Archive for the ‘Voices’ Category

Here is the Integral City 2015 Meta Blog. It connects the 4 Voices of the Integral City to the Planet, People, Place and Power that energized us in 2015.

It follows the traditions of:

Integral City Meta Blog 2014

Integral City Meta Blog 2013

1. Equinox/Solstice Newsletters – Integral City Reflective Organ

  1. Integral City Reflective Organ – March Equinox 2015: Signs & Wonders of Planetary Shifts
  2. Integral City Reflective Organ – June Solstice 2015 – Pope, Planet of Integral Cities, People, Playgrounds
  3. Integral City Reflective Organ – October 2015: Places – Smart, Resilient, Integral
  4. Integral City Reflective Organ – December 2015: Inner Power, Outer Climate

2. City of the Year 2015: Paris

banner_01 Paris

For the first time in 2015 we could see that some cities are moving the forefront of a Planet of Integral Cities. In particular the role that Paris played in galvanizing the world to think and act in ways that made us conscious of ourselves at a city scale, inspired us to nominate Paris as City of the Year 2015. In particular Paris helped us appreciate the reality of the Master Code through taking care of Self/ Others/ Place/ Planet. Here are four blogs exploring Paris 2015.

  1. Je Suis Charlie
  2. Je Suis Paris
  3. Je Suis COP21
  4. Paris – City of the Year 2015

3. Leaders Meshworking in Europe & USA

Europe brought the impact of People, Planet, Place and Power into city awareness and showed how national leaders can bring the politics of dignity as a defense against the politics of fear. At the same time a small city in Oklahoma, USA is at the forefront of prototyping how to involve the dignity of all 4 city voices in the process of becoming an Integral City. We honoured Durant, Oklahoma as Meshworkers of the Year 2015.

  1. Discovering How Politics of Dignity Counters Politics of Fear
  2. Meshworkers of the Year Award 2015 – Imagine Durant, Oklahoma, USA Integral City of the Future

Imagine Durant diamond logo


4. Leadership Reviewed

Leadership in Integral City came into focus with the Integral Leadership Review Canada Issue in 2015 and subsequently inspired a number of leadership-related blogs:

©2014 Aboriginal Nations Education, Greater Victoria School Board, BC, Canada Artist Jamin Zurowski Bear/UL. Wolf /LL. Raven/UR. Salmon/LR. This Totem is a Gift used with permission on this Canada Issue. Please do not reproduce without © Permission.

©2014 Aboriginal Nations Education, Greater Victoria School Board, BC, Canada
Artist Jamin Zurowski
Bear/UL. Wolf /LL. Raven/UR. Salmon/LR.
This Totem is a Gift used with permission on this Canada Issue. Please do not reproduce without © Permission.

  1. A Totem for Curating a Story of Leadership in Canada – Integral Leadership Review
  2. From Totem Guides and Lock Masters to World Legacy Light – Integral Leadership Review Encore
  3. Integral City Leaders Use Generative Change
  4. Women Tell the Stories that Transform Old Story into New Story
  5. Cities are Evolving Climate Story
  6. Transportation Crossroads in the City
  7. Celebrating Canada’s 4 Quadrant Leaders on Canada Day

5. Pope Leading “Urbi et Orbi”

Traditionally the Pope offers year-end blessings for the City and the world (urbi et orbi) – but this year Pope Francis demonstrated throughout the year active leadership on integral views of ecology, climate and refugees.

