Archive for the ‘Inquiry’ Category

This newsletter is published quarterly using a cycle of perspectives on the Integral City viewed from: Planet, People, Place and Power. The theme of this issue is Power.

The reality of the (modern) city is that the issues of consciousness, intention and responsibility are the gateways of understanding, preventing and transforming material challenges because the boundaries of local environments are perpetually porous. When the elements of life can manifest butterfly effects (Lorenz, 1995) half a world away, with disastrous consequences in remote and different environments, then resourceful conscious attention and intention may hold the only keys to survival.  

Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 14

Solstice Reflections on the Power of Caring 

The spectrum of governance systems in cities around the world is revealing that 21st century city governance demands a range of varied capacities for responsiveness to immediate emergencies, emerging sustainability and long term resilience. Modes of governance, range from the dictatorial to the democratic. They are not accidental expressions of human consciousness, but reflect the interior worldviews and mindsets of both city leaders and citizens.

While we imagine and even expect that city governance systems should be steady structures, in fact, they are ever emergent and constantly being renegotiated because the stability of cities is forever dynamic. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear: some worldviews are more inclusive and more soundly contexted than others.

In other words, the internal life of those who coalesce authority, power and influence in our cities contributes largely to the capacity of cities to be coherent, adaptable and sustainable. The events that Paris faced in 2015 (from the darkest disasters of the Charlie Hebdo and November 13 attacks to the most hopeful dignities of the COP21 Climate Conference) particularly showcased the range of responsiveness that city leadership now requires in this stage of human system development.

We are fast becoming aware that seeking sustainability and resilience in the urban world demands mindfulness about our relationship to realities within our cities, across cultures, spanning ecoregions and impacting the world. Our inner capacities must match our outer intentions. And just as Paris demonstrated in 2015, the Power of Caring for our cities can be  (perhaps must be??) amplified when the Circle of Care expands through the scales of Self, Others, Place and Planet – because a whole “family of governance systems” arises from the nation (France), regional affiliations (EU), transnational agreements (NATO) and international organizations (UN). We are living in an age where the city is the Power focus of human systems, but at this Solstice time, it is fitting to contemplate that city wellbeing depends on the healthy interconnections of People, Place and Planet.

When City Crisis Calls for Greater Leadership Power 

With cities facing such a variety of leadership demands in 2015, we can see that the need for extraordinary leadership capacities is growing exponentially. In Integral terms we can frame this as Leadership to “x” Power. And it appears that we may have broken through even the levels of complexity that defined a Leadership to the Power of 7, to a need for Leadership to the Power of 8? If I were going to point to a triggering life condition that is calling forth such Leadership I would target the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. If I were to name a Leader who is demonstrating the needed qualities of Leadership to the Power of 8, I would offer Angela Merkel. Mrs. Merkel may be a national Leader – but her decisions regarding an open refugee policy are impacting every city in Germany – and as a result many other cities in Europe.

Leadership to the Power of 8 understands the infinite qualities of adaptiveness that enable human systems to thrive (and reproduce themselves) in endlessly changing life conditions. In the spirit of Leadership to the Power of 8, Angela Merkel has taken the courage extend a Circle of Care that embraces not just the voters who put her in office, but to embrace the imperiled condition of the refugees and expand the possibilities for everyone.

In contrast to such Leadership to the Power of 8, we can also see on display Leadership to the Power of 4 that depends on authority and uses barbed wire to create a barrier to change (e.g. Orban in Hungary). Those using Leadership to the Power of 5 are invoking fear of change and “the other”, depending on manipulation and competition to foment resistance (e.g. Trump in USA). Others using Leadership to the Power of 6 are depending on arguments for justice equality but ignoring the “idiot compassion” where gang and/or tribal underbellies take unfair advantage of liberal societies (e.g. Brussels and its hotbed of jihadi neighbourhoods). Even Leadership to the Power of 7 that depends on complexity and the awareness of the environment and ecological realities risks being undermined by clashes of culture (e.g. on the streets of Paris at COP21).

