‘nl/minato’ uses Minato City as its platform and has been running since 2017, with generous support from the Netherlands Embassy in Tokyo. Up till now, ‘nl/minato’ has been themed around an inclusive society, bringing unique Dutch public policies and bottom-up initiatives to Japan. It has been running as an educational platform where its focus is on mutual learning through dialogue.
Pandemic, natural disasters and wars have kept us in continuous flux. This year, we launched ‘nl/minato for Doughnut City’ in which we study doughnut economics. The city of Amsterdam was a pioneer, being the first municipality in the world to implement it in its policy making. By learning about doughnut economics, our aim is to create a community that balances the social foundation with environmental issues.
What is Doughnut Economics?
The term ‘doughnut economics’ was first coined and formulated by British economist Kate Raworth in 2011. It is a methodology that aims for both our immediate community as well as all people to thrive while achieving social justice, a society without poverty and social disparity, and safeguarding the planet. The “doughnut” name derives from the doughnut-shaped diagram of this framework.
The outer boundary represents 9 ecological ceilings, a set of requirements critical for the preservation of the planet. They address such factors as the depletion of the ozone layer, air pollution, land conversion, ocean acidification, etc.
The doughnut is a tool to assess the current performance in attaining or reaching the target set by the area. At the same time, it works as a device to identify critical areas and where the potential solutions might be found.
Hidden Challenges of urban area – Doughnut of Minato City
‘nl/minato for Doughnut City’ will focus on Minato City, Tokyo, where Shibaura House is located. Minato City’s issues include those characteristic of most urban areas, such as rapid population growth and eroding/disappearing sense of community.
We are now starting to acquire a new understanding of the current condition of the area. This fall, based on research and interviews, we will identify issues specific/unique to Minato City and draw up a City Portrait (= the current state of the city). From that we will conduct related events and workshops. We will also present it in unconventional ways such as in the form of policy suggestions. We also aim to use this research as an opportunity to make new horizontal connections and create a community with whom we can work together to think about the area collectively.
Why the doughnut?
In recent years, we have heard more and more about SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and circular economy, but Shibaura House is particularly interested in doughnut economics because of its holistic approach and long-term thinking.
Because there are multiple facets to everything, focusing only on one aspect would prevent us from seeing other points of views and the impact it may create. Applying a macro perspective, we can examine the inter-connection between issues to lead us to define a more accurate picture. Seemingly unrelated topics may actually be deeply connected to each other. This kind of holistic approach could inspire new collaborations among those indirectly working on shared issues.
Given that the condition of our current society and environment is the culmination of centuries of human existence on this planet, what shall we leave as our legacy to future generations? The doughnut is not one-time-fixed model, but one that is constantly changing. We will imagine what our doughnut will look like 100 years from now as well as how we would like it to be.