How can we inspire the urgent and collective action we need, right now, to address the major challenges of our time? We think local action in local places is a big part of the solution, and that’s why Wellbeing Economy Wales is exploring ways of empowering and supporting communities to take action.
In September 2021 we were excited to convene a major event for Wales about the synergy between our vision for a wellbeing economy, and Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut Economics”. Bringing together Kate Raworth, Katherine Trebeck, and Sophie Howe – who is Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner – the discussion unexpectedly attracted 800 registrations, many more than any of our previous events! Clearly there is something about “the doughnut” that resonates with people and sparks their curiosity. We had hit upon a great way to talk to people about wellbeing economics in a way that seemed to make sense, using Kate Raworth’s framework of the social foundation and the planetary limit. This landmark meeting for Wales has become a launchpad for greater community and organisational engagement for the Wales Wellbeing Economy Alliance hub.
Building on the interest generated by that first discussion, which you can watch in full on our Youtube Channel here, Wellbeing Economy Wales is now designing a series of workshops to help communities across Wales develop their own priorities, plans and actions – using tools and resources developed by the Doughnut Economics Action Lab, as well as others. We are working in partnership with Oxfam Cymru, and inviting an initial cohort of participants to join this Wales-wide learning journey.
Find out more and keep up to date as this initiative moves forward, on our website.
https://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/Kate-Raworth-01-by-Roman-Krznaric-scaled-1.jpg17002560Cymru-Wales Hubhttps://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WEAll-logo-smaller.jpgCymru-Wales Hub2022-05-05 10:09:342022-05-05 10:12:30Empowering communities to take action locally
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.
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.
https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1533137015-38dbe301e281?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&ixid=eyJhcHBfaWQiOjE1Mzg0M30&fm=jpg&q=85&fit=crop&w=2560&h=166816682560anahttps://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WEAll-logo-smaller.jpgana2020-10-07 19:26:332020-10-07 19:28:16Planning for Wellbeing … and Doughnuts
The city of Amsterdam recently unveiled its new Amsterdam City Doughnut, which Doughnut Economics author and WEAll Ambassador Kate Raworth describes as “taking the global concept of the Doughnut and turns it into a tool for transformative action in the city of Amsterdam.”
Doughnut Economics is a book full of ideas for 21st century economies and since it was first launched in 2017 many people – from teachers, artists and community organisers to city officials, business leaders and politicians – have said they want to put the ideas into practice, indeed they are already doing it.
The iconic Doughnut framework sets a goal of operating within safe social and planetary boundaries. It is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.
Kate and her team we are launching Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL) to help make this happen. The start-up team is currently working on building a collaborative platform so that this emerging community of changemakers can connect, share, inspire and get inspired, with all the different ways that people are putting the ideas of Doughnut Economics into action.
As well as Amsterdam’s Doughnut, there are already other Doughnuts out there – and this period of great change, transformation and recovery is the perfect time to revisit them.
Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics work began during her time at Oxfam, and the NGO has developed Doughnut frameworks and tools for Wales, Scotland, the UK and South Africa.
The Welsh Doughnut 2020 offers many insights into the current situation in Wales and where the government and others could prioritise in order to work towards building a wellbeing economy.
If you’re interested in exploring a Doughnut framework where you are, you can let the Doughnut Economics Action Lab know by filling in this short form.
In the meantime, check out the rich resources that are the existing Doughnuts – and if you’re working on building a wellbeing economy of those locations, make sure that decision makers are aware of the Doughnut analysis that’s already been carried out.
https://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/closeup-photo-of-doughnuts-1191639-scaled.jpg17072560lisahttps://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WEAll-logo-smaller.jpglisa2020-05-13 15:14:462020-05-13 15:24:26A Time for Doughnuts
Today is the launch of the Amsterdam City Doughnut, which takes the global concept of the Doughnut and turns it into a tool for transformative action in the city of Amsterdam. It’s also the first public presentation of the holistic approach to ‘downscaling the Doughnut’ that an international team of us have been developing for more than a year. We never imagined that we would be launching it in a context of crisis such as this, but we believe that the need for such a transformative tool could hardly be greater right now, and its use in Amsterdam has the chance to inspire many more places – from neighbourhoods and villages to towns and cities to nations and regions – to take such a holistic approach as they begin to reimagine and remake their own futures.
The Doughnut was first published in 2012, proposing a social foundation and ecological ceiling for the whole world. Ever since then people have asked: can we downscale the Doughnut so that we can apply it here – in our town, our country, our region? Over the past eight years there have been many innovative initiatives exploring different approaches to doing just that – including for the Lake Erhai catchment in China, for the nations of South Africa, Wales and the UK, and for a comparison of 150 countries.
Today sees the launch of a new and holistic approach to downscaling the Doughnut, and we are confident that it has huge potential at multiple scales – from neighbourhood to nation – as a tool for transformative action. Amsterdam is a great place for launching this tool because this city has already placed the Doughnut at the heart of its long-term vision and policymaking, and is home to the Amsterdam Donut Coalition, a network of inspiring change-makers who are already putting the Doughnut into practice in their city.
