Doughnut economics for four Serbian cities

For a long time, human society relied on a linear, growth-based development model. Such a model has stretched the planetary resources to the limit, while the basic socio-economic needs of all people have not yet been met.

In order to change the paradigm and introduce new ways of measuring sustainability, a team of researchers from the Zajedničko Platform devised the so-called doughnut economics format for Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac.

The Doughnut, or Doughnut economics, is a visual framework for sustainable development – shaped like a doughnut or lifebelt – combining the concept of planetary boundaries with the complementary concept of social boundaries. The name derives from the shape of the diagram, i.e. a disc with a hole in the middle.

The centre hole of the model depicts the proportion of people that lack access to life’s essentials (healthcare, education, equity and so on) while the crust represents the ecological ceilings (planetary boundaries) that life depends on and must not be overshot. The diagram was developed by University of Oxford economist Kate Raworth in her 2012 Oxfam paper A Safe and Just Space for Humanity and elaborated upon in her 2017 book Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist and paper.

When comparing the doughnut models for the four Serbian cities, the main problems became quickly visible.

In almost all cities the air is excessively polluted, with Novi Sad fairing somewhat better than in other cities. The availability of water supply and sewerage is greater in Novi Sad compared to Belgrade, Kragujevac and Niš, where the authorities need to work on expanding the water supply and sewerage grid.

On the other hand, Novi Sad has a lower percentage of forests and fewer green areas compared to other cities where the situation is somewhat better, and only Kragujevac is within the limits of sustainability in this aspect. Due to the lack of data for greenhouse gas emissions, an increase in temperature was chosen as the indicator for climate change, while the limit from the Paris Agreement of 1.5 C was taken as the top value.

Housing, work and salary are problems in all four cities, with the salaries being higher in Belgrade and Novi Sad, but housing is more affordable in Niš and Kragujevac. Democratic participation and gender equality are at a low level in all cities, while the availability of healthcare is at a satisfactory level. Mobility data is not available for Niš and Kragujevac.

(eKapija, 06.01.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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