Leadership to the Power of 8 transcends and includes even the healthy expressions of all less complex Leaderships (from Powers of 4 to 7). It depends on integral evolution – standing firm in the face of opposition from all the other Powers of Leadership because it can see a greater superordinate goal. Through the interconnections and cross-collaborations that are emerging on an increasingly global scale, we can see that Merkel’s intuitive (?) Leadership to the Power of 8 is creating the conditions that enable a transnational (if not global) flow of people, energy, security and resources. Today’s cities need leaders, like Angela Merkel, who have developed a consciousness that understands the interconnected, evolutionary, developmental nature of all life – and particularly of city life.

Read more on Leadership to the Power of 8 in these 2 articles:

·       Concise Version: http://www.integralcity.com/discovery-zone/Research%20Docs/Leadership%20to%20the%20Power%20of%208,%20WiPsy-3-2012_Hamilton.pdf

·       Complete Version: http://integralleadershipreview.com/7686-leadership-to-the-power-of-8-leading-self-others-organization-system-and-supra-system/


Enlivening Edge Calls Forth the City in 2 Ways

1. Enlivening Edge a new ezine for next-stage organizations (inspired by Frederic Laloux’sReinventing Organizations) is theming the mid-January issue around reinventing cities to their next-stage of consciousness. Like Integral City, EE sees cities as part of the fractal sequence of reinvention and evolution emerging between organizations and societies. Integral City will be contributing one of the main articles for the city theme! Add your own voice to the City issue by following the guidelines here http://www.enliveningedge.org/get-involved/enlivening-edge-writers-guidelines/ (deadline extended to December 28)!

2. Join EE for the 2nd (international) Integral European Conference (see below) Reinventing Europe: Integral Reflections in a Rapidly Changing World

Enlivening Edge is curating a Teal Organizations Track there and city-related content is especially invited!

Call for papers for the Teal Organizations Track (and all tracks):


Invitation from Integral Europe 2016: Reinvent Europe

Mark your calendar for BEFORE January 10, 2016 – and send IEC2016 your proposal for a presentation, paper or provocation.

What does it take to reinvent Europe from an embodied integral perspective, synchronizing different value-systems?

IEC - Flow Therapy Group Circle - Copy

That is the question IEC organizers are designing into their innovative conference format that will seamlessly interweave crisp presentations, juicy transformational workshops and heart-opening communal events.

May 48, 2016 at Lake Balaton Hungary is the time and place.

Advance whispers say Dr. Don Beck and Elza Maalouf will be keynoters and presenters.

Show Up. Speak Your Truth. Be Part of the Results. Learn MORE here.


The Power of WE: MetaIntegral Foundation’s Candidates for Integral Prpjects 2016

MetaIntegral Foundation, an Integral City constellation partner, continues to raise money to support some of the world’s leading Integral thinker/doers. Through their pooled resources and stewardship, research leaders will be supported as they apply integrative approaches to solving real-world challenges. Together, MIF and donors build credibility for these impactful applications and help to advance the field of Integral Theory and practice. The list of the candidates for 2016 Funding is below.

MIF uses an innovative approach where your votes generate funds AND help select the finalists.

Click here to read more about the projects, their leaders and how to add YOUR IMPACT.

  • Caucus for Children’s Rights (CCR) led by Kate McAlpine
  • Developmentally-Oriented Fundraising led by Jennifer Jones
  • Energy Futures Lab (EFL) led by Tamara Connell
  • Homeless Services Leadership Training led by Heather Larkin
  • Integral Economics led by Elizabeth Castillo
  • Integral Nepal Project led by Shushant Shrestra & Gail Hochachka
  • Let’s Drink Less by Half led by Riina Raudne
  • PUP Global Heritage Consortium led by Jon Kohl
  • SSU Core Leadership led by Mark Fabionar
  • StagesLens Text Analysis Research led by Tom Murray
  • The Natural Design Navigator led by Mark R. Dekay


Meshworkers of the Year Award 2015 – Imagine Durant, Oklahoma, USA

Imagine Durant diamond logo

Imagine Durant has created a bold invitation to the 4 Voices of Durant Oklahoma, USA to imagine a vision for the future and develop the strategies to implement it.

