Posts Tagged ‘integral city maps’

Lessons from history abound to warn us that the shift involved in moving from one worldview, or system of intelligibility, to another, is unlikely to be smooth or easy.  (Brian and Mary Nattrass, Integral Leadership Review – January- February 2015)

Today in thinking about our Evolutionary Crossroads in the city I want to consider the function of transportation within the human hive. Our old paradigm for transportation is a mechanical one. Our great modern transportation systems grew out of the Industrial Revolution – which produced the great age of steam; the combustion engine; the pumping, refining and distribution of fossil fuels; the industrial car factory; and the globalized transportation of goods. Even our standardized system of time keeping and time zones grew out of the need for mechanical alignment across transportation systems and efficiency in moving goods from one geography to another across land, sea and air. Our language of functional transportation systems rings with the metaphors of machines, engines, rails, cogs, wheels, pistons, and speed.

On a more negative note, as cities have multiplied and populations increased, our language now also reflects the realities of transportation systems that have become toxic to the very urban systems they were designed to serve: pollution, gridlock, traffic fatalities, CO2 emissions, performance failures, unsafe at any speed, infrastructure deterioration. It is a language pocked by indicators of rigidity and corrosion.

So ubiquitous is the old story of transportation’s mechanical prowess, we hardly notice the irrationality of the solutions that have been attempted in order to reclaim former standards or redress mechanical failures. Widening highways (which Jane Jacobs predicted long ago would only exacerbate the very problems they were intended to solve). Safety belts and airbags for surviving accidents (thanks to the post-modern activism of Ralph Nader). Requiring restricted driving on alternate days (to reduce pollution in Mexico City – which increased the numbers of cars on the road). Creating high rise roof top heliports to transport business executives from one part of the gridlocked city to another (as in Sao Paulo).

But every one of these mitigating strategies bespeaks a criticism of the Old Story of the mechanical transportation city in the system. And as such, we must be grateful that this stage of evolution – to protect and defend the Old Story – emerged with vigour and even political power. Every well intended solution (with its cascade of unintended consequences) marks the road to a New Story that hasn’t yet emerged but whose seeds of potential are being sown.

When I first published Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive it told such a new story about the city as an integrated, complex living, evolutionary human system, that the story seemed foreign to most modern ears (and alien to traditional ears). The story was built on new Integral Maps of the City revealing its inner relationships as well as its outer ecologies; a Meshwork of Intelligences that were both individual and collective, enabling the emergence of new structures and infrastructures; and a reframe of the most complex adaptive human system yet created, as the Human Hive. The Map, The Mesh and the Human Hive was such a new story that even today with post-modern stories about Smart Cities, Resilient Cities and Ecocities, it is still an Integral vision that the world is only slowly waking up to.

Integral City :Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive

Integral City :Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive

But, with every passing year, we endure the failure of the mechanical metaphors and realities embedded in the design of the modern city, where mechanical failure is giving us serious pause that the Old Story does not serve us well in cities. Thanks to leaders like Jaime Lerner (architect and former mayor) of Curitiba, Brazil, we have heard a re-frame of the relationship between cities and transportation. Lerner proposed that he would build the city for people and not cars.

That simple shift in intention opened a crack in the old paradigm for transportation in the city. It challenged the priority and the purpose of transportation – and even cities themselves. The act of putting people first allowed us to rethink the interconnection of all things that cities – and their transportation systems enable.

This act of turning a core assumption about how cities work on its ear, reveals the role that organizational leaders can play as the Old Story shifts into a phase that is justifiably critical of the Old Story. The Nattrasses suggest that transportation (and other organizational) leaders can take specific actions during this Critical Stage that will help transform the Story.  They say Leaders in this core Critical Phase can:

  • Courageously enter and stand in territory that is uncertain and unpredictable and no matter how disorienting;
  • Conscientiously and boldly examine the fault lines that challenge even one’s own basic assumptions and beliefs;
  • Create and facilitate sense-making conversations with others in the industry and the city to discern which elements of the narrative about unsustainable mechanical/transportation systems are relevant and what they mean to the human systems in which the leader acts;
  • Co-create the terms and forms that will help others understand the meaning and irrelevance of the old story and communicate those through compelling narrative accounts.

