Posts Tagged ‘maps’

We are Peer Spirits learning to read five Maps[i] of Integral City’s Intelligences and dance with her Communities of Practice.

Peer Spirits in the Dance

Peer Spirits in the Dance

Apart, we situate our connections in the city as mentors[ii] to individual growth;

as coaches[iii] to holarchic relationships between individuals and groups;[iv]

as facilitator[v] for fractal synergetics of micro, meso and macro capacities;

as reinventors of complex organizational structures;[vi]

and as amplifiers of spirituality.

Together, our evolutionary intelligence is growing a Field of Integral City Practice

where life-giving leaders and organizations design integrality into cities.[vii]

We create habitats where 4 City Voices and indigenous people

integrate values, visions and strategies for new generations.[viii]

Permaculture elders[ix] reflect living dynamic patterns in community and neighborhood strategies.[x]

We connect in constellations[xi] of energy-sensitive adepts

bringing the ashram into the marketplace[xii]

as we connect to Integral City’s Communities of Practice.


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 …Peer Spirits speaks …


Integral City Peer Spirits 

[i] Integral City Map 1, Map 2, Map 3, Map 4, Map 5

[ii] Dr. Roger Walsh

[iii] Integral Coaching Canada

[iv]  Stagen

[v]  Integral Facilitators™, 10 Directions

[vi] http://www.reinventingorganizations.com/

[vii] Integral Sustainable Designer, Mark DeKay

[viii] Greg Massey and Gary Batton, Durant

[ix] http://www.patterndynamics.net/

[x] Strathcona Mature Neighbourhood Strategy facilitated by Beth Sanders and Dnyanesh Deshpande 

[xi] Systemic Constellation Work & Knowing Cities

[xii] http://www.thomashuebl.com/en/

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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.

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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.

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Integral City how do I capture your spirit? Map 5 gives us a glimpse into the spiritual energy of love, that is ever-present in the Human Hive, as we live on the edge of evolution.

Integral City Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

Integral City Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

Where is it possible to sense the spirit of a city? Is it in the quiet of a chapel, or the chanting on a prayer mat? Is it from a vista that discloses the miracle of light and form that is the city at night? Is it while doing good deeds in the service of those in need? Or is it in the tumult and din of a play-off game for our favourite sport?

Of course, spirit is expressed in all of these ways because spirituality is a universal life force that cycles through existence as an involutionary and evolutionary impulse (Wilber, 1995). The first stage of the cycle, called involution, originates at the non-dual “source” that lies at the centre of existence where it descends from the invisible to the visible; from the immanent to that which is presenced; from the unmanifest source to manifest “re-sources”. The second stage of the cycle, called evolution, attracts all creation back to source so that it ascends from the manifest to the source; from the visible to the invisible; from gross physical bodies to subtle and causal energy fields to non-dual source. Spirituality is not outside of city creation but embedded in it as the source, flowing through it as energetic fields and manifest in its emergent re-sources (Hamilton, 2012).

James Lovelock has called humans Gaia’s Reflective Organ. I take his insight one step further and suggest that cities are the actual organs and individuals are cells within it.

As Reflective Organs we may know spirituality (or God) in all four quadrants of our integral reality (reflected in Integral City Map 1) as: spiritual experience (UL) ; action flow state (UR); collective ecstasy or ethos (LL); and collective creation (LR). Spirituality is also an UL and LL intelligence (or line) that is capable of growing from ego to ethno to world to kosmic levels of development for individuals and cultures. As well (paradoxically), it is the Absolute source of stillness at the centre of existence (Map 1) and the Relative evolutionary impulse that drives all city manifestation (Maps 2, 3, 4).

The city as spiritual container holds not only the spiritual lives of citizens at three scales (Self, Culture and Nature), but also the artefacts of spiritual expression including all the systems, structures and infrastructures within the LR built city. Ironically, although we tend to point at the physical cathedrals, mosques and synagogues as centres of spiritual life, in fact these are mere expressions of the mystical “soul” of the city in all its built form and business.  But it is this very busy-ness that incites people to seek the Space, Place and Grace in a spiritual refuge where coherence can emerge from the over-stimulation of the senses, and spiritual reconnection can occur.

As the city matures through the exchange of energy between spiritual Source and Re-Source a spiritual energy Field emerges. Evidence about spiritual behaviors, attitudes, shared practices and systems, suggest that a field effect is emerging in the city (McTaggart, 2001; Sheldrake, 1988). The field probably arises because the city as container causes the multiplicity of chaotic exchanges (Map 3) within and across holons and social holons to converge into patterns that sustain. A kind of “spiritual groove” becomes carved in the energetic field, that through repetition reinforces itself.

