Collaboration & Innovation

Amsterdam’s Doughnut Model to Revive the Economy

Image: Leif Niemczik, Unsplash

Amsterdam is perhaps one of the worst-hit regions economically due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although the municipal council of Amsterdam is struggling to keep the citizens safe, the responsible members of the municipal council are busy plotting and planning for the post-COVID-19 era. For Amsterdam’s Covid19-stricken economy, it is important to get the plan right to make a sustainable recovery.

Kate Raworth from Oxford University Environmental Change Institute along with Dutch municipality officials has come up with a doughnut model for reviving the economy. This is not a new theory being proposed by Kate, in fact, the doughnut model was formulated by her back in 2017. Her book, Doughnut Economics: Seven ways to think like a 21st Century Economist has quite an intellectual fanfare.

What is the theory about?

Kate’s theory takes a doughnut-shaped approach to economic planning and operations. The inner ring of the doughnut is based on the minimum needs as per the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Basic elements like access to clean water, food, housing, sanitation, energy, education, healthcare, gender equality, income and political voice should be made available to all. Any nation that lags behind on these basics is said to be in the doughnuts hole. 

Image: Wikimedia

The outer ring of the doughnut represents the limits that the human race must not cross. It is basically the environmental and ecological boundaries that are set by the scientific community. We are already aware of the negative impacts of pollution, climate change and ozone layer depletion. This layer typically is an indicator of what humans should stop doing in order to protect the environment and help it heal itself. 

In between is a safe zone represented by the Dough. This is where we should all be living. On one hand, everyone should have their minimum basic needs fulfilled and on the other, we should be more caring towards the environment. This is the zone where the economy would revive and thrive post-COVID-19 pandemic. 

How It Would Help?

In its core, the doughnut theory shows us to use natural resources wisely without hurting nature. This indirectly hints at the creation of self-sustainable economies. Every nation should attempt at becoming self-sufficient and self-reliant within the boundaries of nature. The doughnut can be the instrument that, when implemented properly, will demonstrate the feasibility and the positive impact of living sustainably. 

“Raworth scaled down the model to provide Amsterdam with a “city portrait” showing where basic needs are not being met and “planetary boundaries” overshot. It displays how the issues are interlinked”. 

For instance, housing is one area of concern for Amsterdam. There are more people and fewer houses, one simple solution could be to build more houses, however, that would boost up the unwanted carbon levels. As a solution, the city council would urge builders to use recyclable materials and green building protocols to keep things under check. This is just one example to postulate how the doughnut model would help revive the region’s economy. 

Source: The Guardian 

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