In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, government leaders would love a crystal ball to help them manage the future of their homes’ economic health. Magic can’t help—but maybe a doughnut can.
The city of Amsterdam this week officially decided to embrace what has come to be known as “The Doughnut Model,” a framework for sustainable development created by Oxford University economist Kate Raworth. In adopting this model, which attempts to balance the needs of people without harming the environment, the city hopes to emerge from the cloud of Covid-19 elbows out, with new purpose. The Dutch capital is the first city in the world to commit to the model, making it an economic experiment of a sort.
At the simplest level, the model makes the case that a growing economy and ever-expanding GDP aren’t necessarily signs of economic health. It suggests that there are two large-scale problems facing humanity: poverty and climate change. The doughnut is an attempt to visualize and enable measurement of the relationship between the two.