An Introductory Guide to Downscaling the Doughnut

A collection of tools, stories, and useful links for creating a Data Portrait of Place, also known as City Portrait.

Version 2.0 (October 2022)

Overview

This page introduces the concepts and applications of DEAL’s data-led approach to downscaling the Doughnut to places using the ‘Data Portrait of Place’ tool. It will be updated with practical links and stories on an ongoing basis.

The Data Portrait of Place tool is a handbook of approaches for collecting place-based targets and indicators across four crucial ‘lenses’ that arise from combining two domains (social and ecological) and two scales (local and global). It was published in April 2022 as part of a set of five ‘Doughnut Unrolled’ tools. Notably, it represents an updated and enriched version of the data-led Creating City Portraits methodology, co-created with Biomimicry 3.8, Circle Economy, and C40 Cities (published in July 2020).



Overall, the aim of the Data Portrait is to provide a holistic data-led snapshot of a place’s performance that combines local aspirations – to be thriving people in a thriving place – with global responsibilities – both social and ecological – that require every place to consider its many complex interconnections with the world in which it is embedded.

 

Since the City Portrait methodology was first published in 2020, many towns, cities, and regions worldwide have created their own data-led portrait of place, adapted to local contexts, priorities, and data availability. These portraits have sometimes been created by analysts working within local government, sometimes by community-led initiatives and sometimes a combination of both. This page gathers useful resources for applying this evolving data-led methodology to your own place, and showcases results from the growing number of places that have already begun using this tool as an input to transformative action.


If you’re working on a Data Portrait for your place, or considering doing so, please do get in touch by selecting the ‘Research & Data Analysis’ category on DEAL’s Contact Form. At least as importantly, please do share your experience, results, and lessons learned as a Story on the DEAL Community platform when you’re ready, so that it can inspire and inform the work of others.


Since 2020, the work of cities and regions putting the Doughnut into practice has expanded far beyond creating Data Portraits alone. To learn more about all the core concepts, tools and stories in action at the scale of towns, cities and regions, see our Cities & Regions page



Getting started - the core methodology

Doughnut Unrolled: Data Portrait of Place

This methodological handbook presents a step by step approach to developing a holistic data-driven Portrait of a city or a place (with an accompanying illustrative spreadsheet). It includes useful resources, inspiring examples, and things for analysts to keep in mind - drawing from the work of changemakers around the world, and bringing in global South perspectives gathered through a series of workshops.

 

Downscaling the Doughnut: an introductory lecture

This 1.5-hour video (recorded June 2021) explores what it means to downscale the Doughnut and to put it into practice in a particular place – ranging from neighbourhoods to nations. Kate Raworth and Andrew Fanning introduce DEAL’s Data Portrait approach to downscaling, discussing the conceptual and empirical challenges that this raises, and sharing examples of the diverse ways it is being put into practice in different places.



Examples of places downscaling the Doughnut

Since the Portrait methodology was first published in 2020, many cities, regions, towns and communities have begun developing their own Data Portraits. The initiatives listed below (in alphabetical order) have sometimes been led by local governments, and sometimes by self-organised networks, communities or organisations, each bringing new learning and perspectives. We will keep adding new ones to this list, as they are added to the DEAL Community platform. In addition to the list below, DEAL also recommends checking out the ‘Inspiring approaches’ boxes throughout the Data Portrait of Place handbook for further details on innovative methods used by different initiatives to explore each of the four lenses.

Amsterdam's City Doughnut Portrait

Amsterdam was the first city to adopt the Doughnut as a compass for guiding its commitment to become a circular city by 2050. They published a City Portrait in April 2020, based on the first version of the Creating City Portraits methodological guide.


Barcelona City Data Portrait
A team of researchers working with Barcelona Municipality have been developing a City Data Portrait, as part of the city’s wider work with Doughnut Economics. As part of the analysis, this master thesis informed the global-social lens of the Portrait with a focus on decoloniality.

Brussels Capital Region Portrait (in French; translations coming by end 2022)
The Brussels Donut project developed a Data Portrait for the Brussels Capital Region in 2020, with the intention to continue updating it. Their work engaging with the Doughnut is summarised in this story, and there is also an accompanying spreadsheet.

Edinburgh Data Portrait 

This master thesis applies the Data Portrait methodology to Edinburgh.


El Monte (Chile) City Data Portrait
Entramadas supported El Monte Municipality to develop a Data Portrait ‘in order to provide concrete tools for facing ecological degradation and social disparities’. 


