Posts Tagged ‘City Voices’

The biomimicry pattern of the Human Hive (aka city) draws on fractal patterns and systems in play in our global ecology and human species.

Integral City International Faces

Homo sapiens sapiens is supposedly the most advanced species of the vertebrates. We have developed four types of cities in our Human Hive line. Moreover we have also developed four roles that are active in our cities similar to the four roles in the beehive.

The four types of cities I want to consider are Traditional, Smart, Resilient and Integral. Together they form an evolutionary spectrum.

In this blog series, I will only point out the Traditional City, driven by managing the transactional exchanges of the basics of life but will not spend time on it. I am more interested in exploring the potential of the Smart City driven by technology and industry; the Resilient city driven by ecological and eco-regional interdependencies; and the Integral City driven by the flex and flow of cultures, consciousness and care – the very energies of the Master Code.

4 + 1 Roles

Now let’s explore the 4 roles of the Human Hive.

In the Human Hive, I have noticed that the 4 bee roles provide a fractal pattern filled by what I call the 4 Voices of the City.

  • Who are our Forager-Producers?  I think of them as Citizens
  • Who are our Diversity Generators? I think of them Business (Private Sector)
  • Who are our Resource Allocators? I think of them as Civic Managers (Government and Agency Sector)
  • Who are our Integrators? I think of them as Civil Society (our NFP/NGO sector)

These voices/roles in the human hive follow the same fractal patterns of roles that the bees have evolved. And not surprisingly others have noticed similar fractal patterns in organizations and nations. Dr. Ichak Adizes has noticed these patterns in family behaviors and applied these same roles to organizations as: Producers, Entrepreneurs, Administrators and Integrators – his famous PAEI pattern.

Moreover, I take the license of suggesting that the Pope himself has chosen “Integral Ecology” as the title of a key chapter in his encyclical “Laudato Si”, because he recognizes the ecological realities that permeate life at all human scales.

I am curious, as a Reader – while you are doing your work in the city – would you name your role as Resource Allocator or Civic Manager? Diversity Generator or Business/Private Entrepreneur? Forager-Producer or Citizen? Or perhaps Integrator or Civil Society? Or maybe a combination of multiple roles?

As you compare notes with voices/roles in other cities – will you remember to see that at another fractal scale that city’s roles act as the important fifth voice/role of the inter-city competitor?

For Human Hives all five roles in all city types are critical for cities to survive and thrive.

(This blog is one of a series on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart, Resilient City to the Integral City – thinking notes for a keynote speech at IDG’s IT Smart Cities Conference, September 23, 2015, Amersfoort, NL.)

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On April 17-19, 2015, Imagine Durant along with the Integral City team convened a dialogue where community thought leaders met to exchange and brainstorm possibilities for the future of Durant, Oklahoma. Their special focus was on the Economy and Community of Durant.

Imagine Durant Vision Logo

Those present pulled inspiration from their surroundings at the historical Three Valley Museum, located in downtown Durant. Twenty-four Durant thought leaders and community members from a wide variety of organizations, businesses and industries took time from their family and friends to share their stories, hopes, concerns, and visions for the city of Durant, Oklahoma.

The dialogue began with reflections among participants over an evening meal where they each shared stories of their personal connection with the community. Their affection for the small town atmosphere that has grown tremendously over the past 20 years was evident. One told of how he attended college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SE) over 30 years ago and fell in love with the town and the people. “It reminds me of Mayberry”.

Read the full report here.

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At the Integral Theory Conference 2013,  Integral city presented our (award-winning!!) paper and session on City‐Zen‐Tricity:

Learning Lhabitat

Learning Lhabitat

Going beyond merely presenting the paper (see the Abstract below) Integral City Stewards, Marilyn Hamilton and Beth Sanders, with Alia Aurami … facilitated a Learning Lhabitat for participants to learn about the 4 Voices of the City. The following 4 Blogs will share how each voice saw themselves – and how each voice learned about the other voices in the Integral City Quadrants – Cityzen UL); Civic Manager (UR), Civil Society (LL); Business (LR).

After having worked in small groups, the closing circle of 4 City Voices shared that they gained profound insights about the voices that they don’t normally occupy.

Beth Sanders captured the essence of the participant sharings from the Closing Circle with this poem:

Integral City Breath

Overwhelming value
in balance, stepping
in to a sense of city
in community
where the subtle
and not so subtle
colour breathes


with the interior unstuck
voices in dialogue
consciously diverse
explore, appreciatively
the beauty of uniqueness
of an integral city technology
of evolutionary role


Abstract of Paper

Marilyn Hamilton, joined by Beth Sanders,  recorded the story of a global month-long webinar and action research inquiry about a new operating system for the city – a Director’s cut of how a multi-national-gender-generational team unfolded an evolutionary mission using Integral City’s master code: “take care of self, other and place”. We revealed what it takes to operationalize a Kosmocentric vision for a conference: non-local partnership, worldcentric curriculum development and city-centric relationships. Kosmopolitans unveil the collective intelligence that emerged at every stage of the project and that is now emerging local and online Learning habitats. You may order the mp3 recording from the ITC2013 website (and/or access the presentation paper there and in the forthcoming Journal of Integral Theory and Practice – where it will be published.)

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Assumptions in the city arise not only from the four voices of the city – but from the worldviews being expressed in those voices.


Worldviews emerge from the beliefs of what is important around here and how those values are translated by the city’s voices.

In the most basic ego-centric way, assumptions are implicit – how do I access the basics of life (food, shelter, clothing)? how do I fit into my family? how am I earn my living (or not)?