Finally, when we admit all three faces of God (expressed as the Master Code) as the essence of spirit in the city, we make room for an ever evolving field of spirituality.

The perennial values that all spiritual wisdoms share appear to contribute to the human hive as a Reflective Organ. Spiritual guides see Beauty, Goodness and Truth as core values that imbue spiritual life at all expressions of Self, Culture and Nature (DeKay, 2011, p. xxvii; McIntosh, 2007, p. 300; Wilber, 2007, p. 70).

Within an integral frame these values co-arise and their interior and exterior modes seem to cross-connect and rotate or even interchange as they stimulate multiple routes to the emergence of Grace, Place and Space. In tracing the cycle of spirituality in the human hive, we come to a final spirituality map that reveals Grace, Place and Space as outcomes from the dynamic interconnections of Beauty, Goodness and Truth. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the integration of these core spiritual values is apprehended as the meta-value of Love in all the horizontal and vertical zones of the Integral City (as illustrated in Map 5)?

The Source Zone of city spirituality exists as the Absolute, ever-present non-dual infinite ground of spiritual abundance. Here the core value of Beauty may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Appreciation and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Expression. This results in the spiritual outcome of Grace.

The Field Zone of city spirituality arises through the subtle and causal memory patterns created by evolutionary spiritual practise. Here the core value of Goodness may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Stillness and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Service. This results in the spiritual outcome of Place.

At the Resource Zone of city spirituality emerges the relative manifest qualities of the evolutionary container of the human hive. Here the core value of Truth may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Learning and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Teaching and Construction. This results in the spiritual outcome of Space.

Integral City how do I not just capture your spirit – but embrace it?? Map 5 suggests Love is the spiritual pulse through which Gaia’s Reflective Organ makes:

Grace – In Taking Care of Yourself.
Place – In Taking Care of Each Other.
Space – In Taking Care of This City.


DeKay, M. (2011). Integral Sustainable Design: Transformative Perspectives. London, UK: Earthscan.
Esbjörn-Hargens, S., & Zimmerman, M. (2009). Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Hamilton, M. (2011). Integral Spirituality in the Human Hive: A Primer Trialog. Retrieved from http://www.integralcity.com/wiki.html
Lovelock, J. (1972). Gaia As Seen Through the Atmosphere, Atmospheric Environment, (Vol. vol. 6, p. 579).
Lovelock, J. (2009). The Vanishing Face of Gaia. New York: Harmony Books.
McIntosh, S. (2007). Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution: How the Integral Worldview is Transforming Politics, Culture and Spirituality. St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House.
McTaggart, L. (2001). The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe. New York: Harper Perennial.
McTaggart, L. (2011). The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us. New York: Free Press.
Sheldrake, R. (1988). The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature (1995 ed.). Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press.
Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, Ecology and Spirituality: the spirit of evolution. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Wilber, K. (2001). Marriage of Sense and Soul. New York: Random House.
Wilber, K. (2006). Integral Spirituality. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Wilber, K. (2007). The Integral Vision. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.

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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.

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The patterns embedded in human systems have evolved for hundreds of thousands of years.

PatternDynamics Patterns

Indeed, as living systems, the patterns have emerged from the 4 billion years that Life has vibrated on the dance floor of the Planet, as single cell microbes to  multi-organ persons. These patterns emerge from expressing the simple rules (or principles) that make systems alive.

These principles were explored by many of the Visionaries at the Integral City 2.0 Online Conference (IC2OC)– Elisabet Sahtouris in speaking of the 16 Principles of Living Systems; Mark DeKay in exploring his interpretation of Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language; Hazel Henderson in proposing Biomimicry principles for investment; and of course the 12 Intelligences that inspire Integral City’s ongoing inquiry.

Tim Winton, another Visionary of the ongoing IC2OC conference came to the west coast of North America last week – bringing his training on the language of Pattern Dynamics(TM) outside of Australia for the first time. I was privileged to attend Tim’s one day workshop in Vancouver, Canada.

As author of Pattern Dynamics(TM), Tim has created a Pattern Language that is especially enlightening for organizations to notice the patterns that govern organizational life. Coming from a background in forestry and applied life sciences, Tim has developed his systems language from his decades of observing the interaction of the A-B-C systems of life. His own career has created the learning habitat where an elegant Pattern Language has emerged  from Tim’s observations of the Biological and Cosmospherical systems of forest ecologies.  And from this set of symbols he now offers a technology to empower Anthropocentric systems at the organizational level.

