A project initiated in Melbourne in 2007, a collaboration between four universities and hundreds of professionals, has set out to revision the fundamental structures of the city based around a paradigm switch to distributed systems and the re-localisation of production and consumption. Melbourne in twenty-five years time is conceived as a ‘city of short distances’, describing relationships of mobility as well as the production and consumption of life-critical resources – energy, water and food. This vision has been used to engage with processes of local transition and transformation for existing communities as well as for the design of new 'eco-city' developments. All these projects aim to change expectations about the ‘trajectories of development’. In this process the terms 'distributed systems' and ‘short distances’ rather than decentralisation because the ‘re-localisation’ of production and consumption takes place within networks of interdependence at larger scales – regional, national, global. The concept, process and outcomes of these projects will be described and compared to other established programs which aim to transition communities and cities to a sustainable form.