  1. Pope Francis Calls for Integral Ecology
  2.  Pope Francis Offers Blueprint for a Planet of Integral Cities

6. Integral City: Harvested Impact at Integral Theory Conference 2015

Integral City invited participation processes, purposes and energies with Systemic Constellation Work in Pop-Up Playgrounds at the Integral Theory Conference 2015. We promised many outcomes here:

  1. 10 Best Reasons to Pop-Up at Playground Lunch ITC2015
  2. Take a Play Break: Pop-up, Play, Constellate
  3. ITC2015: Top 10 Reasons to Play at our Pop-Up Lunch

We published an Impact Harvest Report –you can find out about the Deep Design we used here:

  1. Pop-up Places, Process and PurposeHarvet Report Cover

7. Integral City: Woke Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart and Resilient Cities at IT Smart City Conference

In September at IT Smart City Amersfoort, NL we explored the discourse that links Smart, Resilient and Integral Cities and how to recalibrate care, context and capacity for a planet of cities, summarized in this series of blogs:

  1. Bee Hive Metaphor Offers Human Hive Disturbing Pattern of Survival?
  2. The Human Hive Reveals Patterns that Determine City Types
  3. Beehive: Biomimicry Patterns for Smart, Resilient, Integral Cities
  4. Human Hive: Roles & Types
  5. How Do We Locate the Smart City?
  6. How Do We Locate the Resilient City?
  7. How Do We Locate the Integral City?
  8. How Do We Power Up Our Cities?
  9. Integral City GPS Locator Compass
  10. Waking UP the Human Hive – Recalibrating With Happiness

8. Householder Dharma

We started a periodic series of gentle “pointing out instructions” for applying principles from Integral City in your own home town (inspired by Marilyn’s home town in Canada).

  1. Householder Dharma: Gaining Altitude on a Community of Blessings
  2. Householder Dharma: The Best Exotic Qualities of Home
  3. Householder Dharma: Optimizing Home Base with Values
  4. Householder Dharma: Connecting People, Improving Health
  5. Householder Dharma: Fifty Shades of Green Make Walking Delightful




Read Full Post »

10 More Reasons to Pop

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Mom always used to say, “be careful of the company you keep”. Transpersonal psychologist, Integral pioneer and wise elder, Dr. Roger Walsh, at IEC, emphasized the importance of the company you keep, to support your Integral spiritual practice. By gathering with, for and as the people who embrace the paradigms of evolutionary consciousness and culture, complexity and living systems we amplify the Field of Integral Practice.

That is why Integral City and its growing Community of Practice produce, support, present and attend the conferences that enable us to keep company with Thought Leaders, Designers and Practitioners who demonstrate the 12 Intelligences of Integral City.

Gaia's Reflective Organs? (Image from Chihuly Glass Gallery Seattle)

Gaia’s Reflective Organs? (Image from Chihuly Glass Gallery Seattle)


The wave of integrally informed or designed conferences, where Integral City has contributed has become a movable feast,  travelling from Perpignan, France (Renaissance II gatherings in 2009, 2010); to  San Francisco (the locale of three Integral Theory Conferences in 2008, 2010, 2013); to Budapest (venue for the Integral Europe Conference 2014); to Haiphong, Vietnam (city for the International Society for Systems Science 2013); to Izhevsk, Russia (location for Urbanfest, 2014); and  the ubiquitous internet (with our own Integral City 2.0 Online Conference, 2012).

Integral City Meshworkers (like Beth Sanders, Roberto Bonilla, Lev Gordon, Anne-Marie Voorhoeve, Diana Claire Douglas) bring special expertise to other gatherings in their local cities where city planning, organizational development, city development, transorganizational collaboration and systemic constellation work expand the influence of integral paradigms into families, teams, sectors, economic sectors, neighbourhoods and eco-regions.

As Reflective Integral City Practitioners our contributions to gatherings – whether they be local or global — help to heal a troubled world because we offer options for noticing more possibilities for healing conflict (from all 4 quadrants), processes for decision making that embrace all 4 Voices of the city, laboratories for learning (like Learning Lhabitats), technology for research (like values mapping and vital signs monitors) and principles for expanding circles of compassion (Master Code).

Situating and modeling, Integral thinking, acting, relating and creating, as it relates to human systems in the City, we bring “Mohammed to the mountain”. Because cities are the places where most humanity now lives (50% in developing world to 90% in the developed world) it makes sense that we take advantage of the greatest opportunity for leverage offered to Integral practitioners. As Thomas Huebl takes the ashram to the market place, he is recognizing the intersection point of the world’s greatest needs – to solve all the major problems created by humanity with humanity’s greatest purpose – to be Gaia’s Reflective Organ.

