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 Place.
Renewal in the city depends on many of the capacities people have developed for adaptiveness to their environment. Renewal becomes possible because adaptiveness in the city emerges from massive redundancy in the bio-psycho-cultural-social spheres. For its survival and success, the city does not depend on one ruler or superhero (compared to a castle or feudal manor that did). Instead the city depends on the relationships amongst key roles that have evolved out of a species’ group mind and its ability to shift and flex depending on the life conditions. Renewal emerges because a city, like all living systems, develops cyclical habits that enable the accumulation, exploitation, distribution and redeployment of resources. …Living systems have natural stages through which they cycle and sequences of super-cycles that result in the evolution of complexity over time. [And in cities] those stages occur at different levels of scale: for ecologies, species, systems, organizations and individuals …
Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers p.38
It’s September – Renew Your City-Celebration Vows!!
It does not seem surprising to me that so many people hold a deep affection for their city as the Place that holds much of what they call dear. But, for that very reason I do find it surprising that cities do not have days to celebrate themselves as special places that support the lives of all who live there and contribute to the support of lives in other cities where trade flows back and forth.
Several years ago I nominated September as the month for cities to celebrate themselves. (See the blogs links under Free Resources below for some of my ideas on how to do so.) That suggestion seems especially poignant in 2016 as we acknowledge the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and how the terrorist attack impacted New York. As we know through the many stories from victims’ families, survivors, first responders, city officials, other cities and nations, 9/11 in NYC has become an archetype of the dark threats that terrorize the city-habitats where our daily lives and very existence play out.
As the ripple of copycat-9/11 threats to cities has spread around the world, the city, as our most complex human system yet created, gains implicit as well as explicit value in our esteem. Each city’s way of manifesting history, geography, voices, intelligences and governance adds up to its unique sense of place. What I imagined cities celebrating, surrounds us in the present and is firmly rooted in the past.
But what happens when the future intrudes into our sensibilities of the city? What happens when we build the structures and infrastructures of the city for a future population and hold them like an inventory or warehouse of buildings? Are these cities without people (dubbed Zombie Cites) lacking the life that emerges when cities grow organically with the people who will populate them? This is what China has done and continues to do. (See Free Resources blog links below on China’s new cities.) Strangely enough, while I can admire the technical feat of this accomplishment, the images of these cities without people lack the spark of life that is the essence of what we are inspired to celebrate in cities.
At the same time the idea of neo-cities – offered by futurists who want to create the ideal city for an elite group of highly educated and productive people (see Free Resources blog links below) – seem to be cousins of China’s new cities. While the neo-city designers imagine a technologically advanced and even environmentally smart city, they seem to overlook the fabric that consciousness and culture of a whole ecology of people who contribute to the vibrancy of city life, their multiple generations, perspectives, genetic differences, creative variations, tensions and intentions.
Recently I have heard Yuval Harari postulate that humankind is on the verge of overcoming death. He suggests that as homo deus we have (theoretically ,with much evidence indicating the positive trends) overcome famine, plague and war. In the interview I heard, Harari suggested that the artificially intelligent creations (aka robots) that humans are now testing may be more intelligent than homo sapiens within the next decade. If that proposition comes to pass, I imagine that they will be located (by human choice?) in the elite neo-cities removed from the organic, emergent and messy lives that I am inspired to celebrate in our cities of today.
As a city evolutionist I have argued that cities are social holons demonstrating the characteristics of living systems: surviving, connecting to their environments and regenerating. But the city I celebrate will transcend and INCLUDE the people, cultures, behaviours and systems that have brought us to today, and will propel us into the future, rather than EXCLUDE them – as the new-neo-deitic imaginations seem to suggest. The ecological reality of the city’s vibrant inclusiveness is what impresses the minds and hearts of astronauts with an “overview effect” when they have viewed our amazing blue Earth with all its city reflections from space. IMO,the evolution of this city-social holon into the hive-mind of collective consciousness is the most likely way for the evolution of cities is likely to produce vibrant, intelligence for a resilient future.
And that vibrant, living and life-giving quality of cities – with all its emergent messiness – is what I renew with my celebration vow for the city this September.
I hope you will join me and the city-celebrants we share in this newsletter from Victoria, St. Petersburg, Findhorn and online, as we celebrate ways our city futures are evolving together.
Bring People & Place Together from Ten Directions
In this Together Training from Ten Directions offers Skills that Bring People Together
If you are working with teams and groups in cities, your effectiveness depends on bringing people together. If you are facilitating or leading change, your impact depends on skilled communication and relating. If you are leading or guiding others, your behavior has a huge influence on how people around you function every day.
Integral City invites you to join us in participating with Ten Directions in a new online training with award-winning facilitator, conflict resolution expert, author and trainer, Diane Musho Hamilton.
- Training Starts on Tuesday, October 4th
- Sessions will take place weekly on Tuesdays at 12 pm MT
- Live, interactive video training sessions will be 75-minutes long
- Each session will include teaching, interactive practice, and Q&A
- TrainVing includes supplemental reading and summary PDFs of all sessions
- All sessions will be recorded and available for download
This training has been approved for professional continuing education credits by key HR and Coach Certification accreditation organizations.
Make a Place We Can All Call Home: Soul-Work for Earth Partisans
Placemaking is a human art and practice from time immemorial. Primarily, it is people who make a place – the people in the place, the people of the place. But this can often be missed today, through being ‘lost in space’.
This course is for those who sense a ‘maker’ of sorts within themselves, including their role in the making of the places that they happen to love and cherish. It is for those with an interest in becoming a better maker of such places with others. Our relationship with place can easily be taken for granted, but it might well merit closer discernment to help us better negotiate these challenging times – together. In this course we ask, how might we go about making a place we can all call home? What’s the story here? The underlying poetry? The divinity at work?
