Why does the doughnut economy need to be applied in the city?

Following the models in other cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London, studies are now under way to adopt the concept of a doughnut economy, a vision which sets limits to the current model of economic growth through criteria on environmental sustainability and social justice. This allows for prosperity, but also corrects inequalities between people and guarantees the current and future inhabitability of the planet.

29/07/2021 15:21 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

What is the doughnut economy?

The author of this new vision is the Oxford University economist Kate Raworth, who explains that the model of infinite economic growth is out of date and needs to be re-focused to ensure environmental sustainability and social justice.

Two concentric circles represent the doughnut economy, where all of humanity must converge to live in a more sustainable world. This space is delimited by an inner social base of basic services and assets which must be guaranteed to everybody, while the outer circle represents an ecological ceiling of not exceeding the planet’s limits.

How does it work?

The doughnut economy offers constant monitoring of indicators which are just beyond the limits of the fair and comfortable space for all, either through excess, in overstepping the ecological ceiling, or through shortfall, in not guaranteeing the social well-being of the population.

Two types of indicators are analysed:

  • Environmental, such as CO2 emissions, the ecological footprint or the use of water.
  • Life satisfaction, health, medical care, quality employment or access to energy and education.

The analysis of these indicators clearly shapes the political, social and economic policies which need to be adopted in different spheres.

The initiative is being studied with the C40, the global network of cities against the climate emergency, and in close collaboration with the Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL), through the Barcelona + Sostenible network and a team from the University of Barcelona headed by the professor from the Department of Economic History, Institutions and Policy and World Economy, Enric Tello.