Integral City Practitioners, Catalysts and Meshworkers are learning how their skills can address our current evolution as a species – where  the individual and collective immaturity and psychological pathologies of humans threatens the existence of all Life on the globe.

Integralists are called to address the psychological and pathological immaturities and disruptive pathologies of individuals, groups and institutions that we have the lenses to see from all four quadrants of: intentions (UL), behaviours (UR), cultures (LL) and systems (LR).

Flocking together with other Integralists at conferences, city gatherings and working on projects, enables Integral City’s Community of Practice to amplify our capacities to not only embrace the great efforts of the Smart City, and the Resilient City but transcend and include them into the Integral City and Indra’s web of our planet’s cities.









Read Full Post »

How can you optimize the impact of “integral”? That was the question asked by Roger Walsh at his keynote at the Integral Europe Conference. As ever, his wisdom was framed to inspire practise as well as contemplation. We always gain insights about Integral City work from Roger’s guidance (see the blog series on “5 Practical Steps for Applying Integral City Theory“).


Urbanfest Team

Urbanfest Team

So let’s consider ways that we can optimize our Integral City Work.

Commit to Do High Quality Work

Firstly we can begin by committing to do high quality work – as Integral City Practitioners, Catalysts and Meshworkers. As a Community of Practise, we have defined the practices of each level of practise, so that practitioners can become progressively more skilled in disciplines that are relevant to understanding the city through integral lenses.

Knowledge Areas

We started by mapping  the 12 Intelligences as the focus and outcome of the disciplines for Integral City work.

Our knowledge frames for Practitioners (who work at the scale of individual organizations and leaders) include:  Integral Framework, Spiral Dynamics, Living Systems, Complexity, Integral City, Personal Management, Integral Life Practise and/or Integral Transformative Practise .

Our knowledge frames for Catalysts (who work at the scale of connecting two or more City Voices, organizations or sectors) include:   Leadership Development, Team Development, Art of Hosting, Inquiry, Conflict Resolution, Social Artistry, Polarity Management, Eco-Footprint, The Natural Step, Balanced Scorecard, Values Tools, Appreciative Inquiry and Holacracy

Our knowledge frames for Meshworkers (who work at the scale of the city, aligning, cohering and meshworking around Purpose, People, Priorities and Planet) include:

 Facilitating, Learning Design
 Thinking & Learning Communities
 Calculating Carrying Capacity for: Social, Cultural, Environmental, Economic

To advance high quality Integral City practices at all scales ,we have identified these basic knowledge areas as necessary to commence high quality work. This enables each level of practice to build on what they learn in practice, so that they can co-design experiments (like Learning Lhabitats), solutions to challenges (like Russian City Development Urbanfest initiatives) and publish outcomes (like the qualities of the 4 Voices of the City,  the Integral City 2.0 Online Conference and the Integral City Book).


Read Full Post »

If you want to improve the carrying capacity of a city, then increase its caring capacity.


That was the experience of the city of Leon, Mexico when its Citizens’ Observatory set out to connect many stakeholders from across the city with the intention of learning how “WE” could work better together to improve economic, environmental and social conditions.

In the process of doing so, this Civil Society organization discovered a surprising inspiration right at the heart of the outer and inner heart of the city.

This story strongly underlines the importance of Civil Society in playing an integrator role in the Integral City. Faith-based and spiritual organizations (like churches, synagogues, mosques, temples) have a critical opportunity, at this time, to redefine themselves as this voice of integration for the Integral City. However, secular organizations, like Citizens’ Obervatories are also key players who can align and weave together a collective “heart wave” intelligence from the cacophony of separate voices of the city.

In Leon, the Citizens’ Observatory set out to make a difference that would create commitment and courage to withstand the growing threat of Mexico’s notorious drug cartels, support the shift of the city’s traditional economy (from leather manufacturing to more diversified industry) and give their youth opportunities and hope for future thriving.

