In the words of the Anna Bullen from the Centre of Alternative Technology, when describing the route to net zero — “we have all the ideas, we have the technology, we know what to do, we just need to get on with it.”
Our journey across the chapters of our Neighbourhood Portrait describes a story where we know our neighbourhoods are a crucial foundation for transformation, we know there are green shoots of the new economy, and futures being rehearsed today, practiced and imagined hand in hand in everyday ways, in bold imaginative ways, in systemic ways, and often dancing between them all. Who is already working to move us into the Doughnut, where are the green shoots, how does their work connect up? How do we amplify and grow this, and hospice and let go of that which no longer serves us? Perhaps, by spotlighting the ways forward, we can grow in our hope, confidence and possibility, more easily leaving behind that which no longer will suffice.
"[Seeing the big picture] sets the stage for a twenty-first-century economic play – one whose characters and script can help bring us back [from the brink of collapse] and into a thriving balance."
— Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics
What if we can meet those characters of the new economy, all around us in our homes and street, and what if the neighbourhood was the stage for the first act of the 21st Century economic play?
If we also know everyday entry points are needed, creativity is need, storytelling is crucial, agency to act and tell our own stories is needed, if we know there are many more actors in the new economy than our current models recognise, how do we activate our deep hope and meet the pioneer in ourselves, and the pioneers all over our places?
Our curious team of storytellers and designers (newly crowned as renegade economists) went to meet some of those we had worked with, alongside, and admired from afar in our neighbourhood.
We used a canvas that encompassed many questions and invited the pioneers to not only tell their own stories, but engage with Doughnut Economics from their perspective and share their doughnut dreams.
When designing the conversation, on every level, we aimed to make the experience mutually beneficial. To honour the time taken to have these conversations, we asked our neighbours what would be a fair exchange for their time. This ranged from buying seeds to the team spending a day supporting Incredible Surplus in sorting through the food at their warehouse.
The spotlighting conversations took us across the neighbourhood and beyond, from the CIVIC SQUARE studio and the Barge at South Loop Park, to the Zero Carbon House in Balsall Heath and the Centre of the Earth and other sites in Winson Green. In the next edition, we meet many more in our neighbourhood and across the country who we couldn’t yet spotlight, already demonstrating in practice the green shoots of a new economy.
We asked the spotlighted people who they were connected to and who was inspiring them. As they mapped their ecosystems they began with people and organisations who had supported them on their journey so far, and then mapped those that they wanted to connect with in the future. We've mapped the work based on the Doughnut Economics Four Lenses framework: Local-Social, Local-Ecological, Global-Social, and Global-Ecological. We invite you to discover the proof of possibilities on our doorstep, and to explore and add your own!
Oxford, England, United Kingdom
Excited to explore & share inclusive, participatory & imaginative ways of bringing the Doughnut to life
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!
University of Huddersfield
Looking for inspiration to enact change