Imagine Durant has systematically documented the process, results and interconnections amongst a series of three Dialogues on the Economy and the Community. Imagine Durant brought together 24 Thought Leaders, 39 Community Members and 24 Policy Makers to learn what was most important to the community. From the contacts made through these representatives of the 4 Voices of the city, it is estimated that Imagine Durant has touched thousands of Durant stakeholders since inception in 2013. Read the full story HERE.


Power of Gratitude: Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund

KWF-200x200-C - Copy

Something quite moving and amazing is afoot in the Integral world. It is called The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund which we might call the Power of Gratitude. This is an opportunity for all of us who have been affected, moved, and transformed by the brilliant work of Ken Wilber. The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund represents a movement of those who have been enlightened and inspired by Ken’s gifts to the world, who relish the opportunity to be able to concretely say thank you with our financial contributions and to continue to support Ken and his work.

As Ken so eloquently communicates on The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund website, he is far from finished with his life’s work and is currently entering a phase of massive output of new works that continue to build on the foundation he has created in his previous books, teachings, and articles.

It is the intention of KWGF founders that Ken will be supported abundantly for all of his physical and medical needs, and at the same time be held by love, support, and appreciation for what he has given us.  Thanks for giving – just CLICK – YES, I’LL GIVE


The Power of Learning Integral City Practices

We’d like to refer you to several Powerful learning resources that contribute to Integral City practices:

1.     Edited by Tom Christensen and published by Integral Publishers:

a.     Innovative Development: Emerging Worldviews and Systems Change

b.     Developmental Innovation: Emerging Worldviews and Individual Change

These 2 books featuring chapters from many of the big players in the Spiral Dynamics world provide practical applications of Spiral Dynamics Integral theory to all scales of life. Written by leaders for leaders responsible for healthy cities, states, countries, non-profits and businesses. – Educators guiding students from elementary school through university. – Economists concerned with money, finance, lending, and what is next for capitalism. – Policy-makers dedicated to disabled, impoverished, and other underserved citizens. – Those wishing a deeper yet practical understanding of large systems changes. – Therapists, counselors and coaches wanting a more nuanced view of their roles. – Lifelong learners who love personal stories of challenges, triumphs, and epiphanies.

2. The Amplifield connects you with a global community of people who meditate and share intentions together. Joining, gives you access to several frequencies of sound entrainment and a psycho-active globe that shows how your intentions amplify others’ and vice versa. It is a seed-bed for practicing WE-space.

3. Systemic Constellation Work with Jane Peterson in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is offering 2 programs on Feb. 18-20, 2016:

o   What lies beneath: understanding the hidden dynamics in organizational relationships, a workshop on Friday Feb 19 for leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs, and also for consultants and coaches.

o   Coaching sessions on Thursday Feb 18, and Saturday Feb 20. Each will be two hours long, experiencing many applications of constellation work – including what Jane calls the “FOO Factor” or the family of origin factor that keeps us stuck and unable to move forward as we sense is possible.

o   Contact Kate Sutherland for Registration Details kate.sutherland@thnk.org

Celebrating “Power-Focus” in the Coming Quarter to Light Up 2015 and 2016

December 21 marks the start of what IC calls the Power Quarter (from December 21 to March 20). What powers of leadership, creativity and meshworking do you bring to celebrate the Spirit of the City in this quarter? What WE-stories and Legends give you strength to embrace compassion in the face of adversity?  Where do you notice the Power of Cities expanding their influence on our Planet of Cities? Visit us at Integral City Collective on Face book and post a short update or a photo.

Meshful Blessings for December Solstice from

Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Core Team


Here are some some Free Resources for amplifying Power in the Human Hive:

1.     Integral City’s ITC2015 Harvest Report The Fruits of Deep Design: How Integral City Harvested Pomegranate Impact of Integral Theory Conference 2015 – full report HERE.

