This newsletter is published quarterly using a cycle of perspectives on the Integral City viewed from: Planet, People, Place and Power. The theme of this issue is People..
With all the stress, tension and terrorism in the world, it is ironic to consider that cities could not exist if some minimum level of acceptance or tolerance did not exist. Acceptance is a behavior that can be charted on a scale measuring the degree of tolerance for others more or less like us. The more the citizens of a community accept people who are visibly different from them, the more biological diversity can contribute to the resilience of a city.
Well-being in the city requires that we pay attention to how we manage our individual and group energies. By doing so, we serve the patterns, processes and structures of well-being that support our city intentions, cultures and social systems. If we fail to do this, Diamond cites the repeated blindness of societies to grasp the implications of their short-term behaviours for their long-term survivability. He describes in horrific detail the histories of societal “collapse” from the South Pacific to the North Atlantic to Latin America. He cautions that these historical instances may be more than metaphorical warnings for the continuation of life on earth.
Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p.146
Spoiler Alert: Can Cities Survive in a VUCA World with Aliveness Weather Report?
The any-time-all-the-time-anywhere newsfeeds of the world seem demonically intent on injecting us with a continuous stream of VUCA “hits”.
Not surprisingly the military coined the VUCA term to capture the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous qualities of life that have become the daily experience of many people in most countries and the flavor of our glocal news addictions. We have all viewed the stories many times over.
- Middle eastern, and especially Syrian refugees risk death on the shores of the Mediterranean, compelled to flee the VUCA life they face in their native cities just to survive.
- Recent and second generation migrants to northern Europe, especially youth, languish without purpose or pay in cultural maladaptation within city environments alien to their families, hopes and potential.
- Intolerance and indignity thrive in Orlando’s tourist mecca of the United States defying the regeneration of the differences that make a difference in the city.
When we convened the Integral City Online Conference in 2012, speakers from Rabobank shared their view that all cities were faced with five key challenges: climate, energy, water, food and finance. Shortly thereafter it became apparent that a sixth challenge trumped them all and that was culture. Culture is the internal collective domain of cities, where belief systems converge or clash. Culture is the source of the wars between and within our cities that is disemboweling city capacities to respond to the five other challenges. Culture is threatening the very aliveness of cities, defined as:
- The ability to survive
- The capacity to adapt to life conditions and the environment
- The capacity to regenerate.
When the boundaries of cities were fixed, certain, simple and defined by history and/or constitution, our expectations for survival, adaptation and regeneration depended on assumptions that were built into daily exchanges, civic management and the modicum of civility taught by our families, faith practices and schools. This was the case a mere generation ago.
But when the boundaries of cities become porous, messy, shifting and destroyed because life conditions have altered through the globalization of trade, transportation, technology, tourism and wars, then assumptions about daily life in cities have been forced to change. And when the impacts of those life conditions have been amplified by military incursions, natural disasters and climate change we have created a recipe for a perfect storm of VUCA conditions in cities. This has all happened within a generation.
While cities have evolved to optimize life conditions for human systems (hinting at their biomimical nature as Human Hives) they have now become the unfortunate targets of tyrants, terrorists and rebels who covet the resources that enable survival, adaptation and regeneration. They demand this now.
But as dissonance seems to reign in the world, unexpected capacities for resilience are emerging. We see them in surprising places – Like Angela Merkel risking her political capital to welcome a million refugees. Like intrepid Millennials reaching out to assist the victims in the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. Like the global affirmation from many cities for their own local Pride events to defy the gunman’s motivation behind the Orlando mass shooting.
If newsfeeds stopped focusing just on the grim details of the VUCA world and instead gave us a new “aliveness weather report” – AWR – on the state of our cities’ six Challenges, then perhaps we could switch the messages from disasters, death and destruction to stories of cultural resilience, responsiveness and co-creativeness.
The AWR could report for each Challenge the state of survival, adaptation and regenerative capacity for climate, energy, water, food, finance – and especially cultural clashes.
Then we might have a feedback loop that could indicate the direction(s) we need to change for our very survival, adaptiveness and regenerativity.
