The Multi-Pattern Approach for systematic analysis of transition pathways

Fjalar J. de Haan, Briony Cathryn Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Pathways have become a central notion in various areas of research, amongst which are the studies of transitions to sustainability. Though various typologies and concepts are available, a framework for systematic analysis of transition pathways is lacking. We present the Multi-Pattern Approach (MPA) to fill this lacuna and provide a step-by-step manual for its application. The MPA addresses a range of traditional challenges of transitions' pathway analysis, such as temporal and functional system demarcation and the unravelling of complex, interrelated systemic storylines. The approach provides an oft-called for rigour which allows a diagrammatic and formulaic representation of transitions' pathways. Because of these qualities, the approach allows systematic cross-case comparison and provides a bridge between narrative-based and computational transitions research. The approach is demonstrated with an in-depth empirical case study of water management in Melbourne, Australia over the last 180 years. The article first presents a high-level mapping of the system's evolution over time and a detailed analysis of the uptake and phasing out of specific servicing technologies and practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number318
Number of pages30
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Analysis
  • Modelling
  • Multi-pattern approach
  • Pathways
  • Sustainability transitions
  • Urbanwater

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