2.     Tam Lundy’s Generative Change Primer has just been translated into Russian– click HERE for the link to download your pdf copy.

3.     Cherie Beck observes that she is very curious about technologies that use “vectors” to reveal what we would call Meshworks and/or architectures for our 12 intelligences. A wonderful example is in this demonstration that all roads lead to Rome:   http://www.wired.com/2015/12/here-are-all-the-roads-that-lead-to-rome/?mbid=social_twitter

4.     Check out the series of blogs on European Refugees and Paris:

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10 More Reasons to Pop

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When Integral City is asked to work with cities, inevitably the invitation comes from leaders who have in mind the wellbeing of their city.

Integral City Compass

Integral City Compass

Tam Lundy’s leadership tip (offered in Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue offered a Leadership Tip on Generative Change) explains this impulse in terms of the desire of the leaders to generate change through both integral thinking and practice.

Tam’s key pointing out instructions for generativity align well with Integral City’s 12 Intelligences.

  • Tam taps into the Integral City Contexting Intelligences that create the conditions for wellbeing at all scales. She frames this as Salutogenesis – the wellbeing of the city that arises because it is complex, adaptive, and full of life. Contexting Intelligences encompass Ecosphere Intelligence, Emergent Intelligence and Living Intelligence along with the Integral Framework.  Salutogenesis gives cities a natural drive to survive, respond to life conditions and thrive. When leaders make the life-sourcing assumption that the city seeks a natural state of wellbeing, then important technical and adaptive solutions underpin but don’t override the wellbeing of the city.
  • Leaders who work with developmental lenses realize that in order to create conditions that support healthy development in people, communities and organizations at all stages of life, requires Strategic Intelligences that embrace Inquiry, Navigating and Meshworking Together leaders who use these three strategies impact the whole city and create solutions that can be implemented in natural steps in service to the wellbeing of all.
  • The quality that Lundy calls Dialectical seems to relate most to the Inquiry Intelligence. Leaders who undertake a dialectical inquiry have the courage to challenge the “thesis” of accepted dogma – such as, with the increase of cars, we must build more highways. Jane Jacob’s classic challenge to this assumption offered a contradictory perspective – or “antithesis” – if you build more highways you will just get more cars and it will be a never-ending dilemma. City leaders who practised Inquiry Intelligence continued with the dialectical process and emerged a “synthesis” – if you build cities for people instead of cars, then many more mobility solutions become available – such as public transportation, ski lifts and walking.
  • Leaders who use the Integral City Compass to think and act intelligently at the city scale, generate the capacity of integrating the AQAL dimensions of the city. This Integrative attitude, enables leaders to situate their thinking and actions using the five Integral City maps. As Lundy notes, this enables leaders to “connect the dots among all of the interconnected, interdynamic and irreducible factors that support thriving” in the city.
  • The last quality that Lundy points to, aligns completely with Integral City’s Evolutionary Intelligence. Leaders who recognize the city as a living, complex adaptive social system, gain strength from seeing the evolutionary impulse at the very centre of the city (and the compass they use to make decisions and design strategies for a future that is preferred), because with an evolutionary life purpose, each city has the opportunity to be in service to wellbeing of the whole world.

As Tam Lundy notes, it is the natural inclination of integrally-informed leaders, to generate change capacities. Integral City Intelligences can be learned and practiced by all city leaders increasing the chances for city thrivability.

Tam Lundy’s ideas on generative change, and their practical application, are explored more fully in her short e-book, Generative Change: A Practical Primer.

This blog is one of a series that explores the relevance and application of ideas to the Integral City, in the articles published in the Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue, 2015, curated and Guest Edited by Marilyn Hamilton.

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Eleven organizations contributed to the research behind the book Reinventing Organizations, by author Frederic Laloux.  If so few organizations passed the filter of Tier 2 qualifications will we have to wait centuries for enough organizations to mature to this stage before we can reinvent our cities?