Tim’s Pattern Dynamics(TM) language is easy to learn and powerful to apply especially for discovering insights about sustainability and resilience. Pattern Dynamics(TM) uses a basic set of seven patterns (as pictured above) that enable a dynamic exploration in nature and culture of:

Rhythm: the temporal aspects in systems

>Polarity: the interplay of opposites in systems

 >>Structure: the enduring frameworks of systems

 >>>Exchange: the productive capacity of systems

>>>>Creativity: the emergence of novel adaptation of systems

>>>>>Dynamics: the process that coordinates dynamics of systems

>>>>>>>Source: the consciousness of the origin of identity and purpose in systems

These seven primary patterns can be cross-referenced to create a full set of 49 secondary patterns. A visit to PatternDynamics(TM) website will show you how they create an integrated set of patterns to produce a very versatile language for organizational explorations of the dynamical relationships of cultures (internal and external), economies, sustainability and innovation.

Since the workshop, I have been considering how Pattern Dynamics(TM)(PD) offers a complementary language for organizational development in the context of cities.  Like fractals, the PD patterns are essentially embedded at organizational scale, in the patterns that are foundational to the framework of Integral City at city scale.

At the city scale, the patterns that I have explored in the Integral City book, website, articles, conference, blog and trainings  have been derived from the five Maps of the City.

Four of these maps are presented in the book, (and recently discussed with Ken Wilber) and the fifth in a recent article. I will explore each of them in subsequent blogs but here is how I see them relating to Winton’s Pattern Dynamics(TM) .

Map 1: The Four Quadrant Eight Level Map of Reality – this relates to PD Polarity Patterns

Map 2: The Nested Holarchy of City Systems – this relates to PD Creativity Patterns

Map 3: The Scalar Fractal Relationship of Micro-Meso-Macro Human Systems – this relates to PD Exchange Patterns

Map 4: The Complex Adaptive Structures of Change – this relates to PD Structure Patterns

Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive – this relates to PD Source Patterns

Tim’s recent interview with the IC2OC  inspired me to explore his Pattern Dynamics(TM) language further. I am so delighted to have received instruction from the Pattern Dynamics(TM) Language creator himself – and can recommend his integrally informed teaching style to anyone trying to understand how organizations as living systems speak a pattern language that reveals their energy, functionality and their evolutionary wellbeing.

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Metropolitan World Atlas  (MWA)by Arjen van Susteren gives us a glimpse of what an atlas of Integral City acupuncture points might look like. MWA identifies 101 metroplitan areas of the world which include the world’s 50 largest cities, 25 largest seaports, 30 largest airports, 30 largest telecom ports and 12 other metropolitan areas.

The atlas identifies Population, Metro Development, Employment, Economy, Health, Crime, Density (Metro, Residential, Change), Traffic & Transport, Road Use, Railway Use, Climate and Pollution. 

Each area was approached in a uniform manner so that the resulting map for each location uses the same scale (1cm = 7.5 km). Statistics are displayed in two ways as a cartographic dot whose size indicates the relative numeric data (also presented).

Further statistics provide a context for each metro area: Land Elevation, Roads, IATA airports, Political Boundaries, Bodies of Water, Outlying Towns, Railways, Ports and Built-Up Development.

In the second section of the atlas each of the statistical topics is presented using the cartographic scaled dots to present an immediate visual comparison of metro areas across the globe related to each of the topics. An example shows the airports in each Metro area.

The Atlas summarizes its value as: “making it possible to clearly and objectively compare the differences and similarities between given regional urban configurations from several different angles and perspectives in pictures and figures with a common denominator.”

Although the Atlas begs to be re-published with updated data, it provides an interesting template for designing the Right Hand Quadrants of an Integral City Atlas. The key factors identified in the MW Atlas are all related to human population data (Upper Right)  and infrastructure/systems artefacts (Lower Right) data. However, it is the simple elegance of its design and presentation that appeals to my imagination for an All Quadrants Atlas.

In Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive, I propose in Chapter 11 (Navigating Intelligences) that new maps could be created for the city that reveal the Left Hand Quadrants of Qualitative Data from Levels of Consciousness (Upper Left) and Levels of Culture (Lower Left) along with the Right Hand Quadrants of Quantitative data represented by levels of complexity in the living systems (UR) and built city (LR). While Integral City uses an integral methodology to standardize the mix of metrics in All Four Quadrants – with a special demonstration and focus of the Left Hand Quadrants, the Metropolitan World Atlas offers a methodology for standardizing Right Hand Quadrant data that might prove an effective bridge between the Qualitative Left and Quantitative Right data sets.

I also imagine that the Integral Cities of the world would be connected along meridiens of economic/energetic exchange – like the acupuncture points of the world. A final intriguing image from MWA looks mysteriously like each of the 101 Metro Areas has an acumpuncture needle identifying the node!! This seem both synchronisitic and fortuitous for future consideration of mapping the wellbeing factors of the world with an integrally informed whole systems thinking methodology!!


VanSusteren, A. (2007). Metropolitan World Atlas. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.

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