Guiding Step Two: Identifying Assumptions for a Planet of Cities

Assumptions in the city arise not only from the four voices of the city – but from the worldviews being expressed in those voices.


Worldviews emerge from the beliefs of what is important around here and how those values are translated by the city’s voices.

In the most basic ego-centric way, assumptions are implicit – how do I access the basics of life (food, shelter, clothing)? how do I fit into my family? how am I earn my living (or not)?

When these needs are met, more complex ethno-centric assumptions build upon them – what language do we use to communicate within our groups or clans (the one from our home country, our special dialect or the one(s) we learn in school)? how does our group or neighbourhood relate to other groups or neighbourhoods (in being entitled to schooling or healthcare) ? how do we practise and express our spiritual and religious assumptions? who are our leaders and who are the authorities we follow?

Smaller cities have traditionally been able to coalesce around shared ethno-centric assumptions.

But as a city grows in size, the multiplicity of ethno-centric assumptions can make the Tower of Babel seem like an apt metaphor for the mixture of voices and clashes of worldviews that vie for air-space and audience.

Large cities that mature create a city-centric worldview that embraces the multiple ethno-centric and ego-centric assumptions into a coherent perspective of how the city can be governed for the greatest benefit of all.  With a city-centric worldview we can make decisions about the infrastructure that supports Citi-Zens’ daily life; the relationships that Civil Society can bridge between ethno-centric groups; the resources needed for thriving Business; and the governance that City Hall, Education and Healthcare institutions require to coordinate city-centric functions.

The most mature cities go beyond even a city-centric set of assumptions and realize that they are part of a Planet of Cities – that their exchange of resources and commerce depends on assumptions about planetary economy; that their exchange of ideas produces assumptions contributing to planetary generativity; that their demands on the environment require assumptions about evolution, sustainability and resilience; and that their cultural embrace of the shared story about their city on the planet, emerges a world-centric set of assumptions that aligns ego-ethno-city-world-centric assumptions and connects cities together as a Planetary System of Cities.

When you consider this holarchy of worldviews – what assumptions do you hold about your city? How do your assumptions impact the way you practise the Master Code for the Human Hive?

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/


  1. […] Step 2 is to use the analysis from Step 1 to identify the assumptions that are in operation. An example of this kind of analysis is to notice what voice(s) your city […]

  2. Rosalinda I. Acevedo January 17, 2013 at 6:30 am - Reply

    There is evidence that the developmental process that transforms one’s sense-making toward taking a broader perspective occurs in successive stages or levels, each of which integrates learning from the prior stages into a more complex structure (Richards and Commons; Cook-Greuter “Making the Case for a Developmental Perspective”; Rooke and Torbert; Kegan; Fisher, Kenny and Pipp; Cook-Greuter “Postautonomous Ego Development: A Study of Its Nature and Measurement”). The stages form a tiered system. At the first tier, leaders at the pre-conventional level are guided by their needs, which results in ego-centric behavior. At the second tier, conventional leaders take on a socio-centric or ethno-centric view, where concern for others is limited to their immediate circle – their work group, family, company, or nation. At the last tier, post-conventional leaders take a world-centric view that encompasses the entire planet.

  3. […] the Discovery Stage 1 of the Appreciative Inquiry model. Now that we have completed an Analysis, discovered our Assumptions, made sense of the city with integrally informed Information and shifted our Perspectives – […]

  4. […] How to prototype use cases that combine the power of Linked Open Data and AI with collaborative civic technologies for strengthening real democracy in the political ecosystemof the current shift from a planet of nations to a planet of cities? […]

Leave A Comment