If Lerner’s new story marks a shift from Old Story to New Story for Transportation, it has also been quickened by scientific innovation that has opened up the transportation field to new energy sources (solar, wind, water); new energy delivery systems (e.g. Bombardier wireless recharging grids); new modes of cradle-to-cradle manufacture; new methods of financing and ownership ( Uber app); new interlocking multi-modal systems (e.g. NL bike/tram/train).

Last week, I heard an even more definitive indicator that the Critical Stage of the city transportation story was shifting into the Transformation Stage, when Jeffrey Tumlin spoke of “transportation as health”. A global expert in sustainable transportation planning, he was sharing this life-giving insight in my own small city of Abbotsford. When the new story is actually invited into and entertained in small cities as well as large, that seems another strong indicator that the story is changing. Tumlin’s radical approach to measuring transportation success through population health statistics, almost made me stand up and yell “bravo”!!!

He went on to cite another statistic that affirmed an observation I had been noticing in city life; namely, that driving rates continue to decline for the first time in history. It appears that – since 2005 Millennials and Boomers have reduced their purchase of cars. These populations are either choosing never to own a car or to give up their cars – in favour of the most healthy transportation option – walking – or for public transportation.

When I first imagined the Integral City as a Human Hive, my view of transportation was embedded in the story of a living system. Now I hear the language that supports that metaphor – namely that transportation is about metabolism – the flow of resources that energize and give life to all human systems in the city.

I am encouraged not only by Tumlin’s characterization of “transportation as health” but by the Nattrass recommendations about what leaders and organizations can do to make that final shift of the Old Story of unsustainable mechanical transportation into the New Story of healthy metabolic resource flow. The Nattrasses say:

“Ultimately there is nothing mysterious about how to get into action using new assumptions and concepts.  This ability is a hallmark of our species and part of our adaptive toolbox.  We have found that most organizations choose similar areas to enact [the new story of] sustainability.  These are generally activities related to:

  1. How they use resources and materials,
  2. How they produce, or cause to be produced, waste and emissions,
  3. How they design, develop and specify product,
  4. How they manufacture or source product,
  5. How they treat people or require that sub-contractors treat people,
  6. How they distribute, transport, and deliver products, and
  7. How they give back to communities and to global society.”

It seems obvious that as transportation has been both the instigator of massive change in the city since the industrial revolution, which introduced the benefits of mechanical infrastructures, it will also be instrumental in enabling new metabolisms that nourish energy for cities that are built for people and not cars.

I am just grateful that Brian and Mary Nattrass have charted the natural change from Old Story to New Story through phases that first criticize the Old Story, then Transform the Old Story into a New Story. Through these continuous and progressive retellings, leaders create the audience for a whole New Story and the citizens for a whole new city. Leaders in transportation are now starting to help one another through the “mindfields” of psychological and emotional pushbacks that naturally arise and are involving their industry peers in creating a new narrative for new times.

For the Integral City the Evolutionary Transportation Crossroads lies at the juncture of the Map, the Mesh and the Human Hive.


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

Jacobs, J. (1992). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage Books.

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.

Read Full Post »

Regenerativity in the Human Hive is a quality shared by everyone – not just a special “Creative Class”. The first day of Spring (in the northern hemisphere) or Fall (in the southern hemisphere) can especially remind us of how the power of creativity is regenerative for all the roles in the human hive.


It is interesting that the critique of the “Creative Class” has prompted it’s author Richard Florida to admit that focusing on a cluster of artistic, technologically, educated elite in cities has not led to whole city regeneration. His analysis now shows that this strategy seems to benefit only the elites themselves in terms of wages and quality of life. (Read Florida’s analysis here.) Florida notes that this condition is ” not just a vicious cycle but an unsustainable one — economically, politically, and morally.”

If we were going to seek some lessons on Regenerativity from the natural systems, suggested by Pattern Dynamics(tm) we might consider how the Pattern of Creativity, intersects with all the other Primary Patterns. This path seems to lead to the qualities of Regenerativity that emerge in both the Growing Season of Spring and the Harvesting Season of Fall. Let’s consider how these qualities of Regenerativity show up in the Integral City Maps.

