Amsterdam’s doughnut recovery

Doughnut Economics is a bestselling book by Kate Raworth, detailing how to create a society where people flourish within environmental boundaries. A vision for sustainable living has to include the environmental limits we must not exceed, but also the social limits we should not fall below.

A safe space for humanity is found in the green doughnut between overshoot on the one side, and shortfall on the other.

The city of Amsterdam has adopted the idea of the doughnut as a central part of its long term strategy. They have commissioned Kate Raworth to assess the city and create a downscaled version of the doughnut especially for Amsterdam. This will then guide decisions about policy choices in the city’s quest to become carbon neutral and 100% ‘circular’ by 2050.

Although the work was commissioned before the COVID-19 outbreak, it will now guide the recovery. A key principle in the report is that the city should “aim to thrive rather than to grow”, and that it shouldn’t let “growth become a goal in itself.” As Amsterdam recovers from the shock of the coronavirus, the wellbeing of citizens should be a better measure of success than a return to economic growth.

Doughnut Economics has been an inspiration to many of us on the Joy in Enough team, and it is fascinating to see it applied in a specific location. Amsterdam’s project will be one to watch, to see how the ideas of the doughnut translate into specific policies for a fairer and greener city, one where everyone can live life to the full within the limits of our natural world.

 

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