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Humans and the cities we have created are permanently locked into a never-ending learning cycle, to create ever more complex adaptations to protect increasingly more complex cities.

Integral Life PlanetCity2

In the Integral City 2.0 Online Conference (2012), five critical threats to human populations in cities were identified: climate, energy, water, food and finance (Hamilton et al., 2013; Hamilton and Sanders, 2013). These threats, are deeply interconnected and must be viewed within a systemic framework that considers all five sets of intelligences in cities – Contextual, Integral (Individual/Collective), Strategic and Evolutionary.

In keeping with my contemplation of the Nattrass article “How ARE we to go on together: Our Evolutionary Crossroads” I want to consider the story we tell ourselves about climate – and how that story may be increasing the dissonance we (as a species) are experiencing as individuals, organizations, cities and the planet.

I propose that the growing magnitude of this dissonance about climate change is exactly what we need in order to make a significant leap in our collective worldviews about climate change.

The Nattrasses bring this dissonance sharply to mind as they reflect on the increasingly anxious questions that have emerged since our early doubts about human relationship to Nature (a form of Collective Intelligence). They ask (as could our mothers too).

  • Is humanity bankrupting nature?
  • Is humanity on a collision course with the natural world?
  • What is our ecological footprint?
  • What are ecosystem services and how do we calculate their value?
  • Are human activities causing climate change?
  • What are the limits to growth on this planet?
  • Is there a population bomb ticking?
  • Can we meet our needs today and leave enough for future generations to meet theirs as well?
  • What does it mean to overshoot ecological capacity?

 

However, the integral perspective on the cycle of human learning (well explored by Clare Graves) observes that why humans learn depends on precisely their encounters/relationships with dissonance. Without experiencing dissonance we essentially are not motivated to change and so we don’t change!

Many believe that the greatest dissonance the globe faces today is climate change. It is impacting all life forms, including ours. The disturbing situation is though, that we cannot definitively say what is causing climate change? But however, we define the causal equation it appears that human behavior is a contributing factor. And commensurately human intelligence is required to mitigate, adapt and if possible prevent it.

Climate is inescapably a prime element of the habitats in which we live – including and probably especially cities. As individuals we co-exist with our habitats from the smallest personal social scales (Map 2) to the largest Kosmic scales (Map 4, Map 5). Within these inner and outer spectra of human groupings (Map 2) and environmental contexts, we co-create and co-evolve with our habitats.

Earlier in this 21st century cities became the habitats of 50%+ of humanity (90% in developed world). Cities are the most complex human system yet created. As social holons they are complex adaptive systems with potential for orders of learning that magnify the intelligence of any one individual, family, group, organization, sector or neighbourhood. The Nattrasses (2015) point out:

Virtually any [person, team and] organization of any substance has its worldview, its system of intelligibility, rooted firmly in the Old Story. Each operates, and succeeds or fails, within the underlying assumptions found in the Old Story. In turn, individual organizations must still operate within a global system that is also massively embedded in the Old Story.  And in order for any organization to be an influential leader of change for sustainability, it must continue to be successful within the existing Old Story system. Public companies, for example, must continue to show growth and profits, and report them to shareholders every three months, all the while trying to revision and recreate the company and its markets from a sustainability perspective. The task we face is like nothing that has ever taken place in industrial society—it is comparable to rebuilding a jet liner while in flight 10,000 meters above ground.  How do leaders help lead this transformation from inside the very systems that need to change, while at the same time avoiding major economic or social disruptions?

Cities are containers of holons, social holons, relationships, exchanges and emergents – at every scale. As a whole I have long considered them to be a massively complex meshwork. But in practice cities are actually meshworks of meshworks. [See the full definition of meshworking intelligence here.]

