowworms. An introduction to all the articles and interviews:
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2014-09/transitioners-digest-september-2014

The September 2014 Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition
This month's Roundup covers stories from July and August. Around the UK stories from Brixton, Cambridge, Chepstow, Chichester, Exeter, Harborough, Honiton, Ivybridge, Lancaster, Letchworth, Linlithgow, St Albans, Tooting, Totnes, Wilmslow. Plus there are Transition birthdays in places like Lewes, Crystal Palace, Bristol and Slaithwaite. Across Europe from Liege in Belgium, Hungary, Romania and Berlin, Bielefeld, Leipzig in Germany. In the US, Catskills, Missoula and Guelph in Canada.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/news/2014-09-11/september-2014-round-what-s-happening-out-world-transition-0

Transition Hubs meeting 2014: a 'lot' to share
The international Transition Hubs meeting in Denmark was a fantastic few days, rich with connections, laughter, progress and good food. More will follow over the next few weeks, but for now, here is a short film about it.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/news/2014-09-16/transition-hubs-meeting-2014-lot-share


THINKING ALOUD  

Atmos Totnes Creates National Precedent
"I’ve waited seven years to write this article" writes Rob Hopkins. It’s been seven years of highs and lows, of moments of intense frustration and great elation, of patience and determination. "Very slowly,with a loud creaking of rusty hinges, the great iron gates of the factory began to swing open. The crowd became suddenly silent"
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/news/2014-09-26/atmos-totnes-creates-national-precedent

Hearing All The Voices to Make the New Story
Writing on the first day of the New Story Summit at Findhorn, Sophy Banks found an amazing, international group of human beings who are acting to create the New Story in their lives assembling.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/sophy-banks/2014-09/hearing-all-voices-make-new-story

Making Space for Flowers
“Did you grow all those yourself?”, a young woman asked Mark Watson last week at Transition Town Tooting’s 7th Foodival. “My only reference for that kind of thing are the supermarket shelves,” she said.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2014-09/mark-watson-making-space-flowers

Reflections on the Peoples' Climate March, London
This was a celebratory march. This was the resurgence of the climate movement. Back with a passion. Rob Hopkins reports on his experience of the march in London.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2014-09/reflections-peoples-climate-march-london

Love & other illusions: Framing at the People’s Climate March
Elena Blackmore wonders if by being a fairly apolitical event whether the march in London failed to really cal out our economic and political systems as the culprits.
http://valuesandframes.org/love-other-illusions-framing-at-the-peoples-climate-march/

Long-standing economic resistance went mainstream at People’s Climate March
While the People’s Climate March in New York uplifted a narrative around climate change that was impossible for even the most mainstream of media to ignore, the success will be determined in the weeks and months that follow it writes Kate Aronoff.
http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-09-30/long-standing-economic-resistance-went-mainstream-at-people-s-climate-march


REconomy Project

Learning and outputs from the international REconomy hubs group
The national hubs working together on REconomy have each produced a 2-3 year plan, and learned a lot about how to support each other. Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Portugal, and the USA are now joining our group.
http://www.reconomy.org/reconomy-takes-off-in-europe/

“It’s the economy, stupid” or “it’s stupid the economy”?
A young Transitionista’s perspective on the challenges faced by his generation, and what he’s doing about it.
http://www.reconomy.org/the-economy-its-stupid/

 


TRAINING

Launch onLine begins again on October 8th, and Inner Transition workshops are happening in Copenhagen and London. Our full programme of trainings are here:
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/events/network-training


FILMS

Free Range Child
Raising Children Connected To The Earth & Their Food (film sneak peek)
http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-09-26/free-range-child-raising-children-connected-to-the-earth-their-food-film-sneak-peek

More film reviews here
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/films

 


BOOKS

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
Reviewed by Robert Jensen: Naomi Klein has written a brave book that not only confronts the calamity of climate destabilization but also examines the deep roots of the crisis in the perverse logic of capitalism and the dehumanizing values of the “extractivist” high-energy/high-technology world.
http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-09-28/extracting-ourselves-from-the-extractivist-mindset