When these needs are met, more complex ethno-centric assumptions build upon them – what language do we use to communicate within our groups or clans (the one from our home country, our special dialect or the one(s) we learn in school)? how does our group or neighbourhood relate to other groups or neighbourhoods (in being entitled to schooling or healthcare) ? how do we practise and express our spiritual and religious assumptions? who are our leaders and who are the authorities we follow?

Smaller cities have traditionally been able to coalesce around shared ethno-centric assumptions.

But as a city grows in size, the multiplicity of ethno-centric assumptions can make the Tower of Babel seem like an apt metaphor for the mixture of voices and clashes of worldviews that vie for air-space and audience.

Large cities that mature create a city-centric worldview that embraces the multiple ethno-centric and ego-centric assumptions into a coherent perspective of how the city can be governed for the greatest benefit of all.  With a city-centric worldview we can make decisions about the infrastructure that supports Citi-Zens’ daily life; the relationships that Civil Society can bridge between ethno-centric groups; the resources needed for thriving Business; and the governance that City Hall, Education and Healthcare institutions require to coordinate city-centric functions.

The most mature cities go beyond even a city-centric set of assumptions and realize that they are part of a Planet of Cities – that their exchange of resources and commerce depends on assumptions about planetary economy; that their exchange of ideas produces assumptions contributing to planetary generativity; that their demands on the environment require assumptions about evolution, sustainability and resilience; and that their cultural embrace of the shared story about their city on the planet, emerges a world-centric set of assumptions that aligns ego-ethno-city-world-centric assumptions and connects cities together as a Planetary System of Cities.

When you consider this holarchy of worldviews – what assumptions do you hold about your city? How do your assumptions impact the way you practise the Master Code for the Human Hive?

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How can we apply Integral City theory or frameworks to my city? This is a question I am often asked.

Integral City Evolutionary Intel

At the What Next Integral Conference, Roger Walsh offered some helpful suggestions for applying Integral Theory in general.  These are also a useful approach to engaging Integral City practices.

1. Step 1 is to offer an Integral Analysis of the situation and/or city. This may involve a completely private analysis that helps you move to each of the next steps. It challenges the analyst to observe with all five senses and to use the four Integral City maps to notice what there is to notice.

2. Step 2 is to use the analysis from Step 1 to identify the assumptions that are in operation. An example of this kind of analysis is to notice what voice(s) your city inquiries are coming from – the City-zen? Civil Society? City Management? Business? What is important to these voices? What worldviews are they expressing?

3.  Step 3 is to provide (integrally informed) information that can help make better sense of the city. You can help identify: What values are important around here? What is working? What is not working? What could work better? And then your challenge is to facilitate the theming and relationships amongst the answers.

4. Step 4 invites you to subtly shift the perspective of the voices. An appreciative question can often enable a re-frame of the view of a situation from me-centric to other-centric. For example, to shift the perspective of environmentalists vs business owners we might want to listen to the stories people share in response to this question: “Tell me about a time when you were positively impacted by a business in your neighbourhood?” When stories are shared, perspectives start to expand as more partial frames are brought in, to complete a wider, more whole picture.

5. Step 5 opens the space, to offer a vision of possibilities. This step occurs when you have earned enough credibility through walking through the other four steps, that you can create the conditions for all the voices of the city to speak to a desired future. A desired future with support from as many stakeholders as possible gains the momentum that arises from shared beliefs.

Following the 5 Steps sounds logical. Seems simple. But each step requires the practise of seeing the world through compassionate lenses that grow ever wider and deeper with each new step taken. And navigating this practise grows and evolves the practitioner’s capacity for implementing Integral City approaches every step of the way.

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Blog Action Day! The Power of WE!

What and how did we discover the Power of WE in the recent Integral City 2.0 Online Conference?

Without the many WE’s in our conference, we could never have emerged the insights to create a new operating system for the Human Hive. But with the power of WE times 3, here is a “peep show” of what is emerging.


We launched a month-long Action Research Inquiry about how the 12 Intelligences of an Integral City could help us develop a new operating system for the city.

Each intelligence had three WE’s as presenters who spoke for the value of a particular intelligence to the city. Thought Leaders explored with us What the intelligence is? Designers framed for us So What is important about incorporating this intelligence into city life? And Practitioners told us Now What can we do to implement this intelligence in service to the wellbeing of the Human Hive?


We used a methodology that was built on the DNA of the Master Code for the Human Hive:

  • Take Care of Self
  • Take Care of Each Other
  • Take Care of This Place


It was critical to hear from as many voices in the city as we could attract. When participants registered we asked them to identify what voice of the city they most identified with:

  1. Citizens
  2. Civil Society
  3. City Government/Institutions
  4. Business


The power of these three WE’s produced an exponential learning blast. This explosion of WE power is still circling the earth like volcanic emissions. You could say the effect has made our sunrises brighter and our sunsets awesomely colourful! This kind of blast casts a radically optimistic outfall of evolutionary patterns across our city grid.

We realize we can no longer use a simple/single MRI scan to understand our beloved Human Hive. To grasp the power of our discoveries, we need an MR-WE scan.

Two beautiful protocols have emerged. One (from George Por) gives us a personal practice to live the Master Code as a set of principles for evolutionary expansion.

The other (from Alia Aurami) unpacks the trajectory of the Master Code across the developmental span of the human system.

Below in Table 1, is just a little sampling of how the power of WE3 intelligences are being released when City Voices intersect with the three DNA strands of our Master Code, on our Integral City Intelligences MR-WE-scan. (You can find out more details by visiting the website www.integralcitycollective.com. Registration is free.).

Discover how the Power of WE3 releases the DNA of our Master Code in communities, capitals and capacities in all the cities on our Planet of Cities. Join us in our ongoing inquiry at the Integral City 2.0 Online Conference.


Table1: Releasing the Power of WE3

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