Meeting of the Minds 2013
MotM asked me to share some of the “strange” language Integral City Meshworks uses to talk about the city. So here is a Brief History of the Integral City Basics.
It all goes back to my eclectic career of working in human systems development. In the ‘70’s I implemented mini-computer systems for an insurance services business on national and global scales. In the ‘80’s I worked on multi-continent construction teams for an international hotel organization. In the ‘90’s I worked in micro-computer start-ups and incubators (from Silicon Valley south to Silicon Valley north aka BC Canada) and strategic planning with financial institutions. And in the early 2000’s I developed community building capacity with multiple stakeholders in a small west coast Canadian city. Across all these geographies I engaged in the development of capacities for leaders, teams, organizations, sectors, communities and finally cities. I used everything I knew about management, but ultimately needed to return to school to learn about complex adaptive systems to make sense of the patterns in human systems, that I had noticed while engaging at all these scales.
My education , spanned the right brain’s fascination with language, meaning-making and cultures and the left-brain’s demands for order and organization (starting with my BA in English Literature and Diploma in Translation; then proceeding to an accounting designation and various courses in computer systems design and project management; and finally a doctorate in Administration and Management).
When searching for a doctoral thesis topic, I decided (as a mature student ) to attempt to weave together my eclectic exposure to global culture, business, operations and belief systems, by researching the emergence of Leadership and Learning in Self-Organizing Online Community Systems (Hamilton, 1999). My case study for this research was Margaret Wheatley and Team’s 1997 “Berkana Community of Conversations (BCC)”, an online listserve experiment whose purpose was to examine how “systems serve us in the fullness of our humanity”. Out of my research ,evolved a framework for looking at communities in a way that integrated psychology, culture, biology and systems.
The timing of this research coincided with the publication of Ken Wilber’s tome, “Sex, Ecology and Spirituality”(Wilber, 1995), which offered a framework for just such an integration. Using the emailed exchanges in the BCC listserve, as my data, I parsed the 7 month conversation into the perspectives of reality, levels of development and directions of development that characterize what is now known as the Integral Model of human systems development.
Within months of graduation, in 2000, I gained two further opportunities to expand this research. The first was an introduction to the research on complex adaptive values systems behind Spiral Dynamics integral(Beck & Cowan, 1996). The second was an opportunity to map the values of my (perfect sized) city of Abbotsford, BC, Canada for the Community Foundation (Hamilton, 2003).
The result was the four quadrant “Flower Map” of Abbotsford that displayed data from random population sample interviews, identifying what works well in the city compared to what opposes healthy development. This in turn was backed up by data outlining what city stakeholders wanted to improve about the city.
This first Flower Map embraces the basics of the Integral City Map 1 (described in my 2008 book, Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive (Hamilton, 2008)). This map is not the external quadrants of a city that you find on city street maps, but is instead the internal quadrants of a city’s psychology and culture along with the external quadrants of its biology and systems. It represents four different realities that co-exist in the city and that cross-influence each other. However, without the use of this 4 quadrant map, the cross-linkages of these realities have remained (historically) locked into 4 separate discourses with little exchange amongst them. Even universities have typically separated their faculties so that they are organized separately like this:
- Upper Left : Aesthetics and Fine Arts
- Lower Left: Social Sciences
- Upper Right: Life Sciences
- Lower Right: Hard Sciences