Just a few musings from a radical optimist. MH
July People Event: Hub Impact – Future of Cities
Waking Up the Human Hive – join Marilyn Hamilton with a group of Unlikely Allies at Hub Impact’s International Conference July 5-6, 2016.
In this Master Class Marilyn explores the relationship amongst Traditional Cities Smart Cities, Resilient Cities and Integral Cities and how all four types of cities contribute to a more integrated whole picture of the city. She demonstrates that each city type has a distinctive source of power and how the 4 sources of power differ through – 3 external and 1 internal sources – and how they impact the city. This Master Class links to other courses in an online series of Integral City Trainings. Learn how a natural evolution in the potential of the Traditional City, Smart City, Resilient City and the Integral City and how we can work together for the wellbeing of a Planet of Cities.
Advancing Language Research – Automated Text Analysis for Large Group Development Levels
Tom Murray has invited Integral City to participate in his MetaIntegral Foundation sponsored research into automated text analysis for group levels. Tom’s research explores how to use computer generated response analysis for assessing large and medium scale transformation projects and activities. What this means is that his team has developed software that can analyze response text to indicate respondents’ levels of complexity and depth in meaning-making.
With Imagine Durant (Oklahoma) Integral City is working with a number of groups interested in leadership development. In June we will start a pilot project as part of Tom’s research with a cohort from the LEAD program at First United Bank. This opportunity will be a way for us to contribute to research around the relationship between development in leadership and civic values.
The automatic scoring process, called StageLens, uses a sentence completion leadership assessment based on Terri O’Fallon’s STAGES theory and assessment methodology for human development. It will provide additional lenses for Integral City’s work on analyzing the values of people in Durant. Integral City will correlate Tom Murray’s aggregated results with another set of MeshSCAN values assessments that we have been collecting with Imagine Durant in the last few years.
You can learn more about STAGES on Pacific Integral’s web site: http://www.pacificintegral.com/new/homepages/stages/.
Imagine Durant – Health & Environment Dialogues for Policy Action
Imagine Durant continues to expand the dialogues on Economy & Community from 2015 into dialogues on Health & Environment in 2016. Thought Leaders and Citizens have added to the Recommendations for Policy Makers to take action by Developing Citizen Health, Building Performance Capacity for Health and Environment, Engaging Community Wellbeing and Influencing Healthy Business Development and Systems. Here are their 4 Quadrant ideas for action.
Develop Citizen Health – Leadership Vision, Personal Capacity, Education
- Develop job opportunities for SOSU students to match skill sets of graduates and keep them in Durant
Build Health and Environment Management Performance Capacity for Health & Environment
- Be strategic when deciding what budget cuts to make and don’t just move money to fix a temporary problem
- Think socially about how to redistribute funding strategically with a solution that works with what your constituents are saying…especially through a process like community dialogue.
Engage Community Wellbeing – Cultural Diversity, NFP, Faith
- Empower citizens to take responsibility with community led initiatives.
Influence Healthy Business Development and Environmental Systems
- Identify tangible 1, 3, 5 year goals people can see and set priorities to attain them.
- Map a plan for growth.
- Join the Housing Revitalization Committee
- Adopt a stretch of road
Celebrating Cities-as-People in the Coming Quarter of 2016
June 21 marked the start of what Integral City calls the People Quarter (from June 21 to September 20). What people perspectives do you bring to celebrate aliveness in the Human Hive at this time of year? What people, leaders, stories, rituals and family celebrations engage you? We notice new tensions amongst, within and between cities exploding around the world as people in cities face the six challenges of Culture, Climate, Energy, Water, Food and Finance. Visit us on Integral City Facebook Collective or the new Integral City Website and Blog and post a comment about your stories of the Human Hive.
Meshful Blessings for all People of the Human Hive from
Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Constellation Core Team
PS Here are some some Free Resources for nurturing People the Human Hive:
2. Short Video: Dealing with Wicked Problems – an Integral Approach
3. Here is one Blog that offers a gift (from ISCE’s Michael Lissack) for anyone you love living in a VUCA City:
4. And for Brexiteers – here are some inside views of the Big Vote: