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 Planet.
Popular wisdom urges us to examine human behavior so that the quality of human life can be improved. We focus on overpopulation, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as evidence of the mess and stress that humans have contributed to life on Earth. It is obvious that our behaviors affect not only our own species but virtually every other species with whom we share this planet. However threatening these undeniable conditions are, they are the very signals that indicate our next awakening to a deeper consciousness.
Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 70
Equinox Signs & Wonders Mark a New Story for our Planet of Cities
So many signs and wonders mark our shift of perspective in 2015 from the calendar quarter of Power to the calendar quarter of Planet. It is impossible not to be awed by these celestial events – but it is also possible to use them as a Kosmic fulcrum for thinking about a New Story for the city that is planetcentric.
Thinking like a planet brings into focus not only the fractal scales of life that impact the city (see the comments below in From City 2.0 to Nation 2.0) – but it also frames a New Story for all cities as members of a Planet of Cities. This New Story may be a stretch for those who do not follow the science and technology that is taking humans into space (whether that is close to planetary home like Virgin Galactic’s or Elon Musk’s Space X Tourism Trials – or at the farther reaches of the solar system where water has been discovered on Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons).
But every culture has a cosmology that explains the origins of their tribe (if not our species) and thus creates a lineage that explains how human settlements have come to pass. As those lineages have survived, matured and complexified through the stages of traditional, modern, post-modern and even integral, they have created a trajectory of stories that account for the emergence of each stage.
Some storytellers, are not merely historians – but are visionaries of futures yet to emerge. The idea of an Integral City as a complex living, evolutionary, integral human system has its roots not only in this trajectory of human histories – but also includes the lineages that trace our emergence from Kosmic consciousness, stardust, molecular building blocks and earliest lifeforms that account for our capacities and resilience today. (We remember fondly theaccounts shared in IC20C Interviews with the Thought Leaders of Eco-Intelligence William Rees and Brian Eddy; Emergence/Resilience Intelligence, Buzz Holling; and Living Intelligence Elisabet Sahtouris.)
However, when we gathered the 60 Thought Leaders, Designers and Practitioners for Integral City 2.0 Online Conference 2012, it was surprising to us that so many did not know each other’s work. Each had a New Story to tell about one or more of the Integral City 12 Intelligences – but many authors were still struggling for recognition within their field of expertise, not to mention outside that field.
An explanation for the asymmetric distribution of New Stories that relate to one another has been offered by Brian and Mary Nattrass, who ask: How ARE We To Go On Together: Our Evolutionary Crossroads. As pioneer practitioners of The Natural Step (to leading global manufacturers like Nike) the Nattrasses have learned the hard way that all New Stories have a growth curve. When the first visionary tells the New Story, it is considered as fantastic, futuristic and unrealistic. It is rejected by most as mere fable, but captured by a few “imagineers” who become champions of the New Story and even activists for its realization.
But every New Story encounters a gallery of critics and naysayers, with vested interests in the continuation of the Old Story. This sets up an active round of dissonances with the stability of Old Story pitted against the reframing of the New Story in negative terms. The Nattrasses speak to the early proponents of Sustainability creating the narrative for “Unsustainability”. This Critical Stage is a hard fight – and in the Planet of Cities started (and continues) with criticisms of urban pollution, overpopulation, sprawl and inner city blight.
The Critical Stage is a “refiner’s fire” where many activists burn themselves out. But those who survive (by dint of not just effort but by the energies of passion and purpose) discover a shift point away from the negative dissonances into encounters with positive dissonances.
In this Transformational stage design, science, experimentation and practice uncover new possibilities. Taxonomies of “Unsustainability” become replaced by taxonomies of “Smart Technologies”, “Smart Cities, “Renewability”, “Natural Systems” and “Resilience”.
The New Story is finally able to gain hold, after the Transformational stage has emerged new patterns of behaviour, economic successes, and technological results. When the New Story is at its peak, we can look backward and notice the resilience cycle that can be traced from early stage dissonances, to late stage breakdowns, through the desert of despair and finally into the refreshing sunlight of discovery that the New Story awakens for all.
