What is a BUD?


BUD stands for Basic Unit of Decision-Making. It is an acronym and phrase coined by C.T. Butler and first made public in his book Consensus for Cities. Although, the acronym and phrase can be used to explain any type of decision making process The Transition uses it in the context of how it's Contributors organize, make decisions (predominantly via Consensus), and continue the momentum we have carrying us into a better, brighter future.

A BUD is a small group which some refer to as an affinity group which can be a temporary or an ongoing small group where people engage in study, support for personal growth, and social change work. Such a group is small enough for people in it to get to know each other well. BUDs can also take on a task or issue to focus if they choose. Should they choose to address a specific task or issue the BUD then becomes a container for that social change project and goal.  What is most important about a BUD is that the people that make up the BUD are committed to testing and developing themselves and or their social change work into a sustainable project.

A BUD is a minimum of 5 people and no more than 15. Should a BUD grow over 15 it needs to split much like cells. Those BUDs however can continue to communicate, work together and may even consider forming a Transition Community together.  Everyone who is a member of a BUD belongs to at least that one BUD,but can belong to many others. There is no structural limit to the number of BUDs one person can identify  with (but there is a physical limit). To participate in your community decision-making, you go to your local BUD meeting.

Within the context of Consensus there is never a time in a BUD when an individual needs to make a decision independent of the group. Every step is collective in nature. An individual participates by being a member of a group known as a BUD. The question before each person is not, "What do I want?", but "What do I think is in the best interest of the group of which I am a part?" This is a fundamental shift in thinking, for many.

BUDs are the entry level or smallest unit of Consensus Decision-making. Everyone who wants to participate in the Decision-making  of the Community are encouraged and expected to join or form a BUD, identify and participate in the BUD on a regular and ongoing basis. If you want to raise a concern about any issue at any level in your Community or propose a project, the place to start is with your BUD.


Inspired by: Consensus for Cities, Co.Starters Cohort Binder

Contributors: Co.StartersC.T. Butler

Suggested Reading: Consensus for Cities, Co.Starters Cohort Binder