The operational values of meshworks in living systems is that they enable a continuous stream of natural, living complex structures to emerge – so that the living system can make the most efficient use of energy by capturing the structures (and infrastructures) that have enabled survival and sustainability; for example this is how all the structures that enable cities to function have emerged – from family hearths, to clans, kingdoms, bureaucracies, businesses social networks, communications systems and global alliances (Map 4). At the same time effective meshworks ensure that background activity never stops self-organizing – thus enabling creative adaptation and emergence (e.g. the activities of inventors, artists, researchers, entrepreneurs, developers, etc.).

This “natural” meshworking capacity of human systems has never been successfully suppressed in the long run, by any governance system, technology or habitat – because the nature of earthly life has ensured that dissonance is always with us – challenging our hierarchies and demanding new solutions for life-threatening problems. But as the Nattrasses point out, the assumptions and worldviews in the Old Story of how cities work, have entrenched the blindness to the impact of human influence on climate change (whatever the cause) into the very organs (organizations) of the living city itself.

The bad news is that cities converge all the problems and potentials of humanity into a vortex of toxic threats. The good news is that cities converge all the problems and potentials of humanity into a spiral of dissonances that trigger the emergence of possibilities and intelligences. (In fact I have suggested that Integral Cities that are alive, resilient and optimized operate with a suite of 12 intelligences (in 5 sets).)

The dissonances caused by climate change challenge all five sets of city intelligences:  Contexting/ Integral – Individual and Collective /Strategic/ Evolutionary.

Integral City Compass

Integral City: 12  Intelligences

As we are waking up to the very real threats of climate change to our cities, our 4 city Voices act like clumsy children who are not yet effective managers of their bio/psycho/cultural/social capacities. As cities we are bumbling around – but, because we are noticing that the Old Story of the mechanical city does not answer all the questions that arise, our dissonances are thrown back in our collective face(s). In other words, our city habitats let us know in very real terms when our learning is not sufficient to the task at hand.

As Brian and Mary Nattrass point out, we have come to a place on this planet where we have never been before. As a species who has hardly reached our teenagehood, we long for parents who might give us another story to explain life.

Rio, Kyoto, Seattle, Copenhagen, Paris

But, cities as the most complex human system we have yet created are discovering that we will have to parent ourselves. One by one cities are learning the hard lessons and bit by bit, we are teaching the human systems within our cities the difficult learning lessons of climate change pioneers. By extension these cities on the early-change bandwagon are beginning to share their hard lessons with our planet of cities – as each becomes ready to learn (i.e. when the dissonance meter gets loud enough, such as happened in New Orleans and Sendai).

As the clarion call for climate change awareness has sounded now for more than a quarter century, the early storytellers of this New Story have despaired at what has seemed collective deafness. They expected nations and organizations to take the lead. But now we see that it is perhaps not surprising that cities have taken the lead, and continue to be at the forefront of storytellers of a different way.

Cities as convergences of human capacities have the most to lose by not addressing climate change. They sit at the nexus points of Earth’s greatest tectonic contractions, water flows, air sheds, food production, energy consumption and material production. And they also concentrate the greatest quantity of evolutionary intelligence to focus on the problems at hand.

Many early adopters have agonized over the apparent resistance of organizations to respond effectively (or at all) to climate change. But by definition successful organizations have not only been anchored in the Old Story – they have verified it, sustained it and perpetuated it (as the Nattrasses noted above).

But with the lenses of complexity, living systems and evolutionary wholeness, we realize that cities are a more complex order of human systems than organizations. Cities are effectively organizations of organizations. And that is why a meshwork (discussed above) is the (fractal) explanation of how they become effective at working together.

So now that our cities have woken up and see strategies for climate change, what role can cities play in changing the story of climate change? More precisely what roles can the 4 Voices of the city working together play in transitioning from the Old Story to the New Story?