 


COMING UP

The Transition Network Roadshow
St Andrews, Scotland October 10th-11th
Two days of electrifying workshops, powerful meetings, and good company.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/events/2014-10-10/transition-roadshow-st-andrews

Global #MapJam
This October, the Sharing Cities Network will launch the Second Annual Global #MapJam to bring activists together in cities around the world to connect the dots and map: grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, community resources, and the commons. Mapping all of the shared resources in your city not only shows that another world is possible--it shows it’s already here! #MapJam’s are easy to organize and a small, dedicated group of people can get together for a few hours to map as many shared resources, cooperatives and sharing services in their city or town as possible.
http://www.shareable.net/blog/mapjam-20-to-put-the-new-economy-on-the-map

Powys Transition & Low Carbon Communities network present their first conference
8 November. Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.
ZERO CARBON POWYS Rethinking the Future for our Rural Communities
We have everything we need to create a positive future. This will be an exciting day of keynote speakers, workshops, networking opportunities and much more. At the end of the day you will know much more about safe and reliable energy solutions for the future. The keynote speaker will be Zero Carbon Britain project leader PAUL ALLEN who will introduce the latest Zero Carbon Britain report by telling ‘the extraordinary story of human beings and energy’.
Tickets £5 incl. lunch, advanced booking essential, book here: http://bit.ly/1pq7qWA
http://www.powystransition.org.uk/

Live & Unleashed - New Forest 20 October
Rob Hopkins is visiting the New Forest to open a New Forest Transition exhibition and give a talk. The exhibition in Lyndhurst runs from 18 October – 23 November. Titled Live & Unleashed it is a celebration of how local people are working together for a better future by just doing stuff - and feeling all the better for it.
http://www.newforestcentre.org.uk/october-2014/

 


QUOTE OF THE MONTH

"The awesomeness of nature lies in the stories we tell each other, the aloe vera plant on your windowsill, the smell of your neighbour’s cooking or anywhere else you might choose to find it. "  Hayley Spann 
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2014-09/hayley-spann-what-nature-taught-me 


 

Follow Transition Network on Twitter
http://twitter.com/#!/transitiontowns 

Be a Friend on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/transitionnetwork 

Film Reviews
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/films  

Transition Youtube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/transitiontowns 

Resources — Editor's Picks
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/resources 

Find previous editions of the newsletter here
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/tags/transition-network-newsletter 

Read this newsletter online 
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/news/2014-10-01/october-2014-transition-network-newsletter 

Subscribe to Transition newsletter:
http://tinyurl.com/transitionregister 

This newsletter is published on the first Friday of each month. 
Next newsletter is 7 November 2014

 

Newsletter Editor: Mike Grenville,
from Transition Forest Row for the Transition Network
Contact: mgrenville@gmail.com


Coming Soon! The First Transition Network Roadshow - St. Andrews!

Following our successful pilot in Lancaster, Transition Network is on the road, and the next stop is St Andrews, Scotland, October 10/11th, 2014.  We'd love you to join us.  In collaboration with Transition St Andrews, it will take place with Transition Network's trademark, participatory conference style of workshops, Open Space, great hang outs, and engaging conversations.  To book for the event, or parts of it (see below), click here.

Ever wondered if starting a Transition enterprise is for you? Or 'How can I avoid burn out?' or 'Who around here is as excited about the Power of Just Doing Stuff as me?' If so, this conference is made for you. You will be able to choose from a dizzying variety of workshops and sessions, presentations, talks, and some relaxed time to chat over a coffee or something stronger!  The event comes in 4 distinct parts:

Friday October 10th. 

poster 9.30-12.30: Transition Scotland Gathering – Glass Class, St Andrews Botanic Garden

An informal meeting to discuss how we are doing with Transition in Scotland and what we need to build capacity for the future. If you would like to join us for this event you would be very welcome – please select the appropriate option when booking your ticket for the Friday afternoon and/or Saturday using the booking system linked below. If you wish to attend ONLY the Friday morning session please email transition@st-andrews.ac.uk to book your place.

