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Out beyond the smart city, out beyond the resilient city,

Lives the Integral City.

Integral City Thinking

Integral City Thinking

Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue offered a Leadership Tip on Generative Change, by Tam Lundy, that acted as a Guide to appreciating all the articles. Tam’s Tip gave the reader an energy boost as you passed through the Totem Entry Way to help you focus and harvest the significance of each and all the leadership contributions on offer in the issue.

Tam’s ideas on Technical, Adaptive and Generative Change offered particularly cogent recommendations for global cities – whether they be Smart, Resilient or Integral.

Smart Cities tend to use technical solutions to address first order change. As identified by Spiral Dynamics, first order change requires support for maintaining, adjusting or improving the status quo. (Think more data banks, driverless cars, faster Wi-Fi.)

Resilient Cities tend to use adaptive solutions that address mid-order change. As identified by Spiral Dynamics, such change addresses systemic adaptations, mitigations and restorations.  (Think urban food security, reduction of greenhouse gases, daylighting streams.)

Integral Cities seek to generate solutions that meet second-order change. As identified by Spiral Dynamics, these changes address a greater order of magnitude of problems than has ever been encountered before. (The military have dubbed these kinds of circumstances as VUCAvolatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). Approaches to “VUCA-stances” demand that city leaders open up new mindsets, redefine city paradigms, and emerge new potentials for living systems not yet dreamed or tried. (Think cities as Gaia’s Reflective Organs, city as human hive, Planet of Cities as collective intelligence network.)

Integral City leaders use both Smart and Resilient solutions – in their appropriate contexts. In fact Generative Change approaches enable Integral City thinking to emerge – because they include and build on both Smart and Resilient Solutions – and step into a zone where they can act effectively to align first order technical problems with Smart City solutions and mid-order adaptive problems with Resilient City Solutions.

But Integral City leaders go beyond merely aligning technical and adaptive solutions and seek to discover for their cities how to align the very source of City Wellbeing, with City Purpose, Collective Vision and Strategies for thriving.

Leaders who follow Lundy’s Generative Change Tip, venture out beyond the smart city, out beyond the resilient city, into the Integral City. They create a Field … we can meet them there.

References:

Beck, D., & Cowan, C. (1996). Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.

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

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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It’s all a question of story.

That is how Brian and May Nattrass start their exploration of where we stand on the path of waking up to our new global realities and responsibilities.

The stories we tell ourselves are always rooted in time. They explain the past. They comment on the present. They speculate about the future.

When the stories about the city across those three timelines are aligned, we have some sense of stability in our lives – psychologically, biologically, culturally and socially. Because together those stories govern our emotional ups and downs, locate us in a life purpose that gives our daily activity meaning, weave together knowledge from different domains, underpin how we educate the next generation and even sustain us when life is difficult. Those stories about the city mean we awake in the morning and know where we are, what we are going to do, who we will be with, and assure us that we can answer our children’s questions about their homework.

But what happens when the stories keep shifting and the alignment breaks up? What happens when we carry a picture of the future from stories of the past and we arrive at that magical date and find that what was predicted has come true but with consequences we never imagined and never intended?

In the next few blogs I am going use the inspiration of the Nattrass’ inquiry into our Evolutionary Crossroads (published in the Integral Leadership Review), to look at three stories that impact our cities differently than we imagined when they were first told. I have selected city-related stories about Women, Transportation, Climate Change – as they represent stories we tell about ourselves at three different scales – but with interconnected impact: Personal, Organizational and Global.

This week (March 8, 2015) we celebrated International Women’s Day. That is a new story that recognizes the importance of women around the world – at every scale from self to family, to neighbourhood, to workplace, city, country and globe. Newscasts celebrated the anniversaries of the formation of many women’s organizations in cities in the developed world and featured the voices of women in cities in India, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America speaking out as individuals calling their sisters to action.

Behind these stories of today lies a history/herstory (in cities of the developed world) of women’s emancipation to vote; empowerment to speak and act as men’s equals; participation in the work place; and control over reproduction. Paralleling and enabling these culturally transforming changes, systemic changes to the technology and tools of daily life have allowed women to amplify their physical strength, reduce the time they spend doing housework, enter the work force and optimize their family activities.

The pictures that General Electric featured in their 1950’s ads for household appliances created the modern myth of the benefits of technology for women, promising greater freedom, more leisure time and more happiness. But, while we can now measure those intended outcomes with some satisfaction, we also reflect with equal horror that the gains in strength, effectiveness and influence have not regularly resulted in greater freedom, more leisure time and more happiness for women – or their families. Instead we have unintended consequences where all those gains have resulted in many women compressing more and more work into more and more time-starved lives, attempting to care for both younger and older generations in the family (because technology has also enabled life extension), volunteering for a myriad of socially valuable causes and becoming stressed to the point of illness.