Citizens can:

  1. Ask the tough questions
  2. Keep wellbeing in mind
  3. Practise the Master Code

Civic Managers can:

  1. Connect all the systems inside the city and between cities
  2. Take Governance initiatives – defy federal/national/global resistances
  3. Amplify governance initiatives (like Obama’s announcements of US/China Climate Change Agreement)
  4. Emerge the new structure(s) by prototyping and experimenting. (Like Curitiba building the city for people not cars).

Civil Society can:

  1. Convene the intelligence/story challengers/researchers for ongoing forums of discovery (Rio, Kyoto, Seattle, Copenhagen, Paris have not been in vein – each convening has moved the story forward).
  2. Create Metrics and Collect the Indicators – ISO Standard for Cities
  3. Mediate smaller the effectiveness and capacity of all scales – both those smaller than cities such as organizations and those larger scales like nations and the planet itself

Developers, Researchers and Business can:

  1. Prototype change
  2. Align organizations of organizations – learn how to meshwork with intention
  3. Keep the meshwork a living, intentional capacity building process.

A final word from Brian and Mary Nattrass:

In the thousands of years of remembered human histories, it has been expressed in many ways in many times among many peoples that we are that being who lives between Heaven and Earth—ever torn between the god-like qualities of our highest selves and the bestial qualities of our animal selves. Never in our history as a species have we been so urgently called to live and be inspired by the qualities of our better natures; and to grow beyond the tug of our weaker selves. This is a challenge for us as individuals just as much as for our organizations and our society—because ultimately, our organizations and our societies are only expressions of us. So we come now to our evolutionary challenge—the very real challenge of our time. It is the story we are still writing together. It is that socially negotiated story that will ultimately answer the question: How are we to go on together?

It is my contention that key cities are at the stage of evolution where the dissonances they are experiencing have awakened them to being proactive on their own behalf and on behalf of the planet of cities. These cities who are early adopters of the New Integral City story are creating the habitats that will enable us all to go on together.

 

References

Graves, C. (2005). The Never Ending Quest: A Treatise on an Emergent Cyclical Conception of Adult Behavioral Systems and Their Development. Santa Barbara, CA: ECLET Publishing.

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

Hamilton, M., & Sanders, B. (2013). Integral City 2.0 Online Conference 2012 Proceedings: A Radically Optimistic Inquiry Into Operating System 2.0 M. Hamilton (Ed.)   Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/120713339/Integral-City-2-0-Online-Conference-2012-A-Radically-Optimistic-Inquiry-into-Operating-System-2-0

Hamilton, M., & etal. (2013). Integral City 2.0 Online Conference 2012 Appendices: A Radically Optimistic Inquiry Into Operating System 2.0 – 36 Interviews M. Hamilton (Ed.)   Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/123005653/Integral-City-2-0-Online-Conference-2012-Appendices-A-Radically-Optimistic-Inquiry-into-Operating-System-2-0-36-Interviews

Nattrass, B., & Nattrass, M. (2015). How ARE We To Go On Together? Our Evolutionary Crossroads. Integral Leadership Review January-February (Canada Issue). Retrieved from http://integralleadershipreview.com/12795-215-go-together-evolutionary-crossroads/

 

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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International \Organization for Standards (ISO) has announced a new standard for quality of life in cities.

In London, UK on November 17-18, 2014, ISO in conjunction the World Council on City Data (WCCD) launches the  the first international standard for sustainable cities, ISO 37120: Sustainable development of communities — Indicators for city services and quality of life.

Working with cities who want a standard created by and for cities, WCCD and ISO 37120 have announced an initial suite of 46 indicators.  These indicators, enable the 4 Voices of the City, to access objective, verified (by auditors) vital signs (aka indicators) to to compare services and performance levels with other cities around the world. Civic managers (generally the policy makers in the city) can now be held accountable by citizens, businesses and civil society organizations by using the ISO 37120 standards as a tool that is  evidence based and annually updated.

