Integral City Reflective Organ – September Equinox 2017: Architecting Around Crisis & Sustainability to Aliveness in the Human Hive

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.

What inspires you about your place? How do you define place? What qualities of the place(s) you love makes you feel FULLY ALIVE? Do you agree that Beauty inspires aliveness and vice versa?

Fundamentally, I consider that Placecaring and Placemaking are inextricably interlinked into a whole. But, the way that I have learned to hold that whole, is through keeping in mind what I have come to call the Master Code of the Integral City. The Master Code simply says:

  • Care for Yourself.
  • Care for Each Other.
  • Care for this Place.
  • Care for this Planet.

In this Master Code context, I am using the word “Place” to represent the city and “Planet” to represent the Planet of Cities … When we can care like this simultaneously with all 4 Voices, in all situations in the city, then we will have mastered and integrated the wholeness that is Place and the functions that enable the well-being of Gaia’s Reflective Organ.

Hamilton, M. (2017). Integral City Inquiry & Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive. Tucson, AZ: Integral Publishers, p. xxvii-xxviii

Beyond Sustainable Development to Living Fully Alive

The assumption which most inspires me about the city is one I learned from James Lovelock, author of the Gaia hypothesis.  Despite all the shortcomings that plague humanity and which  we in turn visit upon our mother planet, Gaia, Lovelock suggests we are evolving as Gaia’s Reflective Organ.

I build upon that thesis and contend that in fact our cities have the potential to become Gaia’s Reflective Organ (GRO). As individuals we are the cells of the organ. Our organizations act like organelles in that organ.

While I am currently writing Book 3 in the Integral City series I have been contemplating how GRO is linked to living systems. I always go back to the definition of a living system that Fritjof Capra (a physicist) offered to provide a foundation for thinking about this. A living system must demonstrate three basic capacities – to survive, connect with its environment and regenerate.

Evolution biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris has been most helpful in unpacking those three  processes into 15 Principles of Living Systems. …

Could it be that the success of the designs of our habitats should be tracked against a measure of how much they enable us to feel FULLY ALIVE? Is that the criteria that will give us the momentum to become Gaia’s Reflective Organs (and Organ system as a Planet of Cities)?

If that were the case then we might adapt Integral City’s 5 maps to track the dynamics of aliveness. A new visit to the 2013 blogs (see links to 5 Maps below) that explored those 5 maps reveals a wealth of indicators (derived from the living systems qualities of Pattern Dynamics) for tracking the evolution of the reflective capacity in Gaia’s Reflective Organs. As such they offer measures of inner depth and verticality that seem to be missing in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s discussed below). And I don’t think we will accomplish the SDG’s without them….more …for full article click here.

Placecaring and Placemaking for Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has just released its first report on US Cities Sustainable Development Goals Index 2017. The report ranks US cities against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be attained by 2030 as adopted by the UN in 2015.

SDG Goal 11 was to create resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities and the SDSN has designed a report rating US cities to encourage them to organize themselves around the 17 Goals as a framework for strategic sustainable change.

The report has an impressive traffic light dashboard reporting on all 17 goals for 100 US Cities (Metro Statistical Areas). …

Because Integral City has analysed the predecessor set of Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) against our proposition that sustainability must be viewed from an evolutionary lens, we were curious how the 17 SDG’s would measure up against the same filter.

To provide the background for our observations (which are being incorporated into Chapter 15 of our Book 3 in the Integral City series) we introduce our graphic analysis of World Threats in terms of the 6 evolutionary levels contained in the Anthroposphere and Biosphere (based on Dr. Brian Eddy’s Integral Geographic analysis of world evolution).

Our evolutionary analysis reveals that the SDG’s certainly emphasized goals related to the Anthroposphere or psycho-cultural-social domains – where 12/17 of the goals reside. And we are encouraged to see that the other 5 geological plates have SDG’s assigned to them (some of which overlap more than one level) as set out [in the full article] …

The question we are most curious about, is how the cities and their indices are linked to the worldviews of the 4 Voices of each city – the Civic Managers, Citizens, Business and Civil Society  – who call one of those 100 cities “my place”. How will their worldviews impact the use they make of resources, setting intentions and making decisions for sustainably developing their cities? … more  … read full article here.

New Urban Crisis – Plurality Analysis Needs Wholistic Integral City Frame

Professor of Cities, Richard Florida has reconsidered the consequences of cities pursuing the creative class as a desirable strategy for their success (subject of his book The Rise of the Creative Class). In his new book The New Urban Crisis: How our Cities are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class – And What We Can Do About It, Florida faces some of the unintended consequences of what I would call a “mono-culture” approach to city design (also seemingly attractive to Elon Musk and his neo-city ideas and China with their empty ghost cities).

