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.
Designing on, with, and as the Integral City derives from our understanding of the developmental capacities that evolve in the people who act as designers. In the Smart City those designers are typically technically trained professionals and experts like architects, engineers, city planners, and information technology (IT) experts. Their designs are focused on the city as an external object or artefact over which they have expert control. In the Resilient City their designers embrace stakeholder input, so they design with a design team lead by a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) who seeks input from a broader group of contributors. In the Integral City those professionals and stakeholders transform themselves into designers who can experience, act, relate, and co-create as the living system that is the city itself.
Hamilton, M. (2017). Integral City Inquiry & Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive. Tucson, AZ: Integral Publishers, p. 190
Integral City Finds Evolutionary Allies Who Placecare and Placemake the Human Hive in Europe
In the second quarter of 2018, Integral City’s 4 Voices have interacted with willing and often unlikely allies of evolution across central and northern Europe.
In April 2018, we started with Integral City’s 4.0 workshop on Co-Creating the Future of Cities at the Findhorn Foundation Ecovillage in Scotland. Our allies here were the 4 Voices of the Ecovillage who volunteered their time and interest, so our sixteen participants could learn how to divine the wisdom of Findhorn’s core principles: Deep Inner Listening, Co-creating with Nature and Work is Love in Action. The participants applied methodologies from All Quadrants in assessing their own development as leaders and used interviews and charrettes to feedback to the New Findhorn Association recommendations for engagement, governance and housing policy. (See below for Integral City 4.0 2019 training dates at Findhorn International Centre for Sustainability.)
In May we moved to Lake Balaton, in Hungary, where we joined 600 other participants at the Integral Europe Conference 2018. We renewed significant links with the Teal Organizations spotlighted by the Enlivening Edge in their track, facilitated by Integral City Core Member Alia Aurami.
Five Integral City practitioners, catalysts and meshworkers from our Community of Practice – Diana Claire Douglas, Anne-Marie Voorhoeve, Pieter Wackers and Maria Prieto plus Marilyn Hamilton, presented workshops, highlights and living system methodologies while interacting with learner-leader researchers of Integral Practice from around the world.
In June the Netherlands Integral City Team visited Integral City Practitioners Patricia van der Haak and Carla Onderdelinden of Transitireizen (Transition Travels) in Arnhem, Netherlands. They introduced us to the “hood” where they have several projects – starting in the congenial surroundings of a local café. Then we visited a school which they are proposing become the centre for neighbourhood revitalization and retraining. As allies of energy evolution in the Netherlands – where the government is supporting all energy users to switch from non-renewable natural gas to renewable energy sources – Carla and Patricia hope to contribute to that sustainability goal by retraining residents of their “hood” to make the technical/equipment changeovers. As allies of evolution, they will build into their training not only new skills and systems, but in the process, wake up new mindfulness and community vibrancy in all 4 Voices.
Following the June visit to that very practical set of projects, Integral City Netherlands Co-Founder, Anne-Marie Voorhoeve hosted a systemic constellation, lead by Diana Claire Douglas of Knowing Field Designs, particularly for Pavel Luksha – co-author of the newly released report on Educational Systems for Global Transformation (see below for link). Eight allies of evolution, participated in the systemic constellation, inquiring into the question: What bridge do we need to build to change from the old paradigm (of education, cities, human hives) to enable the new paradigm to emerge? The Knowing Field revealed to our Integral City researchers that the bridge would not be material, nor linear (in chronology or method) but that a new relationship to Time would be our most potent ally of evolution.
Also, in early June, Marilyn Hamilton travelled to Oulu Finland to give the keynote at the 6AIKA Conference,sponsored by The Six City Strategy – a collaboration of Finland’s six largest cities projects who have joined forces. Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa, Oulu and Turku – are home to some 30% of the population. As a result, their joint development projects are of national importance. Based on solution-oriented thematic collaboration rather than geographical region, this unique initiative boosts city co-operation to go beyond rhetoric.