ISO lists the benefits of the standard for cities as providing:

• More effective governance and delivery of services
• Local and international benchmarking and planning
• Informed decision making for policy makers and city managers
• Learning across cities
• Recognition by international entities
• Leverage for funding by cities with senior levels of government
• Framework for sustainability planning
• Transparency and open data for investment attractiveness

The WCCD has identified 20 foundation cities who have agreed to adopt ISO 37120 and help build the WCCD, basing its initial set of indicators on 17 Themes.

 

As we have written elsewhere, for an Integral City, key city indicators must be balanced amongst the four quadrants and based on the city as a living, complex adaptive system. While at least one of the key indicators we have been tracking since our Integral City 2.0 Online Conference is missing (Food) – we think this looks like a promising start with proxies for all the quadrants in place. Moreover, the 20 foundation cities are distributed around the world, so that they will seed the growth of the indicators in different geographies and cultures. (Bogotá, Guadalajara, Boston, Toronto, London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Helsinki, Arnman, Dubai, Makkah, Minna, Johannesburg, Haiphong, Shanghai, Makati, Melbourne).

Kudos to the working teams at WCCD and all the cities who have participated!!!

Key information in this blog was gleaned from Meeting of the Minds, webinar on New Urban Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life  http://cityminded.org/cal/new-urban-indicators-city-services-quality-life

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I am Integral City.

Web of Conversations

Web of Conversations

I am a web of constant, connecting, mysteriously transformative conversations,

manifesting the 12 City Intelligences,[i] amongst my 4 voices[ii]

citizens, government, organizations, and businesses.

Some people align towards,

others resist,

co-creating a more beautiful and sustainable world.

Worldviews expand from self, to city, to world, then kosmocentric embrace,

honoring life-giving values,

redesigning ways for all my voices to relate

as they reshape systems

in the ecology of thoughts

as it evolves into greater intelligence and caring.

 

Some of my voices are Meshworkers,[iii]

asking in their connecting conversations:

“What dissolves or bypasses barriers and opens flow for life-giving change?”

They see specific potentials for more intelligence and evolution into a beautiful future.

They connect increasingly with one another and with Peer Spirits in and beyond Integral City

into the Planet of Cities.