Upside Down City

That is a sobering thought – and one that should motivate us to get on with the work of growing our capacities as individual leaders and redesigning our organizations so that we can expand the circles of care and thrivability from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

But the Integral City has three natural Strategic Intelligences that can accelerate the maturing processes of organizations and communities – the WE space of the city.

  1. Inquiry Intelligence opens us up to learning, discovery and innovation.
  2. Meshworking Intelligence creates the conditions where self-organizing capacities in the city combine with structuring capacities to create a scaffold that enables a hierarchy of complex organizations and individuals to co-create a resilient ecology.
  3. Navigating Intelligence gives us the systemic feedback that lets us know if we are proceeding in the right direction to achieve our Purpose (and correct our course of action in order to achieve our intended goals).

Reinvented Organizations can play special roles as actors, agents and catalysts of Strategic Intelligences within their cities of operation.

As Inquirers, they can take the lead in “calling the question” – How can we do this differently (e.g. redesign a mature neighbourhood). Who else should be here? How can we call the 4 Voices of the City into this conversation?

As Meshworkers, they can call together the 4 voices of the City (Citizens, Civic Managers, Civil Society, Business) and help other organizations, economic sectors and communities identify the Purpose that they serve in common. They can facilitate and/or call in facilitators who can help reveal the life conditions and align the values of the community for resilient outcomes.

As Navigators, they can co-create feedback loops that inform everyone of the city’s progress, through designing Vital Signs Monitors that track wellbeing and resilience for communities and the city.

If City Halls, as key organizations in the City Voices we call Civic Managers, choose to reinvent themselves, they can quicken the reinvention of the whole city. City Halls who reinvent how they conduct the business of the city, must draw on the Strategic Intelligences of an Integral City either implicitly or explicitly.  If you want to look at how one city has chosen to implement such a strategy to reinvent its mature neighbourhoods – look at how Strathcona has implemented Integral City Strategic Intelligences, engaging facilitators to engage the 4 Voices of the City to complete the groundwork that may incubate the reinvention of the city as a whole.

Pioneering projects like Strathcona Mature Neighbourhood Strategy, are necessary models, for us to learn the early stages of how applying Integral City Strategic Intelligences, in the service of reinventing organizational patterns can reinvent the city.


This blog continues an exploration of what we can learn if we applied some of Laloux’s ideas from Reinventing Organizations to recalibrating the complexity of the city.

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What can I do to optimize Integral City Impact? We ask the question again – as an honoured contemplative practice to repeat the question as a doorway to yet deeper knowing.


Integral City Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

Integral City Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

Our spiritual guide in this series of Optimizing Impact has been Dr. Roger Walsh. He pointed out (at IEC) that we can seek to answer this question with a one-time answer from our knowledge base.

But when we treat this question as a Wisdom Query, it becomes a kind of koan, that takes us deeper into ourselves/Self and reality.

As intentional Practitioners we are called to develop the expertise to do three things:

  1. We can relieve external problems to the best of our ability as “barefoot doctors” or “Spiral Wizards”.
  2. We can heal the internal sources of problems in our own psyche, the anguish of others, or across cultural divides. As we widen our circle of compassion, we are more able to be the non-anxious presence who can offer a calm and grounded centre to be with others in difficult circumstances.
  3. We can bring more integral and Integral City frames to bear on the work we do.

As pioneers of a new paradigm for the city we engage spirituality in multiple contexts – in our personal reflective practice; in the work place; in our communities (of practice and place); and on behalf of the city as a whole. (It is the territory of Map 5 for the Integral City.)

Integral frameworks are now emerging in most domains of human understanding (including psychology, medicine, education, sexuality, history, geography, systems, culture). Thus we are recalibrating our ability to design habitats for wellbeing and relieve dis-ease in all its manifestations.

An integral mindset is able to flex and flow in a stream of awareness that opens eventually into a transcendental awareness, where spirituality in the Human Hive is an alive re-sourceful condition.

