Last month I visited Leon Mexico where I met the Citizen’s Observatory and together we all met the Mixteca indigenous peoples who have moved to the city. The Mixteca have created their own urban culture (beside the railway tracks) from the strength of the stories they bring from their traditional ways. Their stories of daily life, spiritual practice, making a living, raising children and respecting differences, quickened the way that we thought about making change in the whole city. Much to our surprise this catalyzed co-creativity that supported everything from reviving the city spirit and centre, to transportation, commerce, education and health care.

Stories have a way of linking the subjective and intersubjective realities in the city. They represents the interior realities of individuals and groups of people in the Human Hive. Sharing stories shares experiences that arise from peoples’ objective and interobjective exterior realities. They convey the values and visions of people who co-create all cultural expression in the city.

Taken together, we have four voices in the city who share their perspectives. Every language makes room for these voices by the use of pronouns indicating who is speaking their view: I, We/You, Him/Her, Them. These four perspectives are the voices of the four quadrants of the integral model of the city and the four particular voices of: the Citizen, Civil Society, the City Manager, and City Developer. Each of these voices contributes to the intersubjective discourse of the city.

One of my deepest learnings about stories comes from Barry Lopez,  He says, ” stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes, a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put stories in each other’s memories. That is how how people care for themselves.” (Crow and Weasel)

Following through on the power of storytelling for the wellbeing of the Human Hive, here are three simple rules that can quicken the experience of Integral City Cultural Intelligences:

1. Respect others – appreciate the differences that make a difference.

2. Listen deeply.- cultural communication deepens more quickly with adept listening.

3. Speak your story, and enable others to speak theirs – this co-creates communities of story tellers. As the stories complexify they eventually become stories of integral practise.


This blog is a prologue to the Integral City webinar conference  City 2.0 Co-Creating the Future of the Human Hive . We are inventing a new operating system for the city.  Click to get more details re the Free Expo and eLaboratory membership  scheduled September 4-27  2012. You are invited to attend and participate.