Pattern Dynamics (tm) Creativity

The Autopoeisis Pattern “makes itself” from combining Source with Creativity. Building on Transformity and Power, Self-making that is adaptive drives the emergence of the nested holarchy of city systems in Map 2, the emergent capacities in Map 3 and the increased complexity of organizations in Map 4. This pattern recognizes how the city as a human system is constantly making and re-making itself through the grand cycles of Spiritual Sourcing and Re-Sourcing in Map 5.

The intersection of Creativity and Dynamics gives us Spontaneity. Spontaneity occurs “in the moment” as a creative impulse. It arises in more complex form than the more simple pattern of Synchronization in the Rhythm Pattern (discussed below). But often because Synchronization has occurred, the conditions for Spontaneity arise. Spontaneity arises from the trust to openness and exudes freedom and flow with the zest of excitement. It transcends the Past,  springboards from the Present and propels the system into the Future. In the city because there are so many opportunities for Synchronization and Emergence Patterns, the potential for Spontaneity is ever-present. For many people coming from more traditional structures (as mapped in Map 4) the Spontaneity of the city, is (almost) like an addicting state of creative arousal.

The intersection of Creativity with Creativity (a double reinforcing loop) gives us Emergence. Emergence in Map 2 suggests that the interaction and interconnections amongst the different wholes (or holons) of the city will cause emergence – i.e., the creation of something new that has not existed before. (This is also powerfully conveyed in Map 3.) Emerence is a quality of complex-adaptive, self-organizing living systems – which is exactly what a city is – and why it can be so regenerative.

The intersection of Creativity with Exchange gives us Uniqueness. Uniqueness in Map 3 implies that the collective human systems of team, organization, community and city are inevitably unique because no two people express their competencies, capacities or talents in the same way as any other. Thus both the combination of structures, and the emergence of self-organizing creativity can produce uniqueness that offers selling propositions and values exchanges that can only be discovered through trade and exchange.

The intersection of Creativity with Structure gives us Complexity.  Map 4 shows a step-by-step emergence of Complexity as each organizational pattern integrates more complex goals, roles and capacities into its structures. With each new layer of complexity the organization (and eventually the city) can impact greater spans of space, time and moral influence. 

The intersection of Creativity with Polarity gives us Order/Chaos.  Map 1 appears very ordered and one has to assume that chaos is ever-present as an invisible quality of this map (and be comforted by the discovery in complexity theory, that we “get order for free” as systems do self-organize). We explored this quality when we looked at Map 3, but for the purposes of considering its impact on regenerativity, we can see the alternating cycles of order and chaos are built into the city as an ecology of living systems.

The intersection of Creativity with Rhythm gives us Synchronization. Synchronization: As the magic of synchronization arises, in the city, this enables human systems at all scales to start to notice the metabolic patterns that link them and bring about fortuitous and regenerative synchronicities and exchanges. Strangers discover common ancestors. Co-workers discover they live on the same street. Politicians with apparently opposing views discover common ground. Synchronization is implicit in all the maps of the city – as it contributes to the emergence of meta-patterns that set up new levels of coordination.

These qualities are all embedded in our understanding of Regenerativity in the city. They enable the conditions for new growth to emerge in Spring. And they are equally responsible for the harvest that we can gather in Fall. Certainly they belong to everyone and are not restricted to an elite group in the city.

I have continuously rediscovered this fact, when I meet my audiences and ask them to “tell me about a time when you created something new by combining two ingredients (people, ideas, organizations, etc.)”.  When the audience shares their stories with each other an explosion of self-discovery occurs and a release of creative energy that regenerates spirits, inspires action, intitiates new relationships and develops new systems. It is the nature of cities to be Regenerative and it is a quality that is sharable by all classes – not to mention being sustainable, economically, politically and morally.

Read Full Post »

The Key to decoding  the Integral City Maps is the Master Code:

  • Take Care of Yourself
  • Take Care of Each Other
  • Take Care of this Place
  • Take Care of this Planet

Evolutionary Intelligences

This Key is symbolized with the Integral City Compass which decodes the 12 Intelligences we need to explore Integral City Maps with ever-increasing circles of care.

Each of the five Maps for the Integral City, gives the Map Reader a different territory to explore. Because all the territories are interconnected, the Maps shape-shift from one form to another, leading the Reader through a labyrinth of city patterns, that taken together with the Master Code Compass, cohere into a whole.