Program Overview: In four, weekly, two-hour, encounters we explore what we might mean by place, especially vis-à-vis space, wondering about its sacred and secular attributes, and its combination of primalcy and potency. Consider our ‘sense of place’, in terms of sensing place within us … Prospect the qualities of place, with particular interest in place as an integration of … physicality, functionality, conviviality and spirituality. Speculate on the essence of place as something we make collectively, as a form of ‘coming home’ together. What metaphors, or story-lines, or poetry, might resonate as part of our common meaning-making? To what extent might placemaking be regarded as ‘soul-work for earth partisans’? The aim will be to get in better touch with the placemaker in each and all of us – the people who make the places that matter, in pursuit of our Anam Cara (drawing on the work of John O’Donohue).
Presented and facilitated by Ian Wight PhD FCIP: a Canadian Scot, who has been a mentor to Integral City while being an educator of professional planners and a professional planning practitioner. True to his Scottish ancestry, Ian loves a really good ‘blether’ that bridges the personal, the professional and the spiritual. In this offering he draws particularly on application of an integral perspective, grounded in a selection of blessings from John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us.
Location: Programs in Earth Literacies – Victoria BC – Fall 2016
Friends Meeting House, 1831 Fern St, Victoria BC: 7pm to 9pm
Dates/Time: Wednesdays, September 28, October 5, 12 and 19, 2016, [4 x 2hr Exploration]
Registration: The program cost is $75 (four sessions), or $20 drop-in (single session). Ask about our scholarship program. Email: email@example.com. Telephone: 250-220-4601 or 604-272-4779
By cheque: Make cheques payable to: The Living Language Institute Foundation. Mailing address: Programs in Earth Literacies,, PO Box 28114, West Shore RPO, Victoria BC V9B 6K8
Or pay by charge card via website: www.earthliteracies.org
The Place of Organizations in the City
Eugene Pustoshkin, located in St. Petersburg and Russian translator of Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive (and co-creator of Eros and Kosmos) has just written a powerful and perceptive article on Transformations on the Path to Really Teal & Turquoise Organizations.
As we have written before, reinventing organizations plays a key role in reinventing cities, our most complex human creation.
Eugene says, “The idea of “teal organizations” is described in Frederick Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations (click here for a link to our series of blogs on how Reinventing Organizations impacts the city); and it is gaining popularity today both globally and in Russia.
“Hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders in various companies—from IT to banks—seek new forms of self-organizing. They’re tired of limitations that are inherent to classical hierarchical subdivisions, their low efficiency and effectiveness and incapacity to flexibly adapt to the VUCA world (that is, our world that is now characterized by volatility, uncertainty, change, ambiguity, fluidity, chaos, instability, and so on).
“. . . This trend provides many auspicious opportunities: it inspires new explorations and studies which eventually lead to becoming acquainted with the larger, revolutionary Integral framework. There are also undercurrents which potentially may serve as hindrances and obstacles. In order to clarify a bigger vision of what it would actually take for an integral or second-tier or teal/turquoise organizations to emerge, Eugene created this diagram.
Eugene goes on to say, “You see, in most cases lay people are not familiar with either Ken Wilber’s Integral theory or Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi)—Laloux’s work is inspired by both frameworks. Lay folks think that it is sufficient to make just a one-step transformation—to relinquish old organizational models and undertake a new, “teal” or “turquoise” model of organization. That’s a grave error which could lead to really devastating consequences. In fact, everyone who wants to shift towards, teal organizations, must catalyze (and undergo) a series of quite complex step-by-step transformations that span many years and literally affect all major areas of life. …”
This article will be featured in Integral Leadership Review (November 2016).
The Place of the Eldest Daughter @ Findhorn
Findhorn International Forum for Eldest Daughters is a 3.5-day retreat for firstborn women only. Hosts are Lisette Schuitemaker, Helen Wildsmith and Gill Emslie.
Inspiration for the gathering is the book The Eldest Daughter Effect written by Lisette Schuitemaker and Wies Enthoven and published by Findhorn Press in October 2016.
Expert facilitator and long-term Findhorn resident Gill Emslie will guide participants in deepening individual and collective insights into the patterns that eldest daughters share, realizing how to harness undisputed strengths and avoid the inevitable pitfalls in personal and professional life. Explore your own questions, reflect, meditate and spend time in nature.
Location: Findhorn Foundation, the educational charity at the heart of the renowned spiritual community and ecovillage at the edge of the seashore Findhorn village in Scotland. Findhorn is about a 40-minute drive from Inverness Airport.
Date: Saturday March 18, 2017 12 noon to 5 PM Tuesday March 21, 2017
Contact & Registration: Lisette Schuitemaker firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrating City Places in the Coming Quarter of 2016
September 21 marks the start of what Integral City calls the Place Quarter (from September 21 to December 20). What perspectives on place do you bring to celebrate the City at this time of year? What places, spaces, structures, systems and and the ways people use them, inspire and attract you? We notice the experiments of Teal organizations, new cities and neo-cities demand attention even as cities are still distracted by the consequences of famines, plagues and wars, and even while new evolutionary intelligences hint at the emergence of hive-mind. Visit us on the new Integral City Website and Blog and post a comment about the vibrant place you call the Human Hive.
Meshful Blessings for all Human Hive Places
Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Constellation Core Team
PS Here are some Free Resources for nurturing Place in the Human Hive:
- Three Online Video Tutorials with Diane Hamilton
- Kosmos Online Newsletter: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves
- Integral City Blogs on Place:
- What Part of the Master Code is Not Working for the Human Hive?
- New Cities in China
- Neo-Cities – Considerations for Design
- Celebrating the City