Doughnut unrolled for cities during a hackathon

How to experiment emotionally and rationally the doughnut

On July 6th, 2023, I was invited to facilitate a workshop on the topic of Doughnut Economics during a seminar for city civil servants from the South Region of France: directors and employees from cities and also from larger layers such as territories, departments, and regions.

200+ participants met in Aix-en-Provence in the South of France for two days to imagine innovative solutions to concrete ecological transition issues. The organiser was the public training centre for city civil servants (CNFPT) and  Big Bloom, their partner for the hackathon.

Event announcement

After half a day of inspirational workshops, the participants formed groups to dive into the hackathon to solve challenges from different cities.

I was facilitating one of the inspirational workshops on the topic of Doughnut economics. To prepare for the workshop, I used three tools : 

1. Steph into the Doughnut

The first part of the session was about experimenting with what the Doughnut was visually and emotionally speaking.

Step into the Doughnut

After collaboratively displaying the ropes on the ground and discovering the ecological ceiling and the social foundation, people discussed the two dimensions thanks to the prompts from the Step into the Doughnut tool.

They were particularly moved by the prompt about discussing losing a place they love.

2. Doughnut unrolled: Dimensions of the four lenses

For the next step, we moved the ropes to unroll the Doughnut and make the 4 lenses.

I then introduced the Dimensions of the four lenses

I also had them printed and displayed on the wall like an exhibition for people to be able to read in more detail about each dimension. 

Dimensions of the four lenses as an exhibition

3. Community Portrait of Place

For the last part of the workshop, we used the canvas from the Community Portrait of Place.

For participants to be able to discuss a common place, we organised five geographical groups.

For that, I asked them to position themselves in the room as on a map - with the sea on one side of the room and the Alps on the other. We thus had five groups who shared common knowledge about a city or a geographical area even though they were not exactly living in the same city.

Groups first had to discuss what was the limit of the place to make a portrait of it.

Then each group reflected on ecological/social challenges, ongoing initiatives, and new ideas with post-it notes.

Community Portrait of Place

4. Sharing knowledge

After around 30 minutes of discussion, participants walked around the canvas from other groups to get inspiration, then returned for a final group discussion.

Community Portrait of Place

5. Debrief and conclusion

We concluded the session with a debrief on what they had discovered about their place and about the Doughnut. We also discussed the variety of tools that exist on the DEAL platform to support the transitions of a city towards a safe place for humanity. 

My challenge for this workshop was to translate as best as I could all the tools I used. I can't wait for the material to be translated into French!

Overall, the good news is that many were enthusiastic and willing to explore the Doughnut for their own local policies :)




    John Hartmann

    Louisville, Kentucky

    Desire to make a difference, inspired by the book, “Earth for All” and currently reading, “Doughnut Economics”.


    Join the DEAL Community!

    Get inspired, connect with others and become part of the movement. No matter how big or small your contribution is, you’re welcome to join!