City explorers who have taken journeys with the Principles of Living Systems and/or the language of PatternDynamics(TM) start to notice that Integral City Maps and Intelligences belong to this cluster of systems that decode patterns of life.

In the last six blogs, we have explored the language of PatternDynamics(PD) in order to translate its symbols into the language of Integral City Maps. In many ways we could say PD provides six archways (marked by a PD symbol) to the different territories of the city.

In this last blog (of this PD series) we enter the archway to the heart of the city – it’s Source.  Here we recognize the territory of City Spirit which we explored in Map 5.

The Source Pattern is foundational to all the other patterns, emerging from evolutionary consciousness: order, identity and purpose.

PatternDynamics Patterns

Like the other PD patterns, the Source Pattern has seven qualities, but as a meta-meta-pattern each of these qualities derives from a marriage of Source with the other 6 PD meta-patterns plus Source itself.

Energy: The Energy Pattern emerges from the conjunction of Source with Rhythm. The Energy Pattern is foundational to the city’s many ways of moving, expressing and evolving. It is evident in the exchanges of Map 3 and the involutionary, evolutionary cycle of Map 5. Energy appears as first cause for the Evolutionary, Integral and Living Intelligences and Emergent result in the experience of Love.

Resource: The Resource pattern is the child of Source and Polarity. In Map 5 Resource is the centre of the city’s Grace, Place and Space and the emergent quality of core values, Beauty, Goodness and Truth. The Resource Pattern reminds us that the city as Gaia’s Reflective Organ adds value to our planet’s evolutionary journey.

Transformity: The Transformity emerges naturally when Source inspires Structure. It is clearly the pattern of Map 4’s spiral of complex organizational structures.  Transfomity is a source of hope, reminding us that evolution has been experimenting with 14 billion years of complex transformations, to which human systems, including the city, belong.

Power: The Power Pattern, emanating from the collision of Source and Exchange, represents  the Big Bang on Earth. As such it lies in the centre of Map 1 and drives the “prime directive” behind all the cycles in all the other Maps. While Energy is multi-directional, Power is multi-cyclical with a central purpose or centered focus (like the beehive’s 40 pounds of honey). The Power Pattern of the Integral City will eventually produce the city’s purpose. And when 10% of Gaia’s cities discover and start to live into their purpose, we will have a Planet of Cities in service to all life on Earth.

Autopoeisis: The Autopoeisis Pattern “makes itself” from combining Source with Creativity. Building on Transformity and Power, Self-making that is adaptive drives the emergence of the nested holarchy of city systems in Map 2, the emergent capacities in Map 3 and the increased complexity of organizations in Map 4. This pattern recognizes how the city as a human system is constantly making and re-making itself through the grand cycles of Spiritual Sourcing and Re-Sourcing in Map 5.

Pattern: The Pattern Pattern is Source’s grand Dynamic Dance with itself on the Universe’s dance floor.  We notice the choreography of patterns in each of Integral City’s Maps. Tracing the Patterns reinforces our appreciation of the miracle that “we get order for free” (1). The PD Book of Patterns, records how Life has chosen to repeat its most productive Patterns at every level of scale in the human systems of the city.

Void: The Void Pattern is Source reflecting on Source. As Source we discover this empty fullness through our meditations, contemplations and other spiritual practices that remind us that we have all evolved from the same Source and will return to the same Source. There is nowhere else to go. Map 5 is a “busy expression” of discovering the Void Pattern in the centre of our Fields of Coherence.

Decoding Integral City Maps, is as simple as accessing the Void through the Source of Source.  And as we practise living with the Patterns of Aliveness that dynamically run through the territories of our bio-psycho-cultural-social lives in the Integral City, we expand our Practise of the Master Code, so that we can evolve to be stewards of a fully conscious, sustainable and resilient Planet of Cities.


1. Kauffman, S. A. (1993). The Origins of Order:  Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution. New York: Oxford Press.

Read Full Post »

Integral City how do we map the rhythms and dynamics of your life?

Integral City International Faces

In the last five posts we have explored the five Maps of Integral City. Each reveals new territory.