They design new systems

through collective intelligence,

building new capacities in all my voices,

unblocking stuck systems,

and co-creating solutions

which embody within me,

Integral City,

Gaia’s desire for resilience.

~~~

This essay is part of a collection of dialogic essays written to celebrate the New Story of the City. We publish them in the week of the first World Cities Day (October 31) having first been inspired by by Kosmos Journal‘s invitation to tell a new story. Our team of Integral City Constellation Voices, Peer Spirits and Essayists includes: Joan Arnott, Alia Aurami, Cherie Beck, Diana Claire Douglas, Marilyn Hamilton, Linda Shore

The Voices in this dialogue are: Spirit of Integral City, Gaia, Integral City, Peer Spirits, Communities of Practice.

Each  voice is introduced by the Stage Directions:

Welcome, Connecting One(s), to this sapient circle. We gather here to constellate Indra’s Net for our Planet of Cities around this question “How does Integral City Connect for Change in Service to a Planet of Cities?” ( first asked by Kosmos Journal).  Welcome to you, Peer Spirits, who long to connect to the City and her Communities of Practice, to Gaia, and to Spirit who energizes us all. Listen …Integral City speaks …

Endnotes:

[i] Integral City 12 Intelligences

[ii] 4 voices of Integral City

[iii] Meshworking Intelligence practiced by the Hague Center’s Anne-Marie Voorhoeve

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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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What happens when business leaders expand their skills in service to thriving that is greater than just the success of one organization? The Integral Community hopes and dreams that leaders will transfer their leadership skills into their organization and impact the success of their employees. In turn the improvement of leadership skills throughout the organization should impact how business departments operate successfully. In turn, both internal and external stakeholders enjoy the benefits of greater effectiveness, more efficiency and authentic caring. And when they work together within a sector and even across sectors, everyone in the city can be set on a road to success and thriving. This grows opportunity in a virtuous circle.

Business Voice Catalyses 4 Voices of  Durant

Business Voice Catalyses 4 Voices of Durant

The five segments of the stakeholder model [employees, customers, partners, communities and stakeholders] are interdependent and equally influential over one another, and as such shape the business ideals of our organization. (Quotation from First United Bank website.)

This is what happens when leaders, organization and employees notice that their city needs to join hands to improve the wellbeing of the whole system using a multi-stakeholder approach they have learned builds success in their organizations have implemented. In Durant Oklahoma, it turns out that two business leaders set out to find a way to apply the integral principles of leadership and organization development to other stakeholders in the city. Greg Massey of First United Bank and Gary Baton of the Choctaw Nation, working together. inquired how could they  make a difference that will make a difference at the scale of the city of Durant?

Following a suggestion from their organizational development consultant and coach, (Stagen) they invited in Integral City Meshworks for a discovery tour of the city. The 2-day tour brought together the 4 Voices of the city (1) into several dialogues that inquired:

  • What works well around here?
  • What is not working so well around here?
  • What do we envision for the future of our city?

By the end of the tour the business leaders had demonstrated that bringing together the 4 Voices of the city coalesces authority, power and influence in service to a cause greater than any one of them could accomplish alone – namely the wellbeing of the whole city. Greg and Gary, as conscious business leaders have started to pay forward the core lessons of their own leadership and organization development, acting as catalysts for collaboration across the sectors, voices and values of the city. Now they are broadening the involvement of other businesses and organizations in the city in order to prepare for a visioning process that will embrace all 4 Voices of Durant.

This is a powerful role for the Voice of Business to initiate and support in any city – aligning the whole city system to co-develop a strategy for future development that involves all 4 Voices in the city.

Endnote:

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

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The story of the Imagine Abbotsford Dialogues was well documented in the three years that this city visioning process unfolded (by the local community paper publishing nine special sections for each of the dialogues).

Imagine Abbotsford Cover story

This story could be told through any of the 4 voices. Civil Society partners sponsored the project (Abbotsford Community Foundation, Community Futures, United Way of the Fraser Valley). Businesses financed gatherings and supplies (Envision Credit Union, Complete Eye Care). Civic Managers offered meeting space (The Reach Art Gallery and Museum; Library). But it was Citizens who offered volunteer time to serve on the core committee, come forward as Thought Leaders, facilitate at Public Meetings and make sure that Policy Makers found the time to attend dialogue circles. It was estimated that volunteers worked a remarkable total of 3000 hours over 3 years – providing a value of approximately $300,000 to $450,000 to what became the City Sustainability Master Plan.

The importance of the role of the Citizen Voice in Imagine Abbotsford became evident from Year 1 to Year 3, when 33,000 households in the city received nine reports written by volunteer researchers, analysts and editors and published by the community newspaper. The vision that gradually emerged through these stories was amplified by the massive feedback loop of the newspaper distribution that constantly invited other citizens to join the dialogues.

