Over the last few months Junior Research Fellow Clara Dallaire-Fortier and intern Jenny Ufer worked on the regional doughnuts for Croatia as an extension of the Super Donut project. Regional doughnuts aim to show regional similarities and differences national ones cannot account for and therefore provide a more specific understanding of the different regions while being able to inform policymakers better.
In Croatia regional differences are well-known, but this is the first time they are shown in the doughnut visual. For our research three Croatian cities (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka) and five counties (Istria, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Karlovac, Požega-Slavonia, Virovitica-Podravina) were chosen because of great variation concerning development, spatial location and work sector.
The representation of the doughnut is divided into three segments namely the biophysical, socioeconomic and cultural segment with four to eight indicators each. The green belt is defined as the safe and just operating space of humanity in the 21st century indicating a sustainable life. Further the doughnut is divided in boundaries located at the outer rim and thresholds at the inner rim. In the visualization red areas at the outside rim show overshoots while red areas to the inside show deficits for the indicators. For the indicators in red letters no data were available.
Our results show that all of the regions are outside the safe and just operating space of the doughnut meaning that none of them are sustainable. They all show overshoots and deficits in all three segments. Some differences are visible in the biophysical and socioeconomic segment while the cultural segment is very similar for all regions showing high awareness of climate change and the role of humans while supporting degrowth.
The biggest differences are visible for the indicators of poverty and education, the latter indicating a brain drain towards the cities, especially Zagreb. Further we can see that these differences in poverty and education do not reflect in the cultural segment and therefore do not necessarily influence „environmental“ attitudes. At the same time a rather sustainable cultural segment does not lead to environmental friendly actions as overshoots in the biophysical segment and overshoots and deficits in unsustainable infrastructure show.
All in all we can say that regional differences in Croatia are rather small. This could be because it is a small country with comparatively strong socio-economic ties. However, some regions are more sustainable than others, especially in the socioeconomic segment which makes their switch to sustainable development less demanding than for others.