What is wrong with this picture? What is the matter with this story? What is the meaning of this story? What impact could a deeper understanding of this story have on the health and wellbeing of our cities?

This picture describes the dilemma of the modern woman stretched on the rack of the traditional city of family stability, the modern city of organizational work and the post-modern city of social interaction. Such a stretch is unsustainable because while technology has provided so many more options for women, it has created an unsustainable existence where the expectations for women are not matched by the resources to support them in changing roles (that ripple out across the city). As the shift in women’s relationship to the rest of society marked one of the earliest cultural shifts of modernity, revised stories to explain this shift have gradually emerged. But no consistent story supports women’s new roles. They are caught in the transition between the Old Story and the New Story – still in the stage that the Nattrasses call the “Critical Phase” where most women know life as very stressful because they experience it as unsustainable. They are caught in the abyss between the stories about the “Critical Phase” and “Transformational Phase” – where the story of unsustainability is dominant, but no clear picture of the story about a sustainable life has emerged.

Something about this dilemma reminds me of my mother – who as an educated home economist, was an early adopter of the views of environmental sustainability awakened by Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”. In the 1960’s she retold this story to the teenager who was me. That story has germinated within me for decades – until I have awakened to the larger story of sustainability and resilience, I have discovered, thinking about the new story that the city needed to tell when it had passed the metric as the habitat for more than 50% of humanity. Now I realize the power of the stories my mother chose to tell had an impact on me as the next generation – and I see that the stories all mothers tell shape the expectations of the next generations.

In the last 2 years I have worked closely with a group of women who have collectively inquired into how humans (especially in cities) are Gaia’s Reflective Organs. We have been curious about why we have only attracted women? But perhaps our job has really been “women’s work” – to learn a new story, to answer our children’s homework, to share with our co-workers in other spheres of influence and to change how we create sustainable home economies?

On reflecting on women’s roles in cities, I am struck by the impact that they have on storytelling. And also by the track record of early women innovators who told new stories that are changing the world and the stories we tell about our cities – from Rachel Carson on environmental impacts, to Donella Meadows on systems thinking, to Joanna Macy on the “Great Turning” of worldviews.

With these inspiring new stories from women – from mother, communities of practice, innovators – perhaps we are glimpsing one of the ways that the Dalai Lama imagines that western women will change the world?

Women have a critical role as storytellers to bridge the Old Story through telling new stories that criticize, evolve, shift and transform into a New Story that once again can align past, present and future. And women have more power than ever to make that difference because not only do we (still) live longer than men, we have become ubiquitous in homes, work places and the world’s civil societies.

In today’s, cities, more than ever, “People need stories, more than food to stay alive.” (Lopez & Pearson, 1990). But they also need women as storytellers to share their personal experiences of unsustainability and give meaning to how we must all wake up to the reality of unsustainability in our cities that impacts daily life. The Nattrasses remind us that in order for us to change this story and move forward into living a reality that sustains our cities we must start with where we are. So when women tell their stories to the next generation, they are creating the transitional bridges that some day will tell  how we grew up into our new responsibilities as citizens and cities who became Gaia’s reflective organs. When we tell those stories will truly enable Gaia’s sustainable health and wellness. That is one way, women will help transform the Old Story into the New Story.

References:

Lopez, B., & Pearson, T. C. (1990). Crow and Weasel. Berkeley, CA: North Point Press.

Macy, J. (2005). World as Lover, World as Self. Berkeley: Parallax Press

Meadows, D. (2008). Thinking in Systems. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

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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Je Suis Charlie may be the most potent vaccine for an Ebola of the Human Soul that has been eating away the flesh of the human psyche since the first acts of terror were shouted in the name of Allahu Akbar.

God is Great. God is Good. But the God in all of US needs to be Better than Good. The God in Us needs to expand our whole understanding of the Master Code – to take care of ourselves, so we can take care of each other, so we can take care of this place/planet.

Je Suis Charlie is a clarion call for God to expand with compassion. But the God in Us needs to move beyond the Idiot Compassion that nurses the psychological Ebola that has been diminishing and disappearing the birthright fundamental to all the charters of human rights that we hold dear – namely freedom of speech.

Paris’s pain is a tipping point that is not reverberating just through France but across the Planet of Cities.

It feels as though the outrage at the murders of the Charlie Hebdo journalists and the police that came to defend them, has touched a deep nerve of outrage in the human psyche. Sparked not only by the public murders of real living particular people, but by the threat that a fundamental right of the human species has not merely been desecrated or denied but is verging on being wiped out.  Some basic quality of our shared human systems (particularly of the Human Hive) feels invaded, injured and infected.