The membership of the Citizen’s Observatory included city leaders with strategic business experience, who volunteered their time and expertise. They worked with the universities, student interns and many of Leon’s Civil Society organizations, to build bridges amongst the education, health, business and social services sectors. Through the leadership of Roberto Bonillo, Founder of Novarumm (with his expertise and capacity for Integral Thinking), the Citizens’ Observatory started to undertake research about city values, stages of change, and publish the results to gather momentum for making change.

They learned from global experts like Spiral Dynamics Integral Founder, Dr. Don BeckIceland’s Values Cartographer, Dr. Bjarni Jonsson and Integral City Meshworker, Dr. Marilyn Hamilton (your humble blogger J).

The Citizens’ Observatory sponsored a 2 day discovery exploration of Leon’s potential, inviting me to facilitate the tour through the lenses of Integral City.  We co-designed the main focus of this event to update new data on the city’s values prior to the event and report on it during the full day workshop on the 2nd Day. However, in order “to land” in the city on Day 1, I requested to meet the diverse stakeholders of the Citizen’s Observatory, and then take a tour of the physical city.

With the inspired assistance of local historians, writers, journalists, tourism operators and artists, we boarded a small bus that followed an itinerary around the city. We travelled from the lofty views of the Monterrey Institute of Technology, to working class neighbourhoods with unpaved streets but strong pride, wending our way across unincorporated “housing squats”, and everywhere seeing in operation, Leon’s sophisticated, practical and well-used bicycle lanes (the longest network in Latin America) which allows city residents to have low-cost and accessible mobility.

To finish our tour we ended up by the railway tracks, where indigenous peoples from many traditional territories had set up camp. I didn’t know what to expect. Many “Leonites”  on the tour did not know of the existence of this city “hood”. But what we quickly learned as soon as we got off the bus, was that this was a healthy, thriving village within the city. Peoples with many different indigenous languages had organized themselves to find teachers, build a school for their children, build a church, support each other’s indigenous artisan skills (especially basket weaving) and create colourful, imaginative dwellings from cast-off materials.

The vibrancy of this “shanty town” was contagious. The residents had their own version of Civil Society and organized us into an hour’s talking/learning circle within their tiny open air church. And while we had come to see what we could offer, it was the indigenous people who proudly gifted us with their baskets and weaving.

It was obvious that these people were key players in Leon – but no one knew they were there. Before we left their village they had inspired us to invite them to the next day’s workshop. What happened next could never have been predicted.

More than a dozen of the villagers turned up at the workshop with families and children in tow and baskets for sale. The Citizen’s Observatory assigned translation ‘buddies” to sit at their tables so they could participate in the workshop (being delivered in English and Spanish).

When the workshop small groups came to report out at the end of the day, this vibrant culture proved to be no shy wall flowers – but took the lead in setting goals for improving the future not only for themselves, but for the whole of Leon. They revealed the inner heart of caring in Leon and took it to the outer heart of caring, symbolized by the lion statue over the gate to the city.

So this short story of Leon, exemplifies the power of Civil Society not only to integrate the 4 Voices of the City (1), but to enable caring connections that make a difference. With the kind of initiative and wisdom shown in Leon, Civil Society can amplify the rhythm of the city’s heartbeat through cultural gatherings, caring and compassion.

And this brings us back to the impact that growing caring capacity can have on a city’s carrying capacity. We are rapidly learning through the science of complexity that cities improve the carrying capacity of human settlements (using resources from the eco-footprint more efficiently – measured through dimensions like kilometers of road networks, the level of average income and the number of patents issued).  This almost seems logical if you consider that living systems naturally tend to be energy efficient.

However a more surprising discovery is that cities acquire these efficiencies of “carrying capacity” at the same time as – and as Leon illustrates – because of the scale of social interaction.