What I can do to optimize Integral City impact, then comes down to choosing a path of never-ending maturing. It means, according to Dr. Walsh, that we regularly dive into inner work as deeply as we can. He calls it “karma yoga” – where our work in the world of Integral Cities becomes a spiritual practice itself. It is the manifestation of our Master Code: Take Care of Yourself, so that you can Take Care of Each Other, so we can Take Care of this Place, so we can Take Care of this Planet.








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This blog continues to share the Findings from the research conducted in three Learning Lhabitats exploring the 4 Voices of the City in the United States, Canada and Europe in the last year. Today we compare the results that open wider understanding of the role of the Business Voice in the city,  from Learning Lhabitats at the Integral Theory Conference 2013,Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainability Conference 2014 and Integral Europe Conference  2014. Business includes the voices of Entrepreneurs, Developers, Innovators, Artists and Inventors. (Integral City has characterized them as the Diversity Generators of the Human Hive.) 


IEC 2014 Tour: Business Opening City Structures (Award Winning ING Office)

IEC 2014 Tour: Business Opening City Structures (Award Winning ING Office)


AQAL Profiles of the Co-Researchers

In collecting this data, it is interesting to note the profile of the participants in each conference from an AQAL perspective. The Integral Theory Conference 2013, located in San Francisco, USA, attracted thinkers and theorists with a major interest and focus on integral points of view – a group that were heavily weighted in the Upper Left /Consciousness Quadrant of the Integral Model. At the same time, this group self-identified as being strongly biased in favour of Innovators and Business or Diversity Generators.

The Federation of Canadian Municipality Sustainability Conference 2014, located in Prince Edward Island, Canada, attracted Mayors, City Managers and Civic Leaders with an interest in sustainability and action orientation. So from an integral perspective this group were heavily weighted in the Upper Right/Action and Lower Right/Systems Quadrants of the Integral Model. This group by definition were Civic Managers or Resource Allocators.

Finally the Integral Europe Conference 2014, located in Budapest, Hungary, attracted a diversity of cultures and actors from across Europe (with smaller representation from other non-European nations) who were heavily weighted in the Lower Left/ Cultural Quadrant of the Integral Model. This group had a strong predisposition to be Inner Judges from Civil Society (with a strong showing from Business as well.)

These three groups give us an in interesting sampling of the I/We/It/Its perspectives on the Business Voice in the Integral City. Figure 1 sets out the comparison of the 3 Groups for Business.


Figure 1: Comparing Voices of Business: ITC, FCM, IEC

Figure 1: Comparing Voices of Business: ITC, FCM, IEC


 Qualities of the Voice of Business

Each Learning Lhabitat was asked to define the qualities of the Business Voice. This voice was unanimously described as innovators, who “dare to see what is and learn from the past to create the future”. Business was seen as able to take the overview with an optimistic, spiritual consciousness. Advanced business leaders practised servant leadership, but at the same time could be unattached with a preference – even an expectation? for working with freedom.

As creative entrepreneurs Business is both Purpose and Goal oriented organizing their plans to achieve both. As profit generators and risk takers, they also can demonstrate social conscience, with growing awareness of the importance of sustainability, practicing the 3 R’s (reuse, recycle, redevelop) and generating wealth with a triple bottom line (People, Profit, Planet).

Business both drives the city agenda with a focus on producing results, that don’t reinvent the wheel, often challenging the status quo, and changing policy but somehow finding the middle ground.

Business can re-define the very meaning of success (e.g. developing ways to build community that improve work/play and walkability).

While Business moves quickly and is always aware of the importance of time, it also demands clear process. Business asks clarifying questions like: Where does the funding come from? Who can sponsor this? How do change the car culture? What are the best practices already?

The Value of Collecting Intelligence from Multiple Sources

These Learning Lhabitats are helping us see how Business Voices see themselves, each other, their city and the world. In these LLhabs, Business Voices are discovering how to strengthen their organizing capacities to build lasting foundations for the Integral City, so that the vitality of the other three Voices is well supported.

In the companion blogs (Citizens, Civil Society, Civic Managers) we look at the other three Voices of the City revealed in our trio of Learning Lhabitats.


