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Designing a Framework for Regional Ecosocial Transitions: A River-centered Approach 



The concept of systemic ecosocial transitions is emerging as a complex strategy against climate change and the polycrisis. Yet there is little experience for how such transitions can be realized in practice.


Transition visions in the North and South are often at odds conceptually and politically–either too radical or streamlined. As a joint initiative between a group of scholars based in Colombia and Switzerland, this research project purports to contribute to develop a shared theoretico-political and epistemic-practical framework for transitions, based on collaborative work in Switzerland and Colombia.

Its objectives is to outline the contours of an integrated framework for transitions based on current European and Latin American transition proposals and dynamics. To ground such a framework locally, we engage with river-centered transition design strategies in the Cauca river valley and the Limmat valley, as exemplary cases in Colombia and Switzerland; and develop policy briefs and an outreach initiative to strengthen transition activist practice and public policies of relevance in Switzerland, Colombia and beyond.

As a transnational initiative, the project is organized around two workshop weeks, one in Switzerland and another in Colombia, and will include trans- and interdisciplinary exchanges, as well as a joint outreach initiative. It is funded by the Leading House for the Latin American Region of the University of St. Gallen, with a Research Partnership Grant.

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Project lead Colombia
Arturo Escobar
Mario Alejandro Pérez-Rincón

Project lead Switzerland
Federico Luisetti︎︎︎
Emiliano Guaraldo︎︎︎
Flurina Gradin︎︎︎
Rony Emmenegger︎︎︎
Christoph Miler
Beat Müller 

Research Partnership Grant participants

Diana Bernal
Maria Campo
María Ximena Dorado Velasco
Renata Moreno
Andrea Melenje
María del Pilar Ramírez Gröbli ︎︎︎

Other participants

Anna Barseghian
Sophie Gosselin ︎︎︎
Nikolaus Heinzer
Stefan Kristensen
Clemence Mathieu
Marin Schaffner
Peter de Vries



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