A City Portrait Canvas for Workshops

Version 1.1 (March 2021)

* También disponible en español abajo (PDF) *
* 下面也提供葡萄牙语(PDF) *
* Também disponível em português abaixo (PDF) *


The City Portrait Canvas is a workshop tool created by the Thriving Cities Initiative – a partnership between Doughnut Economics Action Lab, C40 Cities and Circle Economy. Changemakers can use this tool to foster big-picture thinking on how a particular city strategy may impact the world in which it is embedded, both socially and ecologically, locally and globally. 

The Canvas is designed for strategic policy development and analysis in workshop settings. It applies the City Portrait’s ‘4 Lenses’ conceptual framework as a basis for participants to consider the many complex interconnections between a city’s local aspirations – to be thriving people in a thriving place – and its global responsibilities – to respect the wellbeing of all people and the health of the whole planet. 

Why use it?

This is an easy-to-use and engaging workshop tool that is well-suited for small groups or breakout sessions (2–8 people per group) aiming to enhance the design of city strategies, policies and initiatives to meet 21st century challenges.

The tool is an integrated and ready-to-use set of resources (available as PDF in both A3 and A4 paper sizes) that includes: 
  • A blank ‘Canvas’ template of the 4 Lenses  
  • Step-by-step instructions 
  • Additional information and worksheets

Watch this 10-minute video for an illustrative example of how to use the City Portrait Canvas to create city strategies in a holistic way:

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The City Portrait Canvas was created by Max Russell, Ilektra Kouloumpi, Vera Charniak, and Nicolas Raspail from Circle Economy, with contributions from Julia Lipton from C40, Kate Raworth and Andrew Fanning from DEAL.

Who's using this tool?

Aarhus meets Doughnut City - from ground zero

Posted by Niels Aagaard

Aarhus, Central Jutland, Denmark. Also as webinar

Community Hall Self-Build Education Project

Posted by Rose Gibbs

Mountford Estate Community Hall, Cecilia Road, London Borough of Hackney, England, United Kingdom

Doughnut cottage on tour

Posted by Thijs van Roon

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Nederland

    Nicole Hartmann

    First of all, thank you so much for providing this great tool! I would also be happy to have access to the canvas in a format that can be easily adapted to other languages, as Francesca suggested.

    9 months ago
    Francesca Milocco

    Very useful tool! Is it available also as power point or other format that are more suitable for online collaboration instead that on paper?

    9 months ago

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