INCONTEXT - Phases of community arena

The community arena is a co-creation tool for sustainable behaviour within local communities. Its methodological framework builds on both transition management and participatory backcasting, which are two closely related approaches, as well as literature on inner/outer contexts of behaviour and social learning. In practice, the overall methodology includes backcasting in transition management. Backcasting allows the stakeholders involved to connect the definitions of the problem(s) that have been established with long term objectives. The aim is to develop coalitions and strategic planning activities between the involved stakeholders in order to accelerate and guide changes.

The different phases of community arena consist of six steps that are (i) pre-preparation which includes the transition team formation, (ii) preparation and exploration including the overview of major issues and tensions to focus on, (iii) problem structuring and envisioning to allow the community to share a common vision, (iv) backcasting, pathways and agenda building, (v) experimenting and implementing and (vi) monitoring and evaluation.

The different phases are described below:

  • (i)        Pre-preparation: this step deals with the initial case description of every pilot project. A transition team is formed based on these case descriptions. A transition team consists of 3 to 5 members and represents the core driver of the community arena approach. The mission of such a team deals with managing activities, e.g. preparing documents, analyses, providing the stakeholders with information, etc.
  • (ii)       Preparation and exploration: this phase is composed of four subsets that stand for the foundations of the whole community arena process. First of all, the basic topics, goals, time planning and communication plan are scheduled. Secondly, an insightful overview of the major issues to focus on is established. Thirdly, the ensemble of potential participants to the transition arena is determined. Fourthly, the monitoring framework is defined.
  • (iii)     Problem structuring and envisioning: once the community arena is built, two meetings are set up to establish a common definition of the problem and select the key priorities. The ultimate goal of this phase is to build an overarching vision of the problem.
  • (iv)     Backcasting, pathways and agenda building: the objective is to develop actions and define targets, based on the common definition and vision of the problem. A backcasting analysis is carried out and several transition paths are determined accordingly. Then, an agenda is determined in order to set up activities and policies.
  • (v)      Experimenting and implementing: this phase encompasses the
    dissemination of information towards participants with regard to the previous phases as well as building up the networking.
  • (vi)     Monitoring and evaluation: this phase is conducted all along the process in order to monitor and evaluate its performance and its content.


Deliverable 4.1 report