I have described the merits of Maps 1,2,3 and 4 (borrowing from the organizational icons in the book Spiral Dynamics) in the audio (and printed) book, Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences in the Human Hive. I also discussed it with Ken Wilber during our Integral City 2.0 Online Conference (and Integral Life) Interview. Map 5 has been explored in a published article. Taken as a set,  the five maps reveal the 12 Evolutionary Intelligences of the city as city-scale patterns.

And of course we fully acknowledge that none of the maps IS the territory. But we believe each offers a kind of blueprint for seeing the city in its many expressions of  aliveness. We could even suggest that together the five maps provide a Meta-Map for the voices of the Human Hive.

Map 1 is a Meta of the voices of City-zens

Map 2 is a Meta of the voices of Civil Society

Map 3 is a Meta of the voices of Innovators/Private Sector

Map 4 is a Meta of the voices of City Managers

Map 5 is a Meta of the voice of the City Soul

As two-dimensional maps these are freeze-frame Meta’s whose value would be enormously increased if we could see them in three or four dimensions as moving, dynamic, rhythmic holographic videos. In the not too distant future, those will come. In the mean time, we want to borrow from Pattern Dynamics(TM) (PD) to show how the Patterns of Rhythm and Dynamics allow us to create a storyboard of the city in motion.

As noted in earlier blogs, the Integral City demonstrates strong patterns that relate to the 7 primary sets of natural designs in Tim Winton’s Pattern Dynamics (TM) . Two of these patterns describe the qualities of change in our five maps of the city: the Pattern of Rhythm and the Pattern of Dynamics.

PD Rhythm

The Pattern of Rhythm reflects temporal change at the holonic scale. Rhythmic qualities convey change that is basic, ordered and seemingly simple. If we looked at the rhythm of life at the microscopic scale we’d be impressed by the miracle of life that the dance of stillness and motion produce. When we zoom out to the scale of the city we can appreciate how Rhythm regulates flow and form, as foundational to the patterns of the whole PD language.

The Pattern of Rhythm in the city shows us how human systems develop the first order dance steps that evolve into a whole choreography of Dynamics in the city. The Pattern of Dynamics represents second order change where the Rhythm of Rhythms moves through chaos on the way to becoming more complex and syncopated.

First let’s explore  the Rhythm Pattern.  At its core it gives city systems the pulses of life that regulates its use of energy, information and matter. Temporal patterns give the city the vibration of regularity – like the heartbeat of waking and sleeping cycles; or the ring of city streetcars; or the dependability of the call to prayer throughout the day.

The Pattern of Rhythm gives the city a distinctive “music” that is marked by seven qualities.

Repetition: All patterns in the city depend on the Repetition of behaviours, thoughts, meetings and outcomes. Every aspect of life starts with one activity or motion – but unless it is repeated, the intelligence in the system will not lock in. Repetition indicates that resources are worth expending – until life conditions prove otherwise. Just like a baby who learns to walk and talk through repeating what it sees and hears, repetition at the city scale, provides both playful trial and error and eventually dependable performance – like the free cycling jitney as well as the subway schedule. Repetition is what sets up the patterns of Map 3.

Swing: The city is full of many pendulums that swing back and forth with the regularity of day and night. The swings come from the natural systems developing and maintaining homeostases – like the temperature of the train station self-regulating as people stream through its halls. Swings arise from the system testing its boundaries and regularities to find the value of self-corrections that remain in the zone of available resources. Every city has its metaphorical version(s) of El Nino and La Nina that set the norms of public conduct (loud voices or soft?); generational variations (short hair or long?); and election results (politicians of the left or the right?). Swing is what emerges the holarchies in Map 2.

Cadence: From Repetitions and Swings,  Cadence can emerge – that marks the beat of the city. Every city has an audible cadence from its transportation systems moving people and goods throughout its arteries. You can close your eyes and hear the cadence of New York (steady heartbeat); or Hong Kong (super-fast escalators); or London (the whoosh of the tube). Cadence is almost a felt sense of rhythm that resonates with our own internal beats (of heart, breath, walking). Cadence is what flows through the structures of Map 4 and keeps them aligned.

