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.
Human social structures create energetic fields whose effects can be measured. At the moment, those measures are rather primitive—for example, we can measure the increase in the heat of a room when large groups are gathered. We can measure how people vote when they are hooked up to a voting machine. We can even measure statistical significance in objective outcomes from seemingly intersubjective effects of staring at a distance or of healing prayer directed by many to a single person. As our instruments and understanding improve, we will come to see that biophysical proximity creates conditions for collective epistemologies (ways of knowing) that are only just now being researched methodically. As our instruments and our understanding complexify, we will be able to measure not only time span of work roles, but mind-span of intentions, and we will understand how to structure social forms to optimize such ways of knowing and how to design built structures to amplify them. (See sidebar on Biological Mimicry for examples on p.156.)
Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p.158
How Do Integral City Intelligences, Inquiries & Actions Optimize Collective Impact?
In this 2017 newsletter we remember How to Optimize Integral Practise while we point to significant gatherings that offer bright lights, re-frames and tools for surviving VUCA and even measuring progress!!
VUCA was the theme of 2016’s people-focused Newsletter. We suggested ways to survive, with Integral City approaches, the pervasive sense of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Over the last year VUCA has intensified around the world, literally striking through acts of terrorism that take advantage of the convergence of human systems in cities, to make the biggest negative impact possible. In the light of such distressing experiences (designed to create incessant “noise” in the media), it is difficult to find, let alone anchor, positive or optimistic perspectives to counter depression about the human condition.
But in this issue we meet several communities of practise; a researcher of the science of cities; and a growing schedule of events designed as extended learning opportunities. All seem to underscore the indomitable, highly adaptable, evolutionary intelligence that optimizes the human spirit.
Tamarack Community of Practise Creates Movement for Collective Impact
Tamarack Institute has long taken the lessons of complexity to apply them to improving the conditions of communities. It has even stated one of its driving intentions is to end poverty in Canada. Tamarack is no “feel good” not-for-profit, but one that confronts the dragons of intractable problems with practices, based in complexity and compassion, that demand courage, collaboration and research.
One of its most demanding practices (and collaborations) has been the application of a leadership framework for Collective Impact (originally framed by Kania and Kramer of FSG in 2011) that uses 5 dimensions. The original leadership framework was recognized as Management that set out to collaborate for collective success in communities with a framework of 5 conditions:
- A Common Agenda
- Shared Measurement
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities
- Continuous Communication
- A Backbone Organization.
After 6 years’ experience in the Collective Impact field, Tamarack (Cabaj, Weaver, 2017) has recently proposed the evolution of its own approach to Collective Impact. In this process, Tamarack leaders have recognized how the evolution of the 5 conditions of Collective Impact have transformed from somewhat fixed standards to conditions that flex and flow.
Conditions of Collective Success
At the Collective Impact 3.0 Conference, held in May 2017, the Tamarack Team and invited faculty explored the 5 conditions with Case Studies, Investor Commentary and key voices of the city. From the diversity of people attending the conference, Tamarack demonstrated how their leadership had evolved from “mere” management to Building a Movement. The movement seemed evidenced by the collaborators participating from a wide geography including distinct communities and cities, from as far afield as Australia, Moncton New Brunswick, Cleveland Ohio, Calgary Alberta, Ottawa Ontario, Durant Oklahoma and Abbotsford BC. Capacity builders from the Tamarack Institute Team shared tables with peers of public and private granting institutions, facilitators and community developers.
Tamarack created the conditions at the conference, for individual tables to explore through Systems Perspectives how to coalesce Community Aspirations around a superordinate goal like creating a community of supports for an “archetypal but specifically named” unemployed worker – e.g. “George”. They went on to align a system of Strategic Learning that can be resourced and deliver results to meet the needs of George and thereby the larger community.
(Integral City would recognize these designs as Navigating, Meshworking and Inquiry Intelligences at work.)
Through Keynotes and Deeper Dive Workshops, the Tamarack Team invited participants to role-play Inclusive Community Engagement and to synthesize the experience of learning together into Containers for Change. (Integral City recognizes the Intelligences of Meshworking, Inquiry and Evolution at play.)
Thus, Tamarack co-created what Integral City might call a Learning Lhabitat. In fact, Integral City’s Marilyn Hamilton presented a workshop at Collective Impact 3.0 to share our methods and experience of working with Durant Oklahoma to achieve Collective Impact over the last 4 years. With Durant Integral City translated the Intelligences of Inquiry, Navigating and Meshworking into Placecaring and Placemaking. We worked with the Imagine Durant not-for-profit organization to collaborate with the 4 Voices of the City to translate Cultural and Structural Intelligences into strategies that will realize a common Vision in the decades ahead. (You can read the blogs describing this in the blog links below).
With Tamarack’s approach to Becoming a Movement of Collective Impact, I find strong resonance with both Integral City’s 12 Intelligences (Book 1) and Inquiry, Action and Impact (Book 2). Their sources of structure and strategies in many ways reflect the conditions for Collective Impact that I aspired to in both books with explorations of Collective Intelligence.
Integral City practitioners, catalysts and meshworkers, can learn much from Tamarack Institute’s learning journey, expressed in elegant complexity and practical generosity through books, articles and toolkits available at its excellent website for community change. Start exploring by clicking here.
Check out the link below for Tamarack’s Community Change Institute 2017 in Vancouver with the theme of Cities of the Future. Integral City would love to meet you there!!
West’s Scale Offers a Science of Cities
While Tamarack introduced us to partners enabling collective capacity building at the micro scale, May 2017, also marked the month when Geoffrey West published a long-awaited resource on the science of cities.
Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies and Companies walks the reader carefully through explanations for complexity, scaling and fractals. West and co-researchers not only propose a basis for the science of cities, but how the same laws might govern a science of companies. West applies his knowledge of physics to its application to biology and sustainability – at multiple scales right up to the scale of the planet.
West identifies 4 dimensions that all organisms share and which explain the fractal patterns of their living systems:
- Space Filling Network
- Terminal Invariance
- Energy Optimization
- Time – Birth/Growth, Aging, Death
As a physicist, West uncovers the relationships between energy, matter and information through the qualities of these dimensions that explain everything from the size and proportion of living systems; their expected lifespan; how they metabolize energy; and the structure and relationship of networks as complex as neural networks in brains and as common as the number of gas-stations in cities.
West and his co-researchers have had access to the extraordinary data sets that exist in public and private research archives to demonstrate the patterns that collective capacity makes possible through super-linearity – i.e. what enables economies of scale to enable increasing returns to scale – and sub-linearity – i.e. what causes collectives to reduce needs for infrastructure because of economies of scale.
I have exclaimed in a series of blogs on West’s Scale insights on my delight that a science of cities has emerged since I wrote Book 1, Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. (See links to blogs below.) It was precisely in pursuit of a science of cities that I set out to explore what became the Integral City’s 12 Intelligences.
However, in returning to those 12 intelligences, I find a seed of difference in the conclusions that Scale and Integral City arrive at regarding humans. As I understand, Scale, humans are considered to be invariant terminals in a human system. But as I proposed in the blogs, it is the study of adult development that suggests that humans are very invariant terminals when considered from an integral perspective.
As a good physicist, West conjectures about the objective and inter-objective qualities of human systems, including cities. But his own personality – which shines beautifully through his writing (and hints of attraction to spirituality) – along with his collaborations with other researchers, reveals the qualities of subjective and intersubjective reality that are largely omitted from his treatise.
In fact, when looking at both Tamarack’s Collective Impact Conditions (see above) and West’s Fractal Scale dimensions, the measures for consciousness and culture (what I call Placecaring in Book 2) cry out for recognition.
While West’s Science of Cities offers valuable and necessary quantitative analysis that contributes to understanding the emergence of cities, an equally rigorous approach to qualitative research is needed for exploring consciousness and culture in cities. In Book 2 I attempt to map those out as Placecaring and suggest they need to be matched with those conditions and dimensions for Placemaking, explored by West at the macro scales of human systems.
In future writing, I look forward to integrating West’s quantitatively researched insights with Integral City’s qualitatively informed insights for an advanced science of Integral Cities.
How to Optimize Measures of Impact and Going to Scale
With Tamarack’s learning journey and West’s research, I recall the question explored by Roger Walsh in 2014 at the IEC conference “How Can We Optimize Integral Practice?”. I now ask, “How can such optimization give Integral City practitioners a way to impact Collective intentions and outcomes, with the many Placecaring practices of Tamarack, complemented by the Placemaking, approaches explored by West in his science of cities?”
Roger Walsh, speaking to participants at IEC 2014 offered 7 practices that would enable any integrally-informed practitioner to optimize their performance in all quadrants. I am curious if we took these 7 practices to Tamarack’s Collective Impact Movement and West’s Scaling Science of Cites if we would grow our capacities in both spheres.
Here in brief are ways that might work. (See the original blog series as noted below.)
- Adult Development – By recognizing ego, ethno, world, Kosmo-centric capacities of adult development, we enable progressively larger perspectives to widen our circles of compassion and care – both for collective capacity and acting at scale. Effective adult development builds capacity in all 4 quadrants, thus enabling Caring Capacity (left-hand quadrants to expand and complement Carrying Capacity (right-hand quadrants)
- Contemplative Discipline – By adapting any of the contemplative disciplines from the world’s great belief systems we create still space to contemplate the wisdoms that lie at the core of all beliefs that contribute to Collective Intelligence and underpin scales of connection from family size to planet size.
- Transconventional Religion – By recognizing that no religion can offer “one right way”; but that all religions can learn from one another’s conventional precepts, it may be possible to find a shared path to collective impact and scaling solutions.
