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.

The design for this Integral City prototype [of sustainable community development] places emphasis on the development of the people skills in sustainable communities because this approach can design in multiple experiences of team building, learning in community, and actually working for a real Community of Interest. This kind of prototyping uses aspects of action learning to offer dynamic, evolutionary, intelligent practices, tools, and frameworks that develop practitioners who can gain the capacities to build a prototype and then apply the lessons learned to build resilient communities.

Hamilton, M. (2017). Integral City Inquiry & Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive. Phoenix, AZ: Integral Publishers, p. 216

Integral City Prototypes for a Planet in Transition

People often ask me what is an Integral City or which cities are Integral Cities? My answer often seems to disappoint them, in that I say “Integral” is not an ideal for a city, but rather a framework for understanding the city as a human system in service to the wellbeing of the planet – for the purposes of evolving the city as the most complex human system yet created on our planet.

To validate the Integral City framework, we have sought opportunities for field testing. Two very different (and even unlikely) locations have emerged, who have demonstrated the intention necessary to prototype an Integral City: Durant, Oklahoma and Findhorn Foundation, Scotland.

Durant: Prototype 1

In the last 4 years, I have been working with the 4 Voices of the City of Durant, Oklahoma (Citizens, Civic Managers, Business and Civil Society) who have been prototyping the action research / action learning processes that I have outlined in my second book (see below). Durant’s entry into Integral City emergence was precipitated by two city leaders who invested in the development of their own leadership and organizational development using integrally-informed practices, tools and programs.

When integrally-informed leaders and organizations can make a difference in the world, a logical question, might become, “What would happen if we applied integrally-designed resources and processes to the community scale that contains individuals, families, and organizational work places? Is it possible to pay forward to our communities the value of integral thinking, actions, relationships and systems?” From 2013, Imagine Durant, was formed as an NGO to pursue those questions with the design team of Integral City Meshworks. Four years later, intense dialogue with the 4 Voices of the City has identified the visionary DNA that can translate into flexible strategies and designs for Durant’s future generations.

In Integral City circles, we imagine that when someone moves from the intention of scaling the scaffold of individual development to organizational development, the intention and its consequences can create a contagious activating effect. That effect influences the spheres of influence touched by individuals investing in their horizontal and vertical development. When the leadership of individuals and organizations succeeds, inevitably witnesses to the process are inspired and they want the keys to the visible and impressive changes that they can see happening before their eyes.

Durant knows (from the Integral City Discovery Assessment) that it needs to build on its strong Individual and Collective Intelligences,  and improve its Contexting, Strategic and Evolutionary Intelligences.

In Durant, the intentions of the first two leaders (Gary Batton, Chief of the Choctaw Nation and Greg Massey, President of First United Bank) now influence the Mayor, City Hall, School Board, Health Authorities, Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Authority, Arts Associations, Boys and Girls Club, Faith Community and a wide variety of citizens. The prototype of engaging and empowering the 4 Voices of Durant to co-create a shared vision has enabled the potential for an organic resilience resulting from people growing their city together.

Findhorn: Prototype 2

In the last few weeks, I have visited the Findhorn Foundation, one of the world’s first and best known eco-villages, located in northern Scotland. The Findhorn Foundation (and its related communities of Findhorn Spiritual Community, and Eco-Village at the Park), may offer a second prototype for an Integral City – following a very different path than Durant – but perhaps arriving at a similar destination. The history of the Findhorn Foundation stems from the intentions of three co-founders (Eileen and Peter Caddy and Dorothy MacLean) who found themselves unexpectedly “homeless and jobless” in a caravan on the dunes of Findhorn bay in the early 1960’s. With a combination of practical, organizational and spiritual prowess, the co-founders developed food-producing gardens from the sandy desert, visions of how to work with the energies of air, soil, water and life-forms and ecological practices that resonated with people, place and planet.

From an unlikely beginning, the Findhorn founders attracted a community who shared their commitment to live in a manner that contributed to the wellbeing of the planet. Their intentions and efforts were rewarded with garden bounty, expanding infrastructure, new forests and recognition that they had tapped into something called “Findhorn magic” that impacted residents and visitors alike.  In the last forty years, Findhorn has developed educational programs, workshops and events that share their experience, practices and values for living a spiritual life in an intentional community. Thousands of residential participants attend from around the world annually and often stay for lengthy periods and/or become permanent Findhorn residents themselves.

Outliving its roots in the sixties with influences from the freedom of the hippy movement that was balanced with disciplines of a spirituality that aimed at planetary wellbeing, the Findhorn Foundation and Community matured its environmental practices with the installation of a wind turbine in the 1980’s, which was joined by three more turbines in the 2000’s. These (atypical technologies for environmental activists) enable this eco-village to not only produce its own electrical needs, but contribute energy to the grid.