After exploring the data, he has collected on the many ways he observes multiple types of segregation impacting US cities (including extreme competition, elites, gentrification, inequalities, suburban malaise), Florida arrives at Chapter 10 where he proposes 7 pillars for creating conditions for “urbanism for all” (primarily in the USA).

Florida concludes with a grand sweep across history that shows cities have always been the engines of “innovation, economic growth, diversity, tolerance and social progress.”

Integral City would suggest that in order for this to happen these 7 Pillars could be strengthened in these ways:

  1. Beyond being city-centric or meta-city centric or even trans-nationally city-centric, cities need to consider their contribution to the wellbeing of Gaia. What would happen if we reframed our urban crises in terms of finding the wellbeing and direction in our cities for them to become Gaia’s Reflective Organ? How would raising our context for change shift our overview of impact and outcome?
  2. While Florida has noted that the super cities he names have discovered planet-scale purposes (like trade for NYC and finance for London), it should be the job of all cities to discover their greater purpose in service to the planet. From there, they could develop a shared vision with the 4 Voices of the city and a strategy to implement it that would make effective use of city resources.
  3. Florida (and some other urban thought leaders) has considered the psychology of the city (as in Who’s Your City?and he demonstrates that he values schooling and early development for children. However, he appears to be uninformed about adult development and the implications this has for cities. So many of his arguments could be reframed and recalibrated if only he recognized that the great divides in cities are often (if not always) rooted in consciousness and culture. Only when we are able to act on those developmental patterns by finding the centre of (developmental) gravity that influences worldview, relationships, values and decision making, will we have the means to implement Florida’s ideas for change.
  4. Because Florida does not offer a planet-centric overview to context the life of cities, he is lacking the power of the Master Code (Taking Care of Self, Others, Place, Planet). Therefore, Florida’s strategies also lack the energy of Placecaring that is a prerequisite to the kind of Placemaking that he envisages. …. more … to read full article click here.

Upcoming Integral City Events with Place Purpose

Sept. 25 – 29, 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 CitiesClick here for information and Registration.

October 9-13 2017 . The WE-Space Summit 2017 Online .

Integral City We-Space authors explore 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. Register here for 5 days of FREE interviews and WE-Space resources.

 Sept. 28 – Oct. 31, 2017 –Boulder, Colorado. Gaia Orion Exhibits Brush for Change,  Integral Art at Boulder Integral Integral City is honored to sponsor this exhibit. Gaia’s work resonates strongly with the Spirit of Integral City and the spirit at the heart of the four Voices of the Integral City. Come view the aesthetic that reflects the Evolutionary Intelligences inspiring us in our ‘human hives’ to feel FULLY ALIVE.

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 – Creating Together the Future of Cities Now – congress at Universistat Rovira i Virgilii . Integral City will be coaching, offering master classes and speaking with the 4 + 1 Voices of Reus and eco-region. Connecting to regional ecologies for city change and cultural evolution. Check website www.hubcoevolucio.org for details (under construction at date of publication.)

Nov. 2017 – Moscow, Russia – With Skolkova and Living Cities, Russia, Integral City will present lecture and workshops and launch Book 2. Topics will include Replacing VUCA Threats with Prosperity Strategies for Living Cities. For details contact marilyn@integralcity.com

April 11-14, 2018 Findhorn Scotland – Integral City 4.0 – Creating the Future of Cities Now. 3 day retreat exploring the futures of city systems, organizations and leadership development. Registration and website coming soon. For inquiries contact marilyn@integralcity.com

Architects Aligning with Integral City Framework

Integral City is delighted to see that as our work matures in the world and becomes more widely known we can point to architects who are implementing design approaches that support and/or add to the Integral City Model. This quarter we are pleased to introduce or re-acquaint you with three significant architects (four if you count Gaia Orion who trained as an architect – see above).

First off we want to let you know that Architect Christopher Alexander and his close associates have launched a new Masters in Architecture curriculum in Naples, Italy.

Secondly we would like you to meet Architect Wendy Hastrich who has developed an approach to honouring the land as client. Wendy resides in Australia and calls her process and new firm Deep Earth Architecture.

Thirdly we share with you UK Architect, Integral Coach and Integral Without Borders Co-Founder, Paul van Schaik‘s  5th Hub Graphic Book.