Science writer Emily Badger, quoting Santa Fe Institute’s Luis Bettencourt captures this beautifully:

At their most fundamental, cities are not really agglomerations of people; they’re agglomerations of connections between people. All of their other properties … derive from this fact.

This affirms a precept long emphasized by Margaret Wheatley: If you want to improve

the health of a system, connect it to more of itself.

Thus we can see that Civil Society can play a powerful role in the wellbeing of the city. It has the potential to attract, amplify and integrate all 4 Voices of the City into a powerful WE, so collectively they can learn from one another, strengthen bridges between people connections and bring alive the Caring Heartbeat of the City.

Postscript: Since these activities in Leon, the Citizens’ Observatory has met obstacles to its intentions from changes in the political domain and other social sources (as the whole country of Mexico is undergoing economic shifts). But it should be noted, this is not unusual in the course of living systems – to experience a convergence of intention where progress is made, followed a divergence or distraction of energies. However, once the rhythm of Leon’s heartbeat has resonated as strongly as it did, the memory of that heart wave of caring compassion still lives in its system – ready to be tapped when the next wave of convergence can build on this resident level of caring capacity to generate even more vibrant levels of wellbeing. Sometimes it takes an outsider like me/WE to hold the hope long enough for that to happen. That is another role for Civil Society to perform for each other between cities.


(1)     4 Voices of the City: Citizens, Civil Society, Civic Managers, Business

Read Full Post »

An old African tale relates how to take care of the wellbeing of elephants. ((1) As told to me by Dr. Don Beck). It seems a herd of elephants became very sick.


The villagers consulted with the big city veterinarian who came to diagnose the ailment. But he could do nothing. Then the villagers consulted with a global pharmaceutical expert. He came and was also stumped. Next the villagers asked their local shaman to perform traditional rituals. But the health of the elephants only got worse. Finally in desperation, the villagers went to a wise elder. The elder visited the elephants and he looked at their enclosure. Then he toured the elephants’ usual natural territory. And he could see that the grasslands and the trees and the whole environment was withering and dying from lack of care. The wise elder said to the villagers, “There is nothing the matter with your elephants, that taking care of their natural homeland will not cure. Go out and take care of the habitat of these elephants and the elephants will take care of themselves.” The villagers listened and followed his instructions. In no time, the habitat was thriving and the elephants took care of themselves and became well.

The Civic Managers of Ekurhuleni, South Africa set out to create a plan for Ekurhuleni 2055. The City Planner engaged professional planner Shahid Solomon they set out to imagine the future, using lenses informed by Integral City.

The City looked into the future of all the key capitals that would contributed to its wellbeing – economic, social, natural and infrastructural capital. Further impacts from global experts were researched relating to workforce, technology, energy and financing.  Lying at the heart of this strategy were the rights and values of people as expressed in its governance system.

The Global Development Strategy Team brought together geo-spatial-cultural-social overviews of the city from key time periods. This revealed the waves of development that had enabled Ekurhuleni to grow from inception in 1905 to the current day. Then with the research in hand, future projections were made based on the mega-trends from the global habitat and the more local trends from the regional habitat. This gave the Civic Managers some probability scenarios for the future decades of 2020, 2030 and 2050+.

With the future scenarios plotted out, the Civic Managers then took their research to the citizens, civil society and businesses of Ekurhuleni to obtain feedback on the most desirable future outcomes.  This then allowed them to back cast activities that needed to start today in order to achieve the desired future outcomes.

Thus the Civic Managers, working as internal and external teams in Ekurhuleni, set out the conditions for nurturing the health of the habitat of the city. They offered their expert resources to explore and define wellbeing of the city in terms of both internal and external habitat. Now Civic Managers can guide and facilitate the other 3 Voices of the City to work together to create and maintain the health of the city as the habitat that nourishes all of them.


(1)     This story was learned from Dr. Don Beck who has travelled with his Spiral Dynamics integral expertise,  to South Africa 64 times in service to the wellbeing of the country

(2)     4 Voices of the City: Citizens, Civil Society, Civic Managers, Business

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: