Active travel, green space, connected communities … these are not new ideas!
Katherine Trebeck recently delivered the Sir Patrick Geddes Commemorative Lecture, for the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) on the role of place and planning in creating a wellbeing economy.
She urged us to learn from planning pioneers, like Sir Patrick Geddes, and to find real life examples of planning that is bringing wellbeing economy to life at the local level.
Who was Sir Patrick Geddes?
Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) was a designer widely regarded as the founder of modern town planning, ecological planning and design and bioregionalism.
He believed the role of the designer was to:
- Ensure that the material development of the places that people inhabited, reflected their specific needs and;
- To transform culture through education
Sir Patrick Geddes’ Map of how to conceive of and relate to ‘place’
(From ‘Cities in Evolution’, Source)
He understood that we need to have knowledge of the ecological, social and cultural factors of a place, in order to plan that place to meet peoples’ needs: dignity, nature, connection, fairness and participation.
During the lecture, Katherine shared ‘7 Tips for Designing a Wellbeing Economy’ that Sir Patrick Geddes would have shared himself, if he were alive today:
- “See the whole”
“We need to look upstream… [to] see how things fit together… It’s about understanding the whole picture“
2. Beyond the era of “squirrel millionaires”
3. Local Context Matters
4. Community Involvement. Always.
“A wellbeing economy is about people feeling connected and in control.” – Katherine Trebeck
5. Beyond examinations: better measures
6. “Magnificent failures” are necessary boldness
7. Follow your heart – and live life in line with your passions
How can we use these tips to plan a wellbeing economy?
Katherine pointed to signs of hope in participatory processes that involve the community in ‘building back better’. One such model is the doughnut economics model introduced by Kate Raworth.
During her recent talk on the ‘Wellbeing Economy and Doughnuts’ with the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network, Katherine introduced the Doughnut Economics Model, developed and popularised by Oxford economist (and WEAll Ambassador) Kate Raworth.
‘The Doughnut’ … Have you heard of it?
The ‘doughnut’ is a way of thinking about economics based on the priorities set out by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and balancing the needs of people and the environment.
The key aim is to ensure no one falls short on the essentials of life (in the doughnut’s hole) while also living with within ecological boundaries that aim to preserve the Earth’s resources (represented by the outside circle of the doughnut).
The doughnut shape left in-between those two circles is the sweet spot – where everyone on the planet has a good social foundation and the Earth’s resources aren’t being overexploited.
Striking this balance is key to ‘building back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic.
(City) Life and the Doughnut
“Life is the underlying process that connects culture to nature.” – Sir Patrick Geddes
The Amsterdam City Doughnut takes the global concept of the Doughnut and turns it into a tool for transformative action, on the ground, in the city of Amsterdam. The tool asks:
Katherine discussed 4 interdependent questions used in the Amsterdam City Doughnut to help answer this question, to guide city planning:
Inspired by those who came before us and frameworks like the Doughnut, we have the tools to plan an economy that is designed to deliver social justice on a healthy planet – starting right at the community or city level.
Learn more about the Amsterdam City Doughnut, Amsterdam’s long-term vision and policymaking, the Amsterdam Donut Coalition and other global initiatives putting the Doughnut model into action: the Lake Erhai catchment in China, for the nations of South Africa, Wales and the UK, and for a comparison of 150 countries.
You can learn more about Katherine’s work on her website and find her on Twitter.
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