In Year 1 we explored the themes of Economy/Environment.

Imagine Abbotsford Economy & Environment

In Year 2 we explored the themes of Culture/Learning.

Imagine Abbotsford Culture & Learning

In Year 3 we explored the Health/Community

Imagine Abbotsford Health & Community

In all years, citizens could participate as Thought Leaders, Public and/or Policy Makers. This insured a wide diversity of perspectives and a constantly widening embrace of participants.

The polish and passion of the storytellers, in the first year, provoked local activists to accuse the volunteer committee of being a new political party! Citizen know-how and compassion were further tested when several activists tried to crash the first Policy Maker Dialogue Circle. To participate in any city-building process, Citizens (whether they be Thought Leaders, Policy Makers or the Public) first need to know that protocols for engagement would mean that it was safe to speak, without threat or attack. Agreement was not necessary, but mutual trust and respect was a pre-requisite of conversing together.

In fact, Imagine Abbotsford volunteer committee set as a secondary objective, the modeling and teaching of Successful Dialogue to as many Abbotsford voices as possible. At every meeting their agendas included the principles and every attendee received a business-size card with the principles to use and share in other gatherings.

Successful Dialogue Circles

Thus, not surprisingly, the volunteers maintained the safety of the circle by re-booking the event and inviting the activists to bring their voices to the next year’s Thought Leader dialogues. In this way the Citizens ensured that different voices were included and conflict became generative and not divisive.

As volunteers, the Citizens were also members of the other Voices of the city – some serving on Civil Society staffs and boards; others as Business employees; and several had links to Civic Manager organizations (like the University, Health Authority, Ministries of Health and Environment). Thus they reported in many directions, on activities both formally and informally, influencing the all four Voices of the city.

After the ninth and last dialogue of Imagine Abbotsford, in Year 3, the volunteer committee’s report summarized a vision that identified a clear picture of strategies that would contribute to healthy Place Making and Place Caring for the next 30 years.  The Imagine Abbotsford core committee then formally brought this message to City Hall – first through three committees, composed largely of Citizen Voices who advised City Hall staff and elected officials:  the Economic Development Committee; Environment/Sustainability Committee; and the Social Services Committee. Only after different Citizen volunteer presenters gained the endorsement of all of these committees, did the Imagine Abbotsford Core Committee formally present to a meeting of City Councilors.

What happened next was at first unsettling: the report was accepted and not much was heard for over a year. Then the city activated a process to develop the Sustainable City Master Plan – and its first step was to accept the 30-year Vision of the city that had emerged from the Imagine Abbotsford process.

The skills, bonds and relationships of the Imagine Abbotsford core team, have since become woven into the fabric of the City’s wellbeing in many ways – from the Welcoming and Inclusive Community Project that changed a headline from “Abbotsford is Murder Capital of Canada” to “Abbotsford Receives Student Character Award”; to defeating an unpopular Water Referendum; to ongoing citizen participation in city wellbeing.

Thus this story of the Citizen Voice is that it can be an effective fulcrum that liberates differences that make a difference (both short term and long term), citizen responsibility and citizen engagement in the wellbeing of their city.

Ultimately the Citizen Voice is necessary to release the power of the Master Code. Because it lies at the heart of being able to take care of ourselves … so that we can take care of others, and together we can take care of our place and our planet.

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As more cities start to experiment with an Integral City paradigm, a collection of case studies is asking to be written. Four cities in four different countries, disclose the power of engaging with the 4 Voices of the City, but each with a different inaugurating voice.

4 Voices 4 Cities 4 Countries

4 Voices 4 Cities 4 Countries

Abbotsford, BC, Canada is the city where I have worked the longest in catalyzing Integral City principles. Why? Because I live here and have had the first and longest provocation to look at this city so close at hand. In fact, by now, I have many stories to tell about Abbotsford. Some of them have already been documented: The Maple Leaf Meme Project; Imagine Abbotsford; Welcoming and Inclusive Communities. In this series, I will re-tell the story of Imagine Abbotsford through the lens of the Voice of the Citizen.

Ekurhuleni, South Africa invited me to work on their futures-focused project to discover a practical vision for the city in 2050, from which they could backcast strategies to realize it from today forward. Their incentive came from the Voice of the City Manager.

Leon, Mexico brought me to their industrial city to support a multi-stakeholder initiative to strengthen their cultural and social fabric. Their energy came from the Voice of Civil Society.

Durant, Oklahoma is working towards a new vision of the future that builds on traditional values and leverages new economic opportunities through tourism. Their intention comes from two organizations who share a strong Voice of Business.

The following blogs will tell these stories and show how any of the 4 Voices can be a fulcrum point for nurturing the qualities of an Integral City.

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