13.30-17.30: REconomy Workshop – St Andrews Town Hall (detailed programme here).

Enabling REconomy in a post-referendum Scotland. 

However you voted, this is a time for ambition around how to develop more sustainable and resilient communities in Scotland. In this climate of opportunity and transformation we invite you to come and explore what it is to revision and change local economies in Post-Referendum Scotland.

This event will be about sharing inspiring examples around the themes of local currencies and trading systems, supporting local resilience, social enterprise and forming relationships based on new enterprise and economic principles. There will be how-to sessions on the resourcing and developing REconomy projects and collaborative activities to build connections and turn ideas into practice based on what works. Register using the link below.

19.00-22.00: Evening Transition Social – Byre Theatre

We are delighted to welcome Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition movement, to join us for a talk on the issues facing local communities taking action on oil dependency, climate change, and other sustainability issues. This will be followed by an evening of musical entertainment and celebration led by student group Music is Love.

Saturday October 11th

9.30-17.00: Transition Roadshow Workshop Day – Arts Lecture Theatre

logo Transition Network and Transition University of St Andrews have arranged a day of workshops and exchanges on positive community action, suitable for established Transition Initiatives, new groups, and others working on or interested in similar environmental and social issues. A complete programme will be released soon, but attendees will be able to choose between workshops on Transition as a concept, supporting healthy Transition Initiatives, REconomy (a briefer workshop than the previous day), Participatory Monitoring, Practical Ideas for Community Food Projects, and a session on the Big Questions surrounding the work and future of local community initiatives in Scotland and Northern England. Lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments will be provided. Register using the link below.

17.00-19.00: Optional Early Dinner at a Local Restaurant – Venue to be confirmed

The Transition  Team would like to invite everyone to join them for dinner at a local restaurant with options to suit a variety of tastes, diets and budgets. We will aim to be finished around 7pm so those travelling to St Andrews can return home if desired. Please register your intent to attend dinner when you register for the Roadshow so we can make a booking. Please note that all attendees will be expected to fund their own meal.

Saturday Evening Event (if desired) – Details to be confirmed

If many visitors choose to stay on the Saturday night we will organise an additional evening event. Please register your interest in evening entertainment on the Saturday when you register for the Roadshow.

Atmos Totnes creates national precedent

The community of Totnes in Devon just reached a historic agreement which represents the next step for Transition, a huge leap forward in ambition, scale and possibility. In 2007, the Dairy Crest site in Totnes closed, and 163 jobs were lost.  This came on top of a number of other major employers also closing, and the then Totnes Mayor Pruw Boswell was quoted as saying “how much more can this town take?”  At that time, the idea of the community taking over and running that site was born, initially as the ‘Sustainable Business Park Group’. 

For 5 years, the group, which was quickly renamed Atmos Totnes, after Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s experimental ‘atmospheric railway’ for which a pumping station was built but never commissioned, lobbied and campaigned.  Once a community campaign to have that pumping station listed succeeded days before Dairy Crest demolished it, the scene was set for Atmos Totnes to get creative.   It came up with designs for the site, rallied the community, developed business plans and built a team to drive the project forward.  Totnes Community Development Society was formed from a coming together of Transition Town Totnes and Totnes Development Trust to provide the vehicle to carry things forward.

When, by the early part of 2012 it felt like this was all having little or no impact on the thinking of Dairy Crest, a community campaign was started, called “Atmos Totnes: the heart of a new economy”.  Its iconic red heart logo began popping up in windows and on lapels around the town.  Jonathan Dimbleby was unveiled as the first Patron at a photo opportunity at the site gates attended by hundreds of people.  This was followed by the unveiling of Tim Smit and Kevin McCloud, and lastly Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, whose visit drew huge crowds again

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall pops by to lend his support. September 2014.

A meeting with Dairy Crest in the summer of 2012 shifted the ground, and it felt like finally it began to become a matter of “when” rather than “if”. Since then Atmos have been negotiating the final arrangement, and on 18th August signed a contract with Dairy Crest.  Then, on Thursday 25th September, the public announcement was made. 

The community was invited to the site, where they were invited through the site gates for the first time in seven years.  Early that day Atmos had tweeted quotes from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, such as

"Very slowly,with a loud creaking of rusty hinges, the great iron gates of the factory began to swing open.The crowd became suddenly silent"

and

"The children stopped jumping about. All eyes were fixed upon the gates". 

A statement was read out, a group photo taken and an incredible Atmos cake, produced from the kitchens at Schumacher College, was shared out. 

The incredible Atmos Totnes cake!

The deal represents a national first.  You can read it in full here, and some Frequently Asked Questions here.  Here is a section from the statement read out on the site on the 25th that sets out the bones of the agreement:

The agreement sees the site in three parts, as detailed in the map below:

  • Part One will be purchased from Dairy Crest by McCarthy & Stone, and will be built to feature housing for older people. McCarthy & Stone will work with TCDS in their development of this area of the site.
  • Part Two will be purchased from Dairy Crest by the community of Totnes for the sum of One Totnes Pound.  This footprint includes the historic Brunel building.
  • Part Three of the site is more complex, but ultimately will be designed through community consultation.  TCDS have an Option Agreement for this part of the site. Once planning is approved Totnes Community Development Society will most likely exercise their Option Agreement and purchase the site. The final value of the site will be determined by the planning consent and the costs of the remediation and development works.

map

The 2012 Localism Act gives communities a number of significant new powers, one of which is a Community Right to Build Order (CRtBO).  This allows communities to design the development they wish to see and gives them a new route to planning.  From the beginning of next month, Totnes Community Development Society (TCDS) will be engaging the community in creating a masterplan for the whole site, including McCarthy & Stone’s proposals for a development of specialist housing for older people on this site

In May 2015 TCDS will be submitting a CRtBO for Parts One and Two.  This means that what is built, as well as how it’s built and to what standards, will be determined by this community.  To the best of our knowledge, this has never happened before, anywhere. 

This announcement represents the community taking a first significant step towards taking greater control of its own destiny.  As a national first, it offers the potential to showcase a whole new approach to development, one based on community support, sustainability, a new economic model that builds and nurtures local economies, social justice, creativity, the arts and meeting the needs of this town rather than, as is so often the case, the needs of developers and distant investors.  For a town currently under siege from developers, demonstrating such a model could not be more timely. 

So, all being well, we see the timetable of what happens next like this:

  • October 2014: Community consultation and site masterplanning work begins
  • An important date for your diary is 8th October when there will be a Public Meeting about Atmos at St Johns Church in Bridgetown. This will be an opportunity to further details about the site and the activities for the coming months. It is also a time when we will want to invite questions from the public about this plan.
  • May 2015: Masterplan complete.  The Community Right to Build Order is submitted.
  • Autumn 2015: Community referendum is held.
  • March 2016: Assuming a positive result in the referendum, work begins on site.  

This is a national first, and represents a big step forward for Transition. It's the first Community Right to Build Order run anywhere in the country.  It is the first time a developer has submitted themselves to such a degree of community input.  It is the first attempt to really model what a Transition-inspired development could look like.  

Crowd

I’ve waited seven years to write this article.  It’s been seven years of highs and lows, of moments of intense frustration and great elation, of patience and determination.  Yet throughout those seven years I never doubted that I would one day get to sit and write it.  At a time when the development machine is increasingly out of control, disconnected from local needs and wishes, and retreating from the idea of truly low carbon housing, it is a precedent that couldn’t be more important.

 
 
 

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