Pulse: With Cadence and Swing, the city develops a Pulse that is not only palpable, but regulating. Once repetition, and cadence emerge, the pulse of living cycles moves through the city in many ways. It could be the rush hours in morning or evening: or the lineups on payday at the bank; or the parking lot battles at the mall during Christmas shopping. When the city’s pulse emerges, dependability and predictability contribute to decision-making and anticipation. Maps 2, 3 and 4 all contain the pulses of human interaction.

Synchronization: As the preceding characteristics of Rhythm emerge, the magic of synchronization arises. In the city, this enables human systems at all scales to start to notice the metabolic patterns that link them and bring about fortuitous exchanges. Strangers discover common ancestors. Co-workers discover they live on the same street. Politicians with apparently opposing views discover common ground. Synchronization is implicit in all the maps of the city – as it contributes to the emergence of meta-patterns that set up new levels of coordination.

Enantiodromia: This is a Greek word, meaning how opposites turn into each other. It’s most recognizable symbol is the Yin/Yang cycle with the drop of the dark energy in the centre of  the white energy and vice versa. In the city opposites turn into each other as the quality of exchanges between actors in the city increase. Then it becomes possible to see the Schoolboard Representative who argued for conservative spending, become more generous when she votes for funds to support student art courses. Or the artist become an activist for commercial business that funds installation artworks on city streets. When opposites turn into each other, it becomes a sign of differences making room for difference that makes a difference.

Resonance: Finally the quality of Resonance emerges in the city when all the other qualities are dynamically arising together with outcomes that sound like melodies instead of chaos or din. Cities in their prime exude this quality of Resonance and it can last for many decades when the city’s economic, environmental, social and cultural realities are all sustainable. But the resonance can be vulnerable to sudden and severe blows (like the 2008 prime mortgage shock to the system). Resonance aligns with the Harmony of Dynamics that we discuss below and the elegance, flow, and fields explored in Maps 2, 3 and 4.

PD Dynamics

As noted above, the Pattern of Dynamics reflects motion and change in the city at a more complex level than the Rhythm Patterns . The Pattern of Dynamics in the city shows us how human systems as social holons can interact intentionally and produce desired outcomes.  It also reveals how social holons interact unintentionally through the power of feedback and emerge surprises and unexpected results.  At its core the Dynamics Pattern gives city systems the complexity of all patterns working together for emergent resilience at the systems level.

The Pattern of Dynamics has seven qualities that relate closely to the seven Rhythm Patterns, but are like chords at a higher octave:

Iteration: A system that iterates, not only repeats behaviour on the spot, it repeats the behaviour and moves in a cyclical direction at the same time. Thus the iteration moves the system into new relationship with its environment. In the city, the iteration of weekly and seasonal schedules show up in everything from school terms; to the season of sports tournaments; to the long iterations of generational cycles, where the grandparents, parents, youth and children co-create the conditions for each succeeding life-cycle. As we become aware of the iterations of very long-term climate change, we get glimpses of how iterations across time co-create internal and external life conditions for the city. This shows up in Map 2.

Agency/Communion: The greater complexity of the relationship between agency and communion, than between the simple swing of a pendulum, reveals that a single person or system can iterate between these two states of individual action and collective connections. In the city a person can live or work alone in an agentic manner, and then attend church where the fellowship and communion with others amplifies their agentic qualities in service to a greater whole. The holarchical nature of Map 2 conveys this, as does the developmental nature of Map 3. The many opportunities for a single person or a single organization to have experiences of both agency and communion in the city, is one of the sources of the city’s power and potential.

Synergy: At the heart of healthy systems is the capacity to synthesize the energies of many sub-systems and create new relationships that optimize the use of energy, information and matter for the greater good of all. Synergy and symbiosis are closely connected, where the needs of the individual are met at the same time as the needs of the greater whole. In the city, synergy emerges from the metabolic economy of the exchange of goods and services. Theoretically, if this were balanced in a sustainable way with the eco-region of the city, this would result in a synergistic cycle of mutual benefit – like the synergy the honey-bees have created through pollination of renewable energy sources in their eco-region. This synergy is most deeply reflected at the spiritual level in Map 5, but it is also implicit in Maps 3 and 4.

