Delving into our 21st Century Neighbourhood Doughnut Compass (Past)

CIVIC SQUARE share deeply-rooted practices around Doughnut Economics in their neighbourhood in Ladywood, Birmingham, UK.

This event takes place online: 

Join us on Zoom by registering here

As part of the first ever Global Donut Day, we are very excited to share some of our deeply-rooted neighbourhood practice to contribute to almost 24 hours of incredible programming from around the world, celebrating this rich global community of change-makers.

Our journey over the past four years with Doughnut Economics has been deeply insightful, organising within our neighbourhood to build a Portrait of Place. In this session we'll be sharing some of our learnings and tools with the global community as well as how we are using the knowledge generated as a critical underpinning to inform the development of three systemic Neighbourhood Demonstrators that are working to build neighbourhood-scale civic infrastructure for social, ecological, economic, and climate transition.

Join members of the CIVIC SQUARE team for a range of sessions designed to inspire and share some of the tools and approaches we have been taking in our context.


Our schedule for the day is split into two sessions.You are welcome to join either or both of the sessions for as much time as you like. Further information on each of the sessions is available below.

Session One | 14:00-16:00
14:00-14:50 - Welcome + a Strategic Overview of CIVIC SQUARE and Doughnut Economics as our 21st Century Compass for Neighbourhood Transition(s)
14:50 -15:00 - Break & Choose a Breakout Session to attend
15:00-15:45 -  Breakout Room One:Building a Neighbourhood Portrait of Place - An Evolving Methodology
15:00-15:45 -  Breakout Room Two: Breakout Room 2: The Future is Already Here - Surfacing Green Shoots of a New Economy in your Place

15:45-16:00 - BREAK

Session Two | 16:00-18:00
16:00-18:00 - A Just Transition for the Built Environment: social and ecological foundations through the Doughnut

Note: As we will be joining the Global Donut Day online programme of events, throughout our sessions we will not be providing much of an introduction to the concepts and theory of Doughnut Economics. If you are coming to these ideas for the first time, we strongly encourage you to join the earlier introductory session hosted by Kate, author of Doughnut Economics, on the online programme of events. Similarly, if you are already familiar with the work of CIVIC SQUARE and would enjoy learning about how Doughnut Economics in different contexts around the world, we warmly invite you to check out the Global Donut Day online programme - sign up to the global online programme here.

A Neighbourhood Doughnut Compass for Ladywood

Almost a year ago exactly, back in October 2022, we launched our co-created Neighbourhood Doughnut Portrait for our neighbourhood here in Ladywood, Birmingham, which is a culmination of the first three years of building shared knowledge of our neighbourhood and where we are currently at, rich in participation, relationship building, neighbourhood experiments and much more.

Since then, we have shifted our focus from neighbourhood experimentations, to deep demonstration of how the climate transition and retrofit of our homes, streets and neighbourhood can be designed, owned and governed in systemic, tangible and participatory ways.

This shift into demonstration is underpinned by all that we’ve learnt, discovered and been inspired by in the first Neighbourhood Doughnut Portrait, as we continue to weave research, data, technology, fieldwork, participation, building the foundations and direction for our Neighbourhood Transitions and Public Square Demonstrators. For more information on these, please see our open strategy blog for 2023-24 on Medium - (Re)founding CIVIC SQUARE 2.0 for more detail of our Demonstrators.


14:00 - 14:50 | Welcome + a Strategic Overview of CIVIC SQUARE and Doughnut Economics as our 21st Century Compass for Neighbourhood Transition(s)

Are you interested in why we use the doughnut as our core organising framework? And how we use it practically and systemically within our work? Join Immy Kaur, co-founder of CIVIC SQUARE, as she shares the strategic overview of CIVIC SQUARE and how we use the Doughnut Economics framework as our 21st Century compass for demonstrating neighbourhood-scale civic infrastructure for social, ecological and climate transition that is designed, owned and governed by the people who live there.

15:00 - 15:45 | Breakout Room 1: Building a Neighbourhood Portrait of Place - An Evolving Methodology

Join the researchers who worked on the Ladywood Doughnut Portrait of Place to learn more about how it was co-created within the neighbourhood, the types of data that informed this and the process of the pulling it together. We will give insight into the deliberation and decisions made, and how we are using this compass as a tool to guide the next phases of neighbourhood organising. This is an opportunity for anyone hoping to put together their own portrait of place to understand the process taken at a neighbourhood scale, and to ask some of the research team any questions to help you get started.

15:00 - 15:45 | Breakout Room 2: The Future is Already Here - Surfacing Green Shoots of a New Economy in your Place

Join Daniel and Nettes from the CIVIC SQUARE team as they share how we began a deep practice of surfacing and mapping stories of hope and transformation, unlocking everyday imagination in our neighbourhood. Reimagining the neighbourhood newspaper as a platform for spotlighting projects, ideas, and weaving networks of people already moving the neighbourhood towards the safe and just space of the doughnut. If you’re interested in the development of our Doughnut Story Canvas or how spotlighting can support you to build relationships and connections across your place, this is the session for you.

15:45 - 16:00 | Break

16:00 - 18:00 | A Just Transition for the Built Environment: social and ecological foundations through the Doughnut

One of our three key demonstrators involves the retrofit and refurbishment of a historic industrial building site in our neighbourhood into a regenerative public square. We are currently working on the multiple layers of deep re-design required in the ways neighbourhood-scale infrastructures are designed, owned, governed, financed and how value is generated and measured, in ways that are both distributive and regenerative-by-design. It is also a demonstration of the types of physical infrastructure that provides access to the tools, spaces, and knowledges that enables communities to co-design and co-lead their own neighbourhood-scale transitions that bring our places back within the doughnut’s safe and just space.

In this session, Charlie from CIVIC SQUARE will be joined by a panel of amazing practitioners from across the built environment sector, including:

  • Sara Edmonds - an architect and activist, Head of Citizen Engagement at Built Environment - Smarter Transformation and Co-Director at the National Retrofit Hub
  • Dani Hill-Hansen - a Sustainable Design Engineer and Architect at EFFEKT and co-editor of the ‘Doughnut for Urban Development: A Manual
  • Nidhi Shah - a Certified European Passive House Designer (CEPHD) and an Associate at Retrofit Action for Tomorrow (RAFT), a social enterprise that delivers high-quality retrofit solutions for existing buildings.
  • and other practitioners from the sector.

Together they will guide us through an enquiry into how the doughnut’s four lenses can support deeper analysis of the built environment's far-ranging and often cascading impacts, both socially and ecologically across local and global scales.

Supported by Pheobe Robinson’s live digital illustration, this session will provide an immersive opportunity to collectively explore what it means to transition the Doughnut’s four lenses framework from a theoretical framing into a practical analytical tool grounded in a series of built environment case study interventions; practically showcasing one of the ways in which we are activating the doughnut as a compass within our work.


CIVIC SQUARE is an initiative based in Ladywood, Birmingham, UK working to demonstrate neighbourhood-scale civic infrastructure for social, ecological, economic, and climate transition.

Together with many people and partners locally, nationally and internationally, they have been working with the ideas of Doughnut Economics, taking them off the page and putting them into practice at a neighbourhood scale as a compass to guide them in the transitions that our homes, streets and neighbourhoods need to the face the 21st Century’s multiple, deeply interconnected crises. Their approach has been driven by a core enquiry question emerged out of the first three years of work:

What if the social, climate and ecological transition and deep retrofit of our homes and streets were designed, owned and governed by the people who live there?

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