Doughnut for Urban Development: Manual and Tools

Putting Doughnut Economics into practice for urban development

Version 1.0 (September 2023)

📢 This manual is available for free as a PDF (below) or for purchase as a printed book from Danish Architectural Press. It is also available in Danish.
* Denne manual findes også på dansk som PDF *


The Doughnut visualises the goal of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet, but what does this mean for the urban spaces where we live, work, and play?

We have explored this question in relation to urban development by applying the ‘Doughnut Unrolled’ framework, which takes us from the global Doughnut to 'four lenses' that invite us to look at the interplay between local aspirations and global responsibilities – both socially and ecologically – to identify possible focus points for transformative action in the buildings we develop and live in.

Doughnut Unrolled for urban development

This tool - Doughnut for Urban Development: A Manual - contains useful guidance and accompanying resources to assess the on-site and off-site impacts of urban development projects within social and planetary boundaries. It presents the process and findings of a 2-year collaborative research initiative co-created by an international team of authors and contributors led by Kasper Guldager Jensen (Home.Earth) and Dani Hill-Hansen (EFFEKT).

Doughnut for Urban Development: A Manual includes the following set of open-access resources (also available to download at the bottom of this page and from Home.Earth's website):

  • Manual (PDF), which includes the main findings and discussion. 
  • Supplementary Appendix (PDF), which includes additional discussion of methodological details and tools to measure social and ecological impact.
  • Database (Spreadsheet), which includes a library of impact indicators and benchmarks with data sources.

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Why use this tool?

This tool was created with the aim of providing developers and other building industry experts with knowledge that supports the application and practice of Doughnut Economics in urban development. It could be used by architects, planners, engineers, local government officers and others working on the design, planning and delivery of buildings.

Framing urban development through local and global lens

Global and local impact areas in the social foundation

Global and local impact areas in the ecological ceiling

The manual and accompanying resources were developed with a broad group of leading researchers and building industry practitioners, aiming to integrate Doughnut Economics with the latest research and innovation from existing building standards in a format that is easily accessible to urban developers and building industry professionals alike.


Doughnut for Urban Development: A Manual was edited by Dani Hill-Hansen and Kasper Guldager Jensen and co-created by an international team of cross-disciplinary experts from Aalborg University - BUILD, Danish Technical University, Doughnut Economics Action Lab, Green Building Council - Denmark, EFFEKT, Home.Earth, SLA, Sweco, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Vandkunsten. Please see the extended credits within the Manual for additional details on the co-creative team and contributing experts.

Suggested citation to reference this work: 

  • Birgisdóttir, H., Bjørn, A., Branny, A., Clausen, C., Fanning, A., Fetzer, I., Francart, N., Grcheva, L., Heide, M., Lassen, E., Leonardsen, J., Moberg, F., Nørgaard, R., Pham, D., Rasmussen, K.K., Raworth, K., Ryberg, M. and Sahan, E. (2023) Doughnut for Urban Development: A Manual. Hill-Hansen, D. and Guldager Jensen, K. (Eds.), Copenhagen, The Danish Architectural Press.





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