- Community of Integral Practise – Integral Practise transcends and includes the core practices of pre-modern, modern, post-modern and systemic domains. It does not leave behind what serves cultures and structures well, but recalibrates basic practices to serve greater and greater complexity.
- Integral Practitioners – We recognize that each practitioner may have gifts and experience that can be brought together for collaboration with other practitioners with “gifts differing”. In this way, it is possible to collaborate and co-create strengths at every node of the supply chain and community networks into a meshwork of aligned practices and practitioners.
- Spiritual Practise – Integral perspectives rest on the principles that Spirituality arises from relationship with the Source of consciousness and all reality. Spiritual practise is a necessary daily, in-the-moment, repeated practise that enables thought, action, relationships and creativity even in the face of VUCA conditions. Spiritual practice gives strength to individuals and enables collective energy and power.
- Accomplice to the Divine – Divine service can be framed as an ultimate cause and result of living by the principles of complexity. Giving up one’s individual will to the will of the Divine creates conditions for collective impact and discerning the archetypes and the dimensions of the Divine at all scales.
Thus, the possibilities for Collective Impact and the insights of Scale can be amplified by optimizing with Walsh’s Integral Practices. If Integral City practitioners set these practices as guidelines for personal and professional development, imagine what impact, insights and intelligences we could grow for our cities through Placecaring movements and Placemaking science that would co-create a Planet of Integral Cities?
Integral City Collaborations: Webinars, Guest Blogs, Interviews
Integral City joined with Integral Without Borders to present a webinar on Follow the Energy: Find the 4 Voices. This is a great backgrounder to the interview given by Lev Gordon of Living Cities, Russia. The importance of the 4 Voices is becoming a resounding chorus that marks Integral City collaborations. You can watch or listen to the webinar on the YouTube link here:
Gail Hochachka wrote about Making Sense of Trump’s Exit from the Paris Accord”. Integral City welcomed as guest-blogger, Gail Hochachka, Co-Founder of Integral Without Borders (which now includes Integral City on its Board of Directors). Gail offers interesting and relevant framing of international affairs, where the 4+1 Voices of the City can take positions that step around national politics and choose to speak and act on behalf of the Master Code of serving Planet, Places and People. Read more here or at the link below.
Lev Gordon, co-founder of Living Cities gave us an interview on Living Cities in Russia. They have an amazing goal to engage 1000 cities as Living Cities by 2035. Read more here or at the link below.
Upcoming Integral City Events with People Purpose
July 2017 – Tavrida, Crimea. Integral City will join with Living Cities to deliver a “laser-learning” webinar for 400 urbanists and architects from across Russia on Follow the Energy: 4 Voices of the Human Hive.
July 20 – 23, 2017 – Oakland California, IONS 2017 Conference The Science of What Connects Us”. Integral City presents a poster exhibit on the “12 Intelligences of the Integral City” – the science that connects us at city scale. Marilyn Hamilton, in attendance will offer copies of Book 2, Integral City Inquiry & Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive.
Click here for information and Registration.
September/October 2017 (dates and URL TBA). WE-Space Summit 2017 Online .
Integral City We-Space authors will be interviewed by Alicia Stammer, exploring their chapter We-Space, Integral City and the Knowing Field in the book Cohering We-Space: Engaging Collective Emergence, Wisdom and Healing in Groups. The Integral City Corps Team will join over one hundred other invited guests and contributors to the emerging field of We-Space. The Summit 2017 will showcase key collective practices to a growing global audience.
Sept. 27 – 30, 2017 – Vancouver, Canada, Cities of the Future: Co-Creating Tomorrow Tamarack’s 2017 Community Institute. Integral City presents a workshop on “Placecaring and Placemaking for the Future of Cities”. Click here for information and Registration.
Sept. 28 – Oct. 31, 2017 – Gaia Orion Exhibits Integral Art at Boulder Integral, co-sponsored by Integral City. (Stay-tuned for online curation by Gaia Orion, Marilyn Hamilton, Jeff Salzman, of the Art Exhibit related to the Future of Cities, live-streamed from Boulder to the Tamarack Cities of the Future Institute in Vancouver, Canada)
Oct. 23-25, 2017 – Cleveland, Ohio – Meeting of the Minds 2017 Annual Summit. Special Focus on Legacy City tools and best practices. Sessions feature solutions that are scalable, replicable and transferable from city-to-city and sector-to-sector. Discussions are couched in a deep understanding of technology and equity as key drivers for innovative cities. Click here for information and Registration.
Nov. 15-21, 2017 – Reus, Spain – Future of Cities Learning Laboratory. Integral City will be coaching, offering master classes and speaking with the 4 + 1 Voices of Reus and eco-region. Connecting to Smart City and City Protocol Society conferences in Barcelona. Registration details TBA.
Nov. 2017 – TBD – Moscow, Russia – With Living Cities, Russia, Integral City will present lecture and launch Book 2. Topics will include Follow the Energy for 4 Voices for Thriving Economy.