Glasgow City Data Portrait
A team of researchers working with Glasgow City have been developing a Data Portrait through a series of workshops. More details about Glasgow’s ongoing Data Portrait work are available in this story


Leeds (England) Doughnut City Data Portrait
Climate Action Leeds created a Data Portrait as a ‘first step towards creating a city plan that will enable them to create a zero carbon, nature friendly, socially just Leeds by the 2030s’. This master thesis dives deeper into the process and related findings of the Portrait. This master thesis focuses on how the Leeds Doughnut could help advance climate justice from a decolonial perspective.

London City Data Portrait

The London Doughnut Coalition has produced its first Data Portrait ‘to provoke discussion and action in the city’s neighbourhoods and the city as a whole’.  

Tampere Region (Finland) Data Portrait
The Tampere region developed their own Data Portrait. Here is the full master thesis (in Finnish) that it was based on.

 

Yerevan (Armenia) City Data Portrait

UNDP’s Innovation Lab in Armenia supported Yerevan Municipality to create a Data Portrait, including a qualitative data-led ‘Yerevan City Selfie’. 




Doughnut Unrolled tools

DEAL believes that the potential of the Data Portrait as a transformative tool will be best realised when put into practice together with a wide range of participatory tools and methods, bringing government, business, and academia together with innovators from community networks, the commons, SMEs, and start-ups. In April 2022, the DEAL Team launched a set of five ‘Doughnut Unrolled’ tools that expand upon and enrich the first version of the City Portrait methodology:

  • Introducing the four lenses - an introduction to the four lenses and the set of tools you can use to help your place bring humanity into the Doughnut.
  • Dimensions of the four lenses - an overview of each of the dimensions of the four lenses on life.
  • Community Portrait of Place - a selection of participatory workshop approaches you can use to explore the four lenses for your place.
  • Data Portrait of Place - a handbook of approaches for collecting targets and indicators for each of the four lenses for your place.
  • Exploring a topic - a selection of approaches to explore a specific topic through the four lenses, whether a sector, strategy, policy, project, initiative, object or idea.


These tools contain a wealth of useful content, such as slides that you can use to learn about the concepts and use in your presentations, workshop methods and guidance to help you design your own participatory processes and approaches, and both online and printable canvases that you can use if running either an online or an in-person workshop (or a hybrid format). We invite you to use and adapt these tools  for your own initiatives - and to share back your experience and learning!




Other approaches to downscaling the Doughnut

DEAL believes the Data Portrait methodology represents the most holistic data-led approach so far to translate the Doughnut into a tool for place-based thinking, decision-making, and action, while recognizing the very diverse realities of places worldwide. At the same time, the Doughnut has gained considerable international attention since it was first published in 2012, and it has been downscaled in a range of ways since then. A selection of these other approaches and valuable contributions can be found below.


National Doughnuts Data Explorer

This interactive website hosted by the University of Leeds provides visualisations of national performance with respect to the Doughnut for over 150 countries, based on internationally comparable data.


A compass for the EU towards 2030

This report published by the ZOE Institute presents a set of 30 indicators and corresponding targets for EU countries visualised in a Doughnut, based on an in-depth analysis of existing EU dashboards, and  accompanied by a spreadsheet inventory of ~450 indicators.


Cornwall Plan 2020-2050 

The Plan includes an outcomes framework assessing the state and progress of social and environmental conditions across Cornwall based on the dimensions of the Doughnut. A first assessment is included in the 2022 Progress Report, accompanied by a detailed Data Annex

Devon Doughnut

An interactive website hosted by the Devon Doughnut Collective with innovative ‘twin-track‘ indicators to measure Devon’s social and ecological health, collected from both official sources and residents.

 

The Welsh Doughnut by Oxfam Cymru

Oxfam's approach to downscaling the Doughnut, brought to life in Wales.


List of academic articles engaging with Doughnut Economics

A list of academic studies engaging with the core concepts and applications of Doughnut Economics, including different approaches to downscaling other than the Data Portrait, from South Africa, China and the EU to India and the UK. For additional research-led insights, check out DEAL’s Research & Academia theme.

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    Ana Carolina Freitas

    Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brazil

    Learn more about new tools and connect to people.

    Tracey Lloyd

    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

    Contribute to improving organisational responses to social issues and enhance the power of small organisations to be changemakers.

    Petra Baiba Olehno

    Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

    Project Manager | Thriving Cities Portrait for Glasgow 2022

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    Désiré Leijs over 1 year ago

    I love this!

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