Read on for more details

Building Beauty

Christopher Alexanders’s Community of Practice are establishing a new program in Naples, Italy, at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University – Building Beauty: Ecologic Design and Construction Process.  A brochure describing the course can be downloaded here.

This first year is a Masters in Architecture program, as the basis for a new school of architecture that will grant PhD’s in year three and do ongoing research.

Student registration was open till mid-September 2017 – but inquiries can be made any time. Financial aid is available.

This program will not only give access to Alexander’s work life-changing work through a hands-on design curriculum, it also aims to provide Building Beauty scholarships for students in need, including those from disadvantaged neighbourhoods and developing countries. The school intends to include students in Naples who could be involved in later projects that can help restore neighbourhoods in the city. Hence, they have established a crowdfunding campaign – here.

Deep Earth Architecture is an enhanced site analysis process developed by Australian Architect, Wendy Hastrich.  The process of Deep Earth Architecture engages each parcel of Land where people want to use the Land for a new or refurbished purpose.

Wendy considers that all the memories of the previous lives that have lived on the Land exist within the Land.  The Land wants balance.  The Land wants recognition for the important role it plays in supporting human invention and wants a place at the table when developing the Design Brief.  It wants a partnership where the history of the metaphor and archetypal responses are acknowledged within a new language that speaks to the Land. Each site is unique.  The end result from the site analysis process  effectively creates a musical score for a tune of collaboration between the Land and its users. Wendy’s website is underdevelopment – check for updates at www.deepeartharchitecture.com

Paul van Schaik’s HUB Series of Books on Thriveable Cities.

This book is one in a series of presentations for the use of Integral theory or an Integral meta-framework in understanding cities and urban design. Although each can stand alone, taken together they give a more rounded appreciation of how this broader framework can help in the analysis and design of thriveable urban environments. Key to an Integral approach to urban design is the notion that although other aspects of urban life are important, people, as individuals and communities, are the primary ‘purpose’ for making cities thriveable. All other aspects (technology, transport & infrastructure, health, education, sustainability, economic development, etc.) although playing a major part, are secondary. This work shows the graphics from a dynamic deck that accompany a presentation on Thriveable Cities. The history of the co-evolution of cities, worldviews and technology is presented in an integral framework.

Urban Hub 5 is a live document and the pdf and hardcopy versions will be up dated periodically www.integralmentors.org

Hardcopies and Kindle versions of Urban HUBs 1 to 5 are available from Amazon in many countries

Celebrating Place on our Planet-of-Cities in the Coming Quarter of 2017

September 21 marks the start of what Integral City calls the Place Quarter (from September 21 to December 20). What inspires you about your place? How do you define place? What qualities of the place(s) you love makes you feel FULLY ALIVE? Do you agree that Beauty inspires aliveness and vice versa?

Visit us on the our Integral City Website and Blog or post a comment about places that are evolving, changing, and becoming more sustainable on our Facebook page.

Meshful Blessings for our Planet of Cities from

Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Constellation Corps Team

PS Here are some FREE resources for Placecaring and Placemaking in the Human Hive:

  1. Integral City’s 5 Maps:

    Map 1: The Four Quadrant Eight Level Map of Reality 

    Map 2: The Nested Holarchy of City Systems

    Map 3: The Scalar Fractal Relationship of Micro-Meso-Macro Human Systems

    Map 4: The Complex Adaptive Structures of Change

    Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

  2. Explorations About the Meaning of Place:

    Integral City Community Practise Placecaring and Placemaking

    Finding Bearings about Place

    An Intuitive Walk Through Amsterdam

    Relationship to Place

    Finding the Right Place

    How is Your City Your Habitat?

    Searching for our Right Place

    Post Script: Sorting into Birth Order as Right Place

    From Home Base to New Place and Back Again

  3. Sahtouris’ Principles of Livings Systems:

4. Book Review: Cohering the Integral City We-Space: A Resource for Catalyzing Gaia’s Reflective Organ

5. Integral City InfoGraphic: 5 Wisdoms of the Human Hive

6. Guest Blog (D.C. Douglas): Engaging Change through Whole-self and Whole-systems Exploration

About the Author:

HI I am the Founder of Integral City Meshworks Inc. and Chief Blogger. Working with cities and eco-regions, I ‘meshwork’ or weave people, purpose, priorities, profits, programs and processes to align contexts, grow capacity and develop strategies for sustainability and resilience in the Integral City. You can read more details about me here http://integralcity.com/about/about-the-founder/

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