In a crisis, we often forget the paths leading to healing from this crisis and the urge to create a sanctuary, a so called safe-haven. Recognising the crisis is important, and acknowledging the problems with the economy is important. To shed light on these, we started a reflective journey through the Designing Cities for All: RE-generation series, under “Beings of the Economy”, we welcomed Shinta Oosterwaal as our fellow. This series was an exploration into reconceptualising the (un)economy as a haven that embraces all forms of life, challenging the prevailing economic paradigms that have ushered us into an era of multiple crises.

In the midst of the global crisis and ecological breakdown, the fellowship with Shinta Oosterwaal invited dialogue on collective healing and integrating a sense of wholeness within the fractured landscapes of our contemporary economy. It questions the sustainability of our current economic practices and proposes a visionary outlook toward cultivating an inclusive (un)economic system that cherishes every form of life.

Through this fellowship, participants were encouraged to delve deeply and personally into the ‘how’ of initiating transformative journeys towards an inclusive economic model. Each session was designed to challenge current problems like threats posed by the current economy, harming the environment for profit, and why we need a sanctuary now. The speakers shed a light on alternative solutions to the metacrisis and how to heal from the pain caused by the current economy thereby unpacking the underlying power dynamics that shape our economic systems and societal structures.

This exploratory journey, led by Shinta Oosterwaal invites us to reconsider the foundational principles of our economy. It prompts a collective reflection on the essence of economic activities and their potential to serve as a sanctuary for all beings, urging a shift towards practices that are not only sustainable but also healing for the planet and its diverse inhabitants.

Episode #1: The Metacrisis

What is the metacrisis, and how do we navigate it?

In the first episode, we looked at what metacisis meant for the world and how we can acknowledge the challenges that came with the crisis. Jonathan Rowson and Ehsan Ul Haq contributed to this beautiful discussion, enhancing our understanding of the concept of metacrisis and how to imagine the sense of wholeness within a crisis.

“Metacrisis is a historically specific threat to truth beauty and goodness, caused by our persistent misunderstanding, mis-valuing and misappropriating the reality. It is a multifaceted delusion.” by Jonathan Rowson

We concluded the episode with an agreement to let go of the thoughts “holy grails” of the economy and transform into the realisation of existence, understanding one’s true purpose.

You can watch the programme here.

Episode #2: The Healing

How do we use our collective imagination to build a democratic approach in healing our economic system?

In the second episode, Shinta Oosterwaal, together with Blanche Beijersbergen, Godelieve Spaas, and Ernst Patrick Grahams discussed the concept of healing and how we can get past the point of crisis. Speakers highlighted the importance of “love” towards earth, nature, and relationships rather than loving wealth, money and material possessions. Blanche introduced her initiative “Lieve Aarde” which urged the participants to share their love towards Earth in the form of short poems, which solidified the link between collective and individual healing through the touch with nature.


“Dear Earth, I promise you that I will show up, every day, every hour, every minute, every second I will make an effort, coming home.” by Shinta Oosterwaal

We concluded the episode with acknowledging the need to accept the feeling of mourning the pain caused by the current economy in order to heal collectively. The episode highlighted the position of uneconomist initiatives that could help us build The Sanctuary we need for now and the future.

“There is a feeling inside that makes you mourn, which leads to healing” – by Blanche Beijersbergen

You can watch the programme here.

Episode #3: The Sanctuary

How can we rewrite the story of our economy to revive lost ethics and values?

“Currently we have an economic system where 1. You can make profit by doing harm. From the futuristic point of view, the reverse reality would be that there would be an economic system where doing good would be rewarded.”by Gilberto Morishaw

The final episode challenged the view society has towards money and profit. We live in a world where doing harm to the environment is not only left unpunished but also is rewarded with economic gains. Our guest Gilberto Morishaw helped us imagine a future where these economies are punished and doing good is rewarded. Joline Jolink joined us to also show what a sanctuary looks like as a business, where she showed the example of her own retail company using the circular economy as well as its interlink with nature.

In April, Designing Cities for All: RE-generation continues, collaborating with our twin organisation from Japan, the community space Shibaura House! This fellowship will further explore how we can connect individually, as communities, and as cities. The next Designing Cities for All event is called ‘The Nexus of (Non)humans’ and will be held on Monday 29 of April.

You can sign up for a free ticket here.