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26 March 2021

Cities re-think strategies amid Covid-19, adopt doughnut economics

As the Covid-19 pandemic tore through Europe in the spring of 2020, the City of Amsterdam made a decision that could signal a new wave of city planning when they adopted the doughnut economics model. The model, which Amsterdam had begun discussing with its originator Kate Raworth in December of 2019, offered the city an opportunity to plan for the future and hope to avoid future crises. Doughnut economics aims to ensure everyone is provided with life’s essentials while ensuring that humanity does not exceed the planet’s limits.

This bridging of human necessity and earth’s sustainability signals a way forward as the world struggles with the transformation necessary to avoid climate catastrophe. The work done by Raworth and Amsterdam to bring the model from theory into a practical, actionable model for city governance showed Amsterdam the value of integrating the city’s planning into a higher-level strategy that ensures that overall progress remains on target.

Following Amsterdam’s adoption of the model Brussels, Belgium and Nanaimo, Canada have already made the decision to adopt the model. The practical experience of adapting doughnut economics to city governance offers a valuable action learning case for researchers and, crucially, other cities facing similar challenges.

Read the CNBC article on cities adopting doughnut economics here and read more about Nanaimo’s experiences with the Doughnut here (pdf)