The most poignant news clip I heard yesterday (on January 7, 2015 the day of the incident) was a Parisian Muslim man mourning the hijacking of his religion – which he stated was one of love and acceptance – for the purposes of murder.

When the taking of life becomes the driving force behind a group of people, and the skills of guerilla warfare are practised in the streets of the City of Love, something deep in the human soul rises up to name and claim the right to freedom of speech that was proclaimed centuries ago on the bastions of revolution – with one word – liberté!

While the destruction of the New York World Trade Centre declared economic war on Gaia’s Reflective Organ – and destroyed more people and more built value than Paris 2015; while the hijacking of women and children by ISIL and Boko Haram has declared bodily war on future generators and progenerators of the Human Hive; the effrontery of the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris declares war on consciousness and culture that is not merely Parisian or French, but fundamental to the evolution of the human species. Such a war is an Ebola of consciousness and culture that threatens to erase stages and structures that the wellness and the future of human systems depend on.

VUCA – violence, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – all characterize the Charlie Hebdo tipping point. And ironically to all those who can view Charlies with horror, they know somehow the most powerful forces that can address these plagues rest in the free flow of all forms of expression.

Free speech is not only an individual human right but a collective human necessity to advance awareness, intelligence, innovation, and discovery. Moreover it is central to dealing with our shadows. Free speech mirrors free thought and the reflective capacity that is the unique quality of Gaia’s Reflective Organ. It is what opens and enables the flex and flow of information across all human systems.

Paris’ Charlie Hebdo incident is a flashpoint warning to all the Cities of the Planet that an evolutionary intelligence may be in peril. Are we witnessing an Ebola of the Soul that starts by destroying the offices of a cultural commentator (using spoken/written word, humour, satire) but threatens the free expression of consciousness and culture across the world?

Or can we walk into the centre of this soul-eating war, and use it as a fulcrum to transcend and include freedom of speech to another level? Fighting Ebola of the body requires multiple and complex strategies to care for individuals, communities and countries (if not the planet). Care givers use the armour of hermetically sealed medical suits to rescue and treat the ill. Then they have used the strategies of Tough Love to separate the carriers of the disease from the rest of the community. And where necessary they separate afflicted communities from other communities by preventing mobility between them. Recently trials show one of the most effective treatments is blood transfusions from survivors to the infected. And with the art and science of innovation now vaccines are being developed to give healthy people preventative protection from the disease.

Learning from the experience of living systems, perhaps fighting Ebola of the psyche requires empowered protectors to take similar steps to expunge the hive from invaders against free speech? But it may also require separation of communities and the willingness of survivors to develop ways to inoculate others against contagion.

The greatest burden with this approach lies in the believers of the religion (Islam) that has spawned this Ebola of the Soul to stand against those who deny the value necessary for human life to progress on this planet.

As a species, perhaps we finally stand at the developmental stage that recognizes that some forms of expression are toxic at certain stages of individual and collective development and/or under VUCA contaminated life conditions? How can we learn to manage the scourge between cultures when we are not yet managing well the scourge within cultures? Are we finally ready for the Human Hive to catapult the defense of the right to free speech into opening an offence on the responsibility of free speech?

Who said living the Master Code would not require that we transcend and include the God in Us?

How do we now best call forth the God in Us to take care of ourselves, take care of each other and take care of this place/planet?

 

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Cities are the most complex, diverse, and novel human construction. I love them.

Gaia Whispers

Gaia Whispers

 

At the most basic level, cities are made of zillions of tiny connections:

the interactions of people conducting their lives in them.

It makes me feel so alive!

Exhilarating!

In Humanity’s New Story, city-zens live better when they connect for change on behalf of the city itself.

Integral Cities will have the greatest contribution to the Great Turning[i] when they connect to each other,

generating health and wellness for nations, eco-regions, and for me.

 

Cities are where everything connects to everything else,

poli-laterally.

Look all around, then ask:

Who is able, ready and willing

to connect to whom,

living where,

to change from what to what,

in order to generate value

flowing to which stakeholders,

located where?[ii]