The invitation to 6AIKA had come from Integral City 4.0 graduate, Taina Ketola who has been the city of Tampere’s lead collaboration facilitator for this project for the last four years. Marilyn stepped up to be an ally of Smart Cities and Resilient Cities – as the 6 cities in the 6AIKA group had been practising. Not surprisingly, the ally that Marilyn offered was the Placecaring Ally who could join with their significant work in the Placemaking collaborations for technology and systems. (See link to video recording below under Free Resources.) Placecaring methodologies were welcomed as the natural next step for the cities to evolve into after completing their Agile Pilots and Smart City Prototypes. Civic managers were all curious to learn how to open hearts, expand mindsets and connect community.
At the end of June, Marilyn returned to Amsterdam for the Wemakethe.city Festival. Opening night was headlined by Kate Raworth and her “Doughnut Economics”. Most surprisingly the entire program for 2.5 hours was delivered by women (except for introductions from Amsterdam Vice-Mayor, and the Festival Director, and the interlude poet and guitarist entertainers). (For those who have recently despaired of the UN Status of Women endeavours this is an extraordinary event and milestone for (wo)manifesting feminine impact in the world.)
In Amsterdam, Integral City delivered a Preview to a tour of 10 Russians from Living Cities Forum Russia on June 20. Pieter Wackers, Anne-Marie Voorhoeve and Marilyn Hamilton gave the Russian tour group, the lenses of Integral City Intelligences and Voices to enjoy the festival and see Amsterdam. We participated in the rich program of the Festival for 5 days – visiting the Pakhuis, the Foodhallen, the Wasteland and the Vondalpark venues.
We remarked on the resonance of Toni Griffin’s “Just City Values” with Integral City values and the interactive methodologies of Action Research that she used at her workshop in the Pakhuis.
Later in the week, on June 22, Integral City also delivered a Placecaring/Placemaking workshop as part of the Festival and to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of longstanding allies and colleagues at Impact Hub Amsterdam’s Unlikely Allies Day.
What We Learned
Here are some of the insights we have gathered from the multitudes of people that we interacted with across Europe in the last quarter:
- The time is ripe for Integral City’s 4 Voices and Intelligences of Care, Consciousness & Culture to take active roles in city evolution.
- The 4 Voices of the City make a difference to build capacity beyond the Smart and Resilient Cities.
- Working as partners, teams and meshworkers, Integral City Practitioners amplify energies – their own and the cities they work with.
- Integral City is connecting Practitioners, Catalysts and Meshworkers within cities, amongst cities, between countries and across regions.
- The Planet of Integral Cities is becoming visible in the region of Europe as the political and eco-regional contexts of Europe’s cities evolve.
Lent’s The Patterning Instinct Reveals Sources of Brain & Cultural Diversity
In 2017, we highlighted the importance of Geoffrey West’s book as a new exploration of the science of cities. In
Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies and Companies,West demonstrated 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 noted that 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 Jeremy Lent’s The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning, we are transported through a detailed account of how culture has impacted the capacities of our brains – and vice versa. Moreover, Lent dares to explore how the history of western and eastern culture has led to fundamental differences in the worldviews of these cultures. Lent’s proposition that we have evolved brains with differences may explain the most basic variances in Chinese political choices (and explain why theirs is the longest continuous national culture on the globe) and Indo-Euro-American approaches. It may well explain why for west and east “never the twain shall meet”.
The relevance for Integral City evolution is to understand that the cultural contexts for eastern and western cities may be so significantly different that the relationships between the 4 Voices, expectations for outcomes and even the desirability of certain visions or goals will demand alternative sensitivities and modalities for engagement. Lent seems to propose that the western predisposition for human development is to emphasize the individual as the locus of evolution, while in the east the locus appears to be the collective.
From a global perspective, this suggests that two different cultural ecologies have evolved and their capacity for interpenetration and interactivity may demand more complex strategies and depths of engagement than hitherto considered. The question that Integral City ponders, is how both individual and collective worldviews can avoid the tragedy of the commons in relating to Mother Earth? Might it be necessary for the very survival of humanity that individual and collective cultures learn quickly how to cross-focus cultural capacities on the natural environmental systems and ecologies that support us in our existence?
Integral City Evolutionary Alliances: Reports, Compositions, Interactions