When the Doughnut meets Biomimicry
This new holistic approach to downscaling the Doughnut started out as a playful conceptual collaboration between the biomimicry thinker Janine Benyus and me, as we sought to combine the essence of our contrasting ways of thinking about people and place. It then became a collaborative initiative, led by Doughnut Economics Action Lab (we are so new we don’t have a website yet – but watch this space!) working very closely with fantastic colleagues at Biomimicry 3.8, Circle Economy and C40 Cities, all collaborating as part of the Thriving Cities Initiative.
The result is a holistic approach that embraces social and ecological perspectives, both locally and globally. Applied at the scale of a city, it starts by asking this very 21st century question:
It’s a question that combines local aspiration – to be thriving people in a thriving place – with a global responsibility to live in ways that respect all people and the whole planet. As Janine put it in her characteristically poetic way, ‘when a bird builds a nest in a tree, it takes care not to destroy the surrounding forest in the process’. How can humanity also learn to create settlements big and small that promote the wellbeing of their inhabitants, while respecting the wider living communities in which they are embedded?
To dive into these issues, we explore four interdependent questions, applied in this case to Amsterdam:
These questions turn into the four ‘lenses’ of the City Doughnut, producing a new ‘portrait’ of the city from four inter-connected perspectives. Drawing on the city’s current targets for the local lenses, as well as on the Sustainable Development Goals and the planetary boundaries for the global lenses, we compared desired outcomes for the city against statistical snapshots of its current performance (see the published tool for full details).
To be clear, this city portrait is not a report and assessment of Amsterdam: it is a tool and starting point, ideal for using in workshops to open up new insights and bring about transformative action. The current coronavirus lockdown means that such workshops are on hold at the moment, but changemakers in the city are already finding creative ways to sustain momentum, including through many of the 8 ways that set out below.
Our team at the Thriving Cities Initiative has also worked with city staff to create city portraits for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Portland, Oregon (these are not yet published) and the initial workshops that have been held to date in all three cities have brought together policymakers and change-makers in dynamic and thought-provoking discussions.
And here’s what we think is the real opportunity. The City Portraits that our team has made are what we call public portraits of the cities – made using publicly available targets and data. What if a city were to turn this into its own self portrait, gathering together residents’ lived experiences, their values, hopes and fears, their ideas and initiatives, their own understanding of their deep interconnections with the rest of world? The process of creating such City Self Portraits is, we believe, what will make this tool really take off.
The likelihood of this happening in Amsterdam is high, thanks to the newly launched Amsterdam Donut Coalition: a network of over 30 organisations – including community groups, commons-based organisations, SMEs, businesses, academia and local government – that are already putting Doughnut Economics into practice in their work. Working together they are becoming a catalyst for transformative change, generating inspiration and action within Amsterdam and far beyond.
If you are interested in applying this tool for downscaling the Doughnut to your own place – your neighbourhood, village, town, city, region, nation – please do let us know by filling in this short form. Doughnut Economics Action Lab is already working on creating version 2.0 of the methodology and, once ready, we plan to share it on our forthcoming platform, which will make working collaboratively like this far easier and more effective. Our newly created team at DEAL is currently focused on setting up this platform, so please be a little patient, and by the end of May we will get in touch with our plans for taking this downscaling work forward.
Everyone is likewise welcome to leave responses and suggestions about Amsterdam’s City Doughnut, and the City Doughnut tool, below in the Comments section of this blog. I am currently focused on working with DEAL’s fast-growing team, as well as homeschooling my two children, and looking out for my local community – so please do understand that I may not be able to reply to comments personally, but you are of course welcome to comment and discuss with each other.
As we all start thinking about how we will emerge from this crisis, let us seek to be holistic in how we reimagine and recreate the local-to-global futures of the places we live. I believe this newly downscaled Doughnut tool has a great deal to offer and I look forward to seeing it turned into transformative action, in Amsterdam and far beyond.
https://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/AmsPic.png587834lisahttps://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WEAll-logo-smaller.jpglisa2020-04-08 13:15:322020-04-08 13:15:32Amsterdam embraces Doughnut Economics – by Kate Raworth
Back in January, Rethinking Economics and Doughnut Economics got together and launched a competition based on the ‘seven ways to think like a 21st century economist’ set out in Kate Raworth’s book Doughnut Economics. The challenge that they threw down was this:
The judges were amazed and delighted to receive over 250 entries across three categories – schools, universities, and everyone else – covering a very wide range of themes. You can find out more about all 250 ideas and what happens next with them on the Doughnut Economics site here.
And the winners are…
‘Everyone Else’ winner – (WEAll member!) On Purpose with their short video ‘From Business Case to Systems Case’
School winner – Presence Tse with her video ‘From Division of Labour to Cohesive Partnership’
University winner – James Legg-Bagg with his video ‘Legal Rights for Nature’
WEAll Ambassador Kate Raworth has launched a competition with Rethinking Economics looking for the 8th Way to Think Like a 21st Century Economist.
Kate Raworth’s book Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist proposes seven mindset shifts to make economics fit for addressing this century’s challenges. But many other shifts are needed too so, in order to explore them, we decided to launch a competition based on this challenge:
They’ve got a fantastic panel of economic re-thinkers who are ready to review your entries and select the very best as winners. So get rethinking!
https://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Cover-for-Website-200x300.jpg300200lisahttps://weall.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WEAll-logo-smaller.jpglisa2019-04-08 11:26:372020-10-02 16:20:40What’s the 8th way to think like a 21st century economist? Kate Raworth wants to hear from you
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