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How do you prepare for a book launch of the Russian translation of Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive? Dmitry Baranov, Publisher of the Russian Translation and Founder of iPraktik asked for an interview. And special thanks to Victor Shiryaev for the translation – which Dmitry then published in Russian in the Theory and Practise Blog here. (Note: the automatic online English translation of the Russian doesn’t quite capture the original – so I share it with you below).
Dmitry Baranov, Founder iPraktik, Moscow

Dmitry Baranov, Founder iPraktik, Moscow

Dimitry: 1. Dear Marilyn, could you please share with us what happens nowadays in the city development sphere?
MH: What is happening in city development depends on where the city is located – both what country and also what is the eco-region or the habitat of the city.
Every city in the world faces 5 great threats: Climate, Water, Energy, Food, Finance. Each city has to respond differently to them depending on what are the life conditions that are going on there? What is the state of the economy, the environment, the culture and the structures/systems of the city.
So in Perth Australia there is a great interest in ecologically sensitive development. They are concerned about their water supply. The same goes for desert cities in most places of the world – from Phoenix Arizona to Arab cities. Chicago and Vancouver both want to be the greenest cities in the world – so they are building structures with green roofs. The leading architects like Bill McDonough, Richard Register, Mark DeKay are designing their buildings to be “smart” to respond to local climate and environmental conditions. They have projects in China, Egypt and the USA. Charles Landry and Richard Florida have both been trying to understand how culture plays a major role in making cities smarter. The engineers from the Big Data movement want to collect data to make cities smarter – so traffic flows and communications inform everything from cars to smart phones. The Mayors of cities in the developing world are interested in economic prosperity and how to solve the basic challenges of maintaining and improving infrastructure that is aging, and falling apart and needs to be replaced.
Dmitry: 2. The most noticeable trend in Russia is this regard has to do with city space improvement and infrastructure – mostly in design, transportation issues, human involvement. In Europe the biggest trend was green orientation towards ecology of living. So what happens now on the leading edge of city development in the world?
MH:  I have pointed to what cities are spending time, energy and money on – they must create the conditions for Resilience in the face of the Big 5 Threats. But in order to do so they must invest in human creativity and development. Cities have been treated as though they are just bricks and mortar – but in fact they are really living systems of the human species – the “human hive” as I call it. As a species we need to make sure our human hives are as resilient for humans as the beehive has been for honey bees. And we need to take a lesson from the honey bees and their problems with colony collapse disorder. We need to ask ourselves what will prevent collapse of human hives and what will make them most resilient as living systems? That means we need to work on what makes us distinctive as a species – and that is our consciousness and cultures – the inner lives of cities is what will strengthen the outer life of the city.
Dmitry: 3. There is a famous example from Moscow: city activists from the School of Urban Studies began improvement of one of the city’s yards and got into conflict not with the government or bureaucracy structures, but with the inhabitants of that yard. Those were very disappointed with the results of the urbanists’ endeavors, saw complete lack of taste in the innovative modern design of the children’s playground, and even accused the activists in corruption and price fixing. What is the point here?
MH: This is an interesting story with many facets related to what I might call the 4 Voices of the City.
In order for a city to thrive, it needs to be treated as a “whole” as a living system, made up of many “wholes” or “holons”.  Each person is a holon, and all the ways we associate in collectives or groups are what we call “social holons”.  Think of our families, teams, organizations or in this case a community or neighbourhood – they are all social holons – wholes – with 4 voices: Citizens, Civic Managers, Civil Society and Business/Developers. All the voices need to be present and contribute to workable solutions to city problems or opportunities. If only one or 2 voices dominate, then the other Voices resist or undermine or confront or refuse solutions that do not include them.
So in this example I see that a group of outside “experts” – with good intentions by the sounds of it – came together as City Activists (Civil Society Voices) and brought in Modern Designers (Developer/Business voices) to solve a problem that the Bureaucrats (Civic Managers) ignored or didn’t give high priority to. The Inhabitants (Citizen Voices) don’t seem to have been consulted. The “solution” was “parachuted” into their neighbourhood and they didn’t like it. Perhaps their accusations of corruption and price-fixing were true or not true – but it is a way to accuse the Voices with Good Intentions (Activists-Civil Society and Designers – Developers) of not including them in the process.
The point of this story – is that all 4 voices need to be present for creating solutions that serve the whole. That is how the honeybees and all other living systems have figured out how to thrive (for 100 million years). We are a young species still trying to figure this out. We need to keep learning from our mistakes and try to live in our cities so we make decisions that serve the wellbeing of all the holons – and the only way to do that is to keep the whole in mind.

