Tampere region was the first area in Finland that used City Portrait method to evaluate its ecological and social sustainability. The method has already garnered a lot of interest around Finland.
City portrait is a method for analyzing ecological and social impact of a municipality, region, or a state at a local and global level. The method is based on doughnut economics, a concept created by economist Kate Raworth. In this model the social needs and the ecological limits form the frames around creating welfare.
Kate Raworth gave a speech at the meeting of the Council of Tampere region's regional government. She highlighted that the global crises of the 21st century from 2008 financial crisis to global warming and worldwide corona lockdowns force us to change our understanding of welfare and wealth.
Raworth described the opportunities to steer cities toward doughnut economics. There are two central needs of change. First, we have to move from current linear economy to circular economy. This way resources aren’t wasted but they are re-used. Secondly, we have to move away from wealth concentrating economic systems.
” I’m excited about what you can achieve in your region. I know it can inspire others.”, Raworth added.
Consumption of natural resources at unsustainable level in whole Finland
The project worker from The Council of Tampere Region, Krista Pokkinen made a diploma thesis about the doughnut model.
”One of the findings of the analysis was that Tampere region is in a relatively good situation socially according to UN Sustainable development index. Yet there are still major social problems in the region. For example, there are homeless people and people in need of food aid”, she comments.
”The Tampere Region has managed to lower its greenhouse gas emissions in the last decade, but there is still a lot of work to be done for carbon neutrality. The material consumption in The Tampere Region is 2,5 times bigger compared to the sustainable level. Material footprint of average Finn is about 40 000 kg per year.”, Krista Pokkinen continues.
The method also examines how local goals and strategies recognize global responsibility and the extent to which human and nature's well-being are taken into account. City Portrait analysis can be done using public strategies and other reports. Analysis can be supplemented with workshops and interviews with public officials, local enterprises, experts, and representatives of civil society. This phase is called city selfie.
Four views for the wellbeing of both people and planet
The City portrait combines social and ecological dimension and local and global scale. The four lenses are developed out of these: local-social, local-ecological, global-social and global-ecological. Lenses create four questions that serve as the core of the City Portrait method.
City Portrait brings out the connection between lenses and uncovers both challenges and opportunities faced by today’s municipalities and regions. The purpose of the four lenses is to create tools for new kind of thinking, co-operation and actions towards change.
”For example, many modern cities are planned so that people need to use a car to move. Many households own several vehicles and produce lot of greenhouse emissions while using them. Our challenge is to reduce emissions by creating ways of transportation that are affordable and accessible to everyone.”, says Krista Pokkinen
Tool for decision makers
It requires work from decision makers and entrepreneurs as well as residents to achieve the goals. Decision makers and stakeholders can use the City Portrait method as a starting point to reflect possibilities, challenges, combined effects and tensions between alternative strategies and policies.
Doughnut economics has been utilized in several major western cities including Amsterdam, Portland and Philadelphia. In Finland Tampere Region is the first to utilize City Portrait method. The method suits well for assessing regions also.
”Doughnut economics and its practical applications have generated a lot of interest in Finland and Tampere region. We have given presentations on doughnut economics and discussed it in the climate and environment department meetings in The Council of Tampere Region, online event for the Association of Finnish Municipalities, workshop for decision makers from City of Jyväskylä and in Ekothon co-creation workshop”, says Hannele Tiitto, project manager from The Council of Tampere region.