Feedback: The iterative exchange of information, energy and matter in any system creates feedback indicators that tells the system it can sustain itself by continuing the same activity; or that it is endangered if it continues and therefore it must take corrective action. Positive and negative feedback are operating continuously in the city, particularly in the marketplace, where suppliers and purchasers “speak with their money”. But the feedback also occurs during unconscious and embodied states that show up as intuition for individuals and collective consciousness for groups.  Feedback is evident from the exchanges occurring in Map 3 and the awareness of gross, subtle and causal states in Map 5.

Spontaneity: In Dynamic Patterns, spontaneity occurs “in the moment” as a creative impulse. It arises in more complex form than the more simple pattern of Synchronization in the Rhythm Pattern. But often because Synchronization has occurred, the conditions for Spontaneity arise. Spontaneity arises from the trust to openness and exudes freedom and flow with the zest of excitement. It transcends the Past,  springboards from the Present and propels the system into the Future. In the city because there are so many opportunities for Synchronization and Emergence Patterns, the potential for Spontaneity is ever-present. For many people coming from more traditional structures (as mapped in Map 4) the Spontaneity of the city, is (almost) like an addicting state of creative arousal.

System: Every holon or social holon is a system in itself. But in a living system like the city, what characterizes the system is its ability to survive, adapt to its environment and re-generate. The city, as the most complex human system, includes the whole holarchy of systems from Map 2. Map 1 represents the fractal nature of all the survival scales of human systems in the city.  Map 3 reveals the adaptive interchanges of the city’s many systems and Map 4 traces the complex adaptiveness and regeneration of organizational systems in the city.  From the “God’s-eye” view of Map 2 and 4 we can see the Planet of Cities from space, as a living system (first described as the Gaian system by James Lovelock). Map 5 shows us the city as a Spiritual system. Thus the System Pattern captures the metabolic cycle of all life at all scales in the city.

Harmony: While the System Pattern is so quintessential to appreciating the city, the Harmony Pattern may seem to be the most elusive one. For with the unceasing Dynamics of the city, Harmony is often overlooked or obscured. But we can appreciate the very (Map 1) fractalness of city Patterns as a form of Harmony in and of itself. As a pattern in the city, Harmony may be a potential that city evolutionists can explore from the perspective of the city’s purpose. If Harmony were captured by the experience of coherence – perhaps the Harmony or Coherence of the Human Hive would arise if we found the answer to the question that the honey-bees have discovered. Harmony may arise, in answering the question, “What is the equivalent for the Human Hive, of the beehive’s thrival goal of producing 40 pounds of honey annually?” (In effect this probably looks and sounds a lot like the symbiosis of the Master Code.) In seeking the answer we must work together, and that process in itself will move us from chaos into the freedom of harmonious order.

Integral City how do we map the rhythms and dynamics of your life? With the exploration of the Dynamics and Rhythm Patterns, we appreciate how you are always reflecting simple and complex changes going on around us, with us and as us.  Noticing the sounds, tones and music of change opens us to how Rhythm underlies all patterns and Dynamics emerges from them and feeds back into them. Is it possible to capture the Alpha Rhythm and the Omega Dynamics of the Spiral of City life? Only if we move and evolve with and as these patterns.

Read Full Post »

Integral City how do I create thee?   Perhaps Map 2 can reveal how …

There are points of time, of distant memory, 
when the soul unites 
within the pattern of the universe.  
That union brings forth the understanding of life’s harmony.  
So it should be within the [city] garden …
Author Unknown

Integral City Map 2: The Nested Holarchy of City Systems

Integral City Map 2: The Nested Holarchy of City Systems

Every relationship we belong to in the city, offers us a new garden of possibilities for discovering, growing and expanding our sense of wholeness in the city. And because we live in an era when the rate of emergence (in all earth systems) is increasing, our survival depends on our agility to be inspired by the abundance of creative potential in all these gardens.

Integral City Map 2, shows how the human systems in the city nest into a series of “relationship gardens” – or pools – that cascade into one another (that we call a natural holarchy of complexity).  This series of gardens – or pools –  includes a landscape of relationships that is more complex than the one before. The landscape of the whole city creates the habitat for the cascading gardens of communities, organizations, groups, families and individuals.