Dimitry: 4. It is quite obvious that in polarity to the urban activism is urban nihilism. Do you know any examples in world’s practice where a positive solution to such nihilism was found?

MH: Urban nihilism – do you mean active undermining of urban wellbeing? Of existential angst? Of inner and outer attacks on the success of the city?
We know from an emerging science of cities, that cities actually outlast organizations and even the countries they “belong” to. So if you look back in history many if not most cities go through stages of destruction – think of Rome burning, or London losing 50% of its inhabitants from the plague, or Lebanon destroying “Venice of the Middle East” or Detroit going bankrupt or all the cities suffering from terrorist attacks from Moscow to New York or cities destroyed by war. Each of these city destructions are different examples of the growing pains of the human species. They are symptoms of nihilism caused by dissonance in the city systems – generally because of “growing pains” in the human species located there. If the cities survive these attacks from within it is because cities are ecologies of people (social holons) at different stages of development. Nihilism can be outgrown – but it needs the wisdom of those people who can think beyond the short-term pain/angst of the nihilists themselves – and gather the resources within those who want to survive – and reinvent the city for a higher purpose than nihilism wants to destroy.

Dmitry: 5. Marilyn, what is an integral city?

MH: An Integral City is a way of looking at the city as a whole – as a living system – with its 4 Voices, a trajectory of values, a living system with evolutionary spirit.
Dmitry: Can this concept become reality in any region of the world with any kind of population and government?
MH: The approach to looking at a city as a living system can emerge at any time. But how the population and government embrace it and adapt it to cultures and infrastructures and systems depends on the developmental levels of complexity of those people.
Dmitry: Or is it a certain stage with gradual ascent towards that stage?
I think of an Integral City as embracing all stages of complexity. As a living system it is an ecology that contains and embraces a nest of human systems from individuals to families, organizations, communities, sectors, etc. all at once. That is why it is so complex. So it is not about ascending to a particular stage but how all those stages co-exist together.

Dmitry: 6. A question about globalization. A known problem for Russia’s regions is federal-size networks forcing out and replacing local small businesses. Is it a normal process, after which there is some kind of a new step, or do we have to try and influence this process somehow?

MH: The imposition of governments that do not respect eco-regions is a world-wide dilemma. I see 4 stages in the development of human systems – including cites – that go from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric. From a worldcentric and kosmocentric perspective the only way that city alignments will make sense over the long run is how they are in service to the wellbeing of their eco-regions and the earth as a whole. So the tensions between current forms of government is another example of our growing pains as a species – the symptoms of species teenagehood!!

Dmitry: 7. Finally, what are you planning to talk about during your presentation in Moscow on May, 16th?

MH: I have written Eugene Pustoshkin an article on City Trigger Points as Country Tipping Points  – so considering how cities of the 21st century must become worldcentric – and how this is causing all our countries great problems as the nations “don’t get it”. I plan to talk about how the basic reframing of a city to look at it as the “human hive” can help us discover gateways that help us work together for the wellbeing of the city and the wellbeing of the planet.
E-book "Integral City"
Thanks to Dimitry Baranov for hosting me in Moscow and for publishing the Russian Translation of  Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Readers who would like to access the excellent translation (by Eugene Pustoshkin, edited by Alexander Narinyani) can order the e-book here.
And access the Presentation Slideset for the Moscow lecture of Opening Gateways to Wellbeing in the Human Hive here.

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