This article analyses interlinkages between community resilience, transitional corridors and macro-scalar lock-in effects, with specific emphasis on exogenous drivers. Transition theory is used as an approach to analyse resilience pathways. The article suggests that transitional corridors shape decision-making opportunities, which are ultimately mediated by the individual/household within a community and turned into action with tangible effects on resilience/vulnerability ‘on the ground’. The importance of macro-structural ‘lock-ins’ for understanding constraints and opportunities for raising community resilience is highlighted, including in particular political and policy-based decision-making pathways, macro-structural lock-ins, ideological lock-in effects and macro-economic lock-ins. The article concludes by arguing that transitional corridors are key processes for understanding community resilience, and that more empirical work is needed to unravel interlinkages between how the ‘boundaries’ of these corridors specifically affect community resilience and how communities can help shape or influence these transitional corridors to build more resilient futures. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.