From a design perspective, each one of these gardens, calls forth a centre that creates strength for all the other gardens connected to it. Architect Christopher Alexander observed that all living systems have strong centres that interconnect and support one another (as we discussed in Map 1). In this way a kind of symbiosis evolves where multiple centres of different sizes actually serve each other in a complementary way, creating natural ecosystems that support wellbeing in each garden at the same time as they create wellbeing in the whole cascade of relationships in the cit.y

I have described the merits of this map in the audio (and printed) book, Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences in the Human Hive. I also discussed it with Ken Wilber during our Integral City 2.0 Online Conference (and Integral Life) Interview. Map 2 as a whole captures the Contexting Intelligences of the city: Evolutionary, Living and Ecosphere (with strong links to Individual, Collective and Structural Intelligences).

Map 2 in the Integral City demonstrates strong patterns that relate to the natural designs in Tim Winton’s Pattern Dynamics (TM) Structure and Exchange Patterns. But the Pattern of Creativity seems to capture best the elegance of evolutionary, living eco-systems inherent in Map 2. The Creativity Pattern in the city shows us how adaptation and novelty in the city arise from the the natural emergence of life, like an apple seed growing into a sapling, that becomes part of an orchard, that evolves a whole new species of apple.

Pattern Dynamics (tm) Creativity

Map 2 captures the patterns of the city as they relate to key conditions for innovation and creativity. They reflect how, like a garden, innovation in the city is planted, matures, cross pollinates and adaptively responds to life conditions.

Map 2 reveals aspects of the Pattern of Creativity because it reveals seven qualities identified by the language of Pattern Dynamics (TM):

  1. Seed: Map 2 starts with the individual as the core seed of intelligence in the city. In the modern city the seeds come from many cultures (like species) so that the family gardens from say the Punjab culture are distinctively the Dutch culture.
  2. Bifurcation: Map 2 does not explicitly show bifurcation – or branching in two directions from one initial path – but it has this choice implicit in it; for instance, when children who play together are directed to attend different schools; or when one family member breaks away from the church they grew up in, to attend another one: or when neighbours on the same street belong to different recreational activities or drive to different work places.
  3. Adaptation: Map 2 reveals the variety of habitats to which individuals, families and groups must adapt as they interact in the city. For people used to traditional ways, the number of choices on daily offer, is often overwhelming because they demand constant (and often stressing) adaptation to new situations outside their worldviews. For students schooled in high technology applications and entertainment, adaptation in the city is both a game and an expected life condition.
  4. Growth: Map 2 conveys the natural holarchy of nested systems in the city through which an individual can grow over a lifetime. Each system represents a “garden of experience” that expands the habitat of relationships for the individual. Each expansion offers the opportunity for more exchanges between individuals and collectives – with possibilities for innovative production, financing and integration of services.
  5. Emergence: Map 2 suggests that the interaction and interconnections amongst the different wholes (or holons) of the city will cause emergence – i.e., the creation of something new that has not existed before. (This is also powerfully conveyed in Map 3, which we will discuss in a subsequent blog.)
  6. Evolution: Map 2 clearly reflects the evolutionary complexity of the human systems in the city, as the holarchy of nested relationships becomes more complex. Map 2 shows how evolution of a city ecology depends on the transcending and including of all the less complex sets of relationships in the city. For instance, the neighbourhood, like a garden, includes all the organizations, recreational zones, schools family homes and individual comings and goings. Every neighbourhood evolves differently than others because of the variety that makes up its nested holarchy of city systems. This is why they have such distinctive patterns – just like a Japanese garden has very different features than a classical Italian garden.
  7. Elegance: Map 2 conveys the simple elegance of a classical natural form – like a conch shell, or a spiralling galaxy, or Venice’s St. Mark’s Square (a favourite example of Christopher Alexander to illustrate the evolutionary nature of creativity and beauty).

Integral City how do I create thee? Map 2 suggests that the simple unfolding of the pattern of relationships that naturally emerge across a life time in the city,  will create the complex adaptive conditions for creativity. As we have explored with Integral Architect Mark DeKay, the vibrancy of life in the city depends on creating the conditions for humans to emerge solutions that improve the wellbeing of self, culture and nature in the whole city.

In future blogs we continue the exploration of Integral City Maps 3, 4 and 5 and show how each adds further depth to Maps 1 and 2.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: