How do we create an education system for the City 2.0 that the TED Prize 2012 imagines? How can we learn to integrate education with innovation, culture, and economic opportunity? When might we agree to reduce the carbon footprint of City 2.0 occupants, facilitate smaller families, and ease the environmental pressure on the world’s rural areas?  What will inspire us to create  a place of beauty, wonder, excitement, inclusion, diversity, life? In short how do we learn to grow the city that works?

Integral City 2.0 knows education happens both informally and formally. Homo sapiens sapiens as a species conscious of its consciousness is a natural learning collective. Educations’ job in City 2.0 is to inquire on purpose – what makes our city work on purpose? How do we create learning capacity in, with and as citizens,  at the same time as we create learning capacity on, with and as a learning city of the planet?

City Education 2.0 embraces the cycle of life (as it emerges in individuals, in families, in cultures and neighbourhoods, the city as whole and its eco-region) to create a habitat for learning what works – as a never ending developmental journey for, with and as citizens of City 2.0.

The seeds for such an Integral Education System are emerging through the exploration of a community of learning practise. These pioneers have identified core practices for an Integral Education:

  • explore multiple perspectives – this means honouring multiple realities (as true but partial)
  • include multiple ways of learning – allow for the contributions of me, you, we and they
  • weave together the domains of self, culture and nature – respect the interconnection of people, place and planet
  • recognize the value of both critical thinking and the power of personal experience – honour logic and feeling
  • recognize learners and teachers both progress through developmental stages – create a habitat where they are aligned to take the next natural step that transforms them both
  • model and encourage personal practise – step out beyond the theory and “walk the talk” by experimenting, testing and coaching
  • embrace multiple intelligences – recognize the genius of relating as well as the genius of kinesthetics, art, math, music, spatiality ++++
  • take advantage of different types of learners and teachers – ensure learning is delivered with “different strokes for different folks”
  • don’t hide the shadows – but create the conditions for teachers and students to face and resolve dark histories, personal barriers and cultural trauma
  • honour differing approaches to education – invite in the strengths and accept the limits of traditional, wholistic, transformative, conventional and alternative approaches to learning

Read more about the history, approaches, case studies and future of Education Systems for Integral City 2.0 through the books Igniting Brilliance: Integral Education for the 21st Century and Integral Education: New Directions for Higher Learning.


Dea, W. (Ed.). (2010). Igniting Brilliance: Integral Education for the 21st Century. Tuscon, Arizona: Integral Publishers, LLC.

Esbjörn-Hargens, S., Reams, J., & Gunnlaugson (Eds.). (2010). Integral Education: New Directions for Higher Learning. Albany, NY: State University of New York.