Listen carefully; I’ll be whispering the answers.

~~~

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 …Gaia speaks …

 

Endnotes

[i] Great Turning by Joanna Macy

[ii] Adaptation of Change Equation developed by Dr. Don Beck, co-author, Spiral Dynamics

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What paradigms might best guide humanity’s Communities of Practice around connecting global and local conversations about change?

Indra's Web

Indra’s Web

Why do we connect? We value connecting and intend to connect.

Whom do we connect with? Knowing our values, and understanding our purpose and our world, illuminate relevance.

How do we connect well? We constantly evolve practices for connecting productively, so similarities and differences are used for synergy, not antagonism. We walk our talk. We empty. Only then can we listen and receive from others, yet we bring the fullness of our knowledge and experience, allowing connecting to re-form us.

How does connecting happen? We trust the Flow of planetary transformation, via our intuition and synchronicities, to foster best connections.

How do we strengthen our connecting? Beyond brushing-elbows connecting, beyond transacting/exchanging, beyond cooperation, or collaboration, beyond even synergy, is I-Thou connecting. All serve planetary change. Beyond even that, in creativity and power for enacting change, is an Emergent High-Consciousness Collective Intelligence Field,[i] a Whole, an ecology of conversations about changes within our Human Hive, reflecting on Gaia’s Self.   The mystery of our Invisible Field of Integral Cities constellates us as global connections in Indra’s Net.

~~~

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 … Communities of Practice speaks …

 

Endnote:

[i]  https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-bjccwO4tuIcEkySWRaUlVBSE0/edit

 

Links to Peer Spirits and Communities of Practice

  1. http://integralcity.com
  2. Master Code described in Chapter 12 of Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences of Human Hive draws on code of conduct used by a New Zealand school principal learned during Berkana Community of Conversations.
  3. Great Turning by Joanna Macy
  4. Adaptation of Change Equation developed by Dr. Don Beck, co-author, Spiral Dynamics
  5. Integral City 12 Intelligences
  6. 4 voices of Integral City
  7. Meshworking Intelligence practiced by the Hague Center’s Anne-Marie Voorhoeve
  8. Integral City Map 1, Map 2, Map 3, Map 4, Map 5
  9.  Roger Walsh
  10. Integral Coaching Canada
  11. Stagen
  12. Integral Facilitators™, 10 Directions
  13. http://www.reinventingorganizations.com/
  14. Integral Sustainable Designer, Mark DeKay
  15. Greg Massey and Gary Batton, Durant
  16. http://www.patterndynamics.net/
  17. Strathcona Mature Neighbourhood Strategy facilitated by Beth Sanders and Dnyanesh Deshpande 
  18. Systemic Constellation Work & Knowing Cities
  19. http://www.thomashuebl.com/en/
  20. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-bjccwO4tuIcEkySWRaUlVBSE0/edit
  21. Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences of Human Hive, p.267

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Principles for a Planet of Cities underlie the Intelligences that enable the generation of Capitals for the Human Hive.

Principles for Planet of Cities

Principles for Planet of Cities

I have written extensively about the Intelligences that are needed to consciously and conscientiously evolve any given city.  Much of the literature on sustainability has addressed the Capitals of the Human Hive. The first three of these emerged from the Brundtland Commission, who identified core Capitals as: Economic, Environment and Social. To these have been added: Cultural, Natural (plus others).

Having defined a Principle, the next question I ask myself is: What are the qualities of Principles that could govern a Planet of Cities? As a core set of principal qualities I suggest we consider these:

Natural – the Principles must be derived from how Nature operates. This would embrace the sum total of our Cosmo-Bio-Anthropo-centric heritage (A-B-C).

Planetary Contexting – the Principles must take into consideration human life in relation to all life on the planet and the context of each city to all cities.

Fractal – the Principles would apply at multiple scales of human systems.  Principles for a Planet of Cities should be applicable at planetary, city, collective and individual human scales.

Living Systems – the Principles would enable the flourishing of human systems so they can survive, connect with their environment and reproduce. Such systems are by definition complex adaptive systems.

Sustainability Principles are the sub-set of Principles that enable Living Principles to operate. They create the conditions for stabilizing structures and capitals to emerge(as noted above).

Resilience Principles are the sub-set of Principles that enable Living Principles to be flexible enough to respond and adapt to changing life conditions (in any and all of the A-B-C spheres) so that a Planet of Cities can continue to evolve. Resilience Principles operate at a deep genetic and memetic level.

Integrating – the Principle of Integration means that the Planet of Cities would be able to integrate the life demands of individuals, collectives, at all scales, evolutionary levels, internal realities (consciousness and culture) and external realities (biological and systemic) in developmental embrace.

Evolutionary – the Principles are based on evolutionary conditions that are evidenced in all of the A-B-C spheres as a continuous unfolding of universal Life through information, energy and matter.

Spiritual – the Principles must embrace the Planet of Cities not only in the A-B-C spheres, but also in the realm of consciousness as a subtle or spiritual energy that underlies all other Principles. This Principle is the core of what enables the planet as Gaia to develop its “Reflective Organ” through the Human Hive.  The Spiritual Principle has a representation in all cultures in all cities, but the most fundamental expression is what we call the Master Code: Take care of yourself, take care of each other, take care of this place, take care of this planet.

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