Metropolitan World Atlas  (MWA)by Arjen van Susteren gives us a glimpse of what an atlas of Integral City acupuncture points might look like. MWA identifies 101 metroplitan areas of the world which include the world’s 50 largest cities, 25 largest seaports, 30 largest airports, 30 largest telecom ports and 12 other metropolitan areas.

The atlas identifies Population, Metro Development, Employment, Economy, Health, Crime, Density (Metro, Residential, Change), Traffic & Transport, Road Use, Railway Use, Climate and Pollution. 

Each area was approached in a uniform manner so that the resulting map for each location uses the same scale (1cm = 7.5 km). Statistics are displayed in two ways as a cartographic dot whose size indicates the relative numeric data (also presented).

Further statistics provide a context for each metro area: Land Elevation, Roads, IATA airports, Political Boundaries, Bodies of Water, Outlying Towns, Railways, Ports and Built-Up Development.

In the second section of the atlas each of the statistical topics is presented using the cartographic scaled dots to present an immediate visual comparison of metro areas across the globe related to each of the topics. An example shows the airports in each Metro area.

The Atlas summarizes its value as: “making it possible to clearly and objectively compare the differences and similarities between given regional urban configurations from several different angles and perspectives in pictures and figures with a common denominator.”

Although the Atlas begs to be re-published with updated data, it provides an interesting template for designing the Right Hand Quadrants of an Integral City Atlas. The key factors identified in the MW Atlas are all related to human population data (Upper Right)  and infrastructure/systems artefacts (Lower Right) data. However, it is the simple elegance of its design and presentation that appeals to my imagination for an All Quadrants Atlas.

In Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive, I propose in Chapter 11 (Navigating Intelligences) that new maps could be created for the city that reveal the Left Hand Quadrants of Qualitative Data from Levels of Consciousness (Upper Left) and Levels of Culture (Lower Left) along with the Right Hand Quadrants of Quantitative data represented by levels of complexity in the living systems (UR) and built city (LR). While Integral City uses an integral methodology to standardize the mix of metrics in All Four Quadrants – with a special demonstration and focus of the Left Hand Quadrants, the Metropolitan World Atlas offers a methodology for standardizing Right Hand Quadrant data that might prove an effective bridge between the Qualitative Left and Quantitative Right data sets.

I also imagine that the Integral Cities of the world would be connected along meridiens of economic/energetic exchange – like the acupuncture points of the world. A final intriguing image from MWA looks mysteriously like each of the 101 Metro Areas has an acumpuncture needle identifying the node!! This seem both synchronisitic and fortuitous for future consideration of mapping the wellbeing factors of the world with an integrally informed whole systems thinking methodology!!


VanSusteren, A. (2007). Metropolitan World Atlas. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.