Thanks to the Nattrass’s Story about the crossroads of evolutionary stories, it is easy to see that Integral City and a Planet of Cities is a new story about the life of cities. It may be a while before the stages of Criticism and Transformation complete. But from the perspective of a Planet of Cities, we can be attentive to the telling and re-telling of the New Story of Integral City.
The greater the dissonances the New Story creates in the audiences of the Old Story, the greater the tensions that will attract the New Story into our orbit (like the Super Moon), light up the skies of awakening (like the Aurora Borealis) and more quickly eclipse the Old Story with the New Story. Perhaps like the Equinox our stories hang in the middle of their trajectories between the dark of the Old Story about the city and the light of the New Story about Integral City?
(PS: For inspirations from How ARE We to Go on Together? Our Evolutionary Crossroads by Brian and Mary Nattrass, check out 3 Blogs that explore how the New Story of Integral City is being transformed at the individual, organizational and the climate issue level – see the links in the Resources section below.)
From City 2.0 to Nation 2.0: Prototyping Leadership for a Planet in Transition
The planetary view of the city seeded by Integral City 2.0 Online Conference (IC20C) has been transplanted to exploration of a Nation 2.0.
The last six months gave Integral City AQtivists an unexpected opportunity to focus on the scale of the Nation in human systems – specifically the Nation of Canada. As Guest and Associate Editors of Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue, Marilyn Hamilton and Joan Arnott had the honour to curate contributions from 25 Canadian authors. These authors explored leadership on all scales from Planet to Cultures, Organizations, Others and Self, using integral lenses from multiple lineages. They cast light on the special role that nations play in creating the trans-urban, trans-cultural habitat that connects cities in a single country. (See further observations in the Free Resources Items 2 and 3 below.)
Of special interest to readers of this newsletter, key contributors from IC20C demonstrated ongoing leadership with Integral Design and Practice expertise in this issue.
- IC20C Integral Thought Leader, Ken Wilber found a voice through the Book Review by Diana Claire Douglas of Vanessa Fisher and Sarah Nicholson’s recent release of (Re)Joining the Conversation: Commenting on Integral Voices on Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: Critical Inquiries
- IC20C Cultural Designer, Gail Hochachka explored Corporate Values Chains inIntegral Transformation of Value Chains: One Sky’s Integral Leadership Program in the Brazil Nut Value Chain in Peru and Bolivia
- IC20C Eco-Designer, Ian Wight explored Transformative Education in From Practice to Praxis – as Transformative Education: Leading at the Integral/Professional Interface?
- IC20C Inquiry Designer, Tam Lundy offered both Leadership Tip and a Practical Primer Guide for Leading Generative Change
- IC20C Producer and Interviewer Marilyn Hamilton brought Coaching Wisdom to the issue through an interview with Integral Coaching Canada co-founders Laura Divineand Joanne Hunt
- IC20C Speaker Coordinator, Linda Shore explored City Leadership in Is True Integral Leadership Possible?
- IC20C Evolutionary Intelligence Practitioner, Bruce Sanguin’s work was highlighted with a retrospective review of his 5 books by Trevor Malkinson.
- IC20C Interviewer & Chief Harvester, Beth Sanders explored Self-Leadership in Re-membering My Inherent Wilderness
Team ARGO: Meshworker of the Year 2014
Team ARGO in Izhevsk, Russia created Russia’s first citizen initiated and produced urban conference. Accomplishing “lift-off” in the first half of 2014 and subsequent dissemination of the best practices through 360 degree communications, Team ARGO are the natural winners of the Meshworkers of the Year Award, 2014….
Team ARGO’s meshworking is effectively catalyzing a shift in many city systems, so that new – living city capacities are emerging. Effectively the city systems appear to be reorganizing themselves into something more internally resonant to their urban fabrics and externally coherent with (even turbulent) life conditions. (This is a very different story than what we hear about Russia in the western news/media.)
…Team ARGO seems to have tapped into the inner domains of intention, purpose and culture in all four city voices.
Team ARGO’s meshworking intelligences are actively contributing to research, planning and management in cities across Russia with a vital center in Izhevsk. Integral City is proud to award Team ARGO the Meshworker of the Year Award, 2014.