The Findhorn Foundation has effectively outlived its co-founders (although Dorothy MacLean is enjoying her 97th year back in residence). It offers an ecology of residential options from community living to townhouses, private homes and holiday caravans. It also offers work that supports a local economy in ever-expanding ways. The Findhorn Foundation and community has a global reputation for sustainable community development, environmental activism and ecological restoration.

In my experience at a Findhorn Foundation workshop (Eldest Daughter Effect – see below) I learned how the residential programs contribute to managing the facility and provide expertly designed education. I enjoyed entertainments from Pantomime to hot tubs, from Universal Hall Celebration of Founder Peter Caddy 100 birthday to Taizé singing , group meditation and beach walks, and I met many long-time residents. I learned that the Findhorn Foundation is experiencing a transition that is predictable after 50+ years of living differently from much of the rest of the world. In an informal discovery process, using Integral City’s 12 Intelligences I found that the Foundation has strong Contexting, Collective and Evolutionary Intelligences but is ready to make changes in its Individual Intelligences and Strategic Intelligences.

High and Low Roads to Prototyping

While Durant was seeking transitions that would help it grow from strong Purple (family) and Blue (order and control) capacities and early Orange (entrepreneurial) capacities into mature Orange and Green (strategic, inclusiveness and environmental) capacities, the Findhorn Foundation may be ready to transition from Green (inclusive) into Yellow (systemic) capacities, by first recalibrating Blue and Orange (ordering, structural and strategic) capacities to align with its innate Green and Purple (spiritual family) nature.

The bottom line for the Planet, is that both these prototypes offer us different starting points in smaller locations to show how the qualities of an Integral City – integral, evolutionary and living systems – expressed in the Intelligences and the Master Code – can catalyze change for the planet. Both Durant and the Findhorn Foundation are seed beds for taking care of self, others, place and planet. It is interesting to compare their histories and futures through the lenses of Integral City and see how they both have potential for expanding their Intelligences, aligning their energies and cohering their capacities.

As the old Scottish ballad suggests: “Ye take the high road, and I’ll take the low road, and I’ll get to Integral City ‘afore you!”  But whether we take a spiritual “high” road (like the Findhorn Foundation has attempted against the odds for a half a century) or take the entrepreneurial “low” road (like Durant is formulating now), these two lively prototypes show us that the intention of early initiators can create more than one sphere of influence that opens the doors of community to living as an Integral City.

Weak Signals = Strong Warning for Wellbeing of Planet

In the last month, 2 news reports reveal what complexity science refers to as “weak signals”. They are early warning signs that Gaia, the planet as we know her, is changing around us.

Climate change deniers and climate change activists have long pointed to receding glaciers as indicators (or not) of climate warming. While statistics vary from year to year, trends are often hard to document. But seeing many glaciers across the world in then and now photos can make a convincing case that glaciers are indeed contracting at a relentless rate. Glacier retreat appears to mark the onset of a self-accelerating cycle, where first causes (climate change) can become part of an endless loop of change (where receding glaciers accelerate the climate change itself).  For a visual record, check out this photo documentary here: Glaciers in Retreat .

Likewise, several species of bees – the most intelligent of the invertebrates and inspirators of Integral City as the Human Hive – have made a list that no life form wishes to attain – namely the endangered species list. As more research on bee health as been published, the warnings of bee decline should not just be apprehended as a threat to the $90 billion worth of annual agricultural production they enable (resulting from pollination), but a strong indicator that synergistic effects may be causing Colony Collapse Disorder. The impact of multiple small contributors to bee health appears not to be just additive but is synergistic. In other words, the interaction of factors with apparently minute and benign effects when they are considered individually, become exponentially influential with unintended consequences when they combine, to produce lethal outcomes. Mark Winston explores this little-recognized synergistic syndrome in his book Bee Time.

The stability of glaciers and bees may seem like remote indicators for the health of the human hive, but they both give us readings on 3 of our Integral City Contexting Intelligences – Ecosphere, Emergent and Living Intelligences. We should pay very close attention to their messages with respect to the wellbeing of Gaia’s life, as it is inextricably fundamental to our own. (Take action and plan to attend the 2019 Climate Change Conference at Findhorn below.)

Book 2 Announcement – Integral City Inquiry and Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive

Integral Publishers and Integral City are delighted to announce the Easter release of Book 2 in the Integral City series: Integral City Inquiry and Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive. (Watch for release dates and order information here.)

Book 2 builds on the 12 Intelligences for the Human Hive, explored in Book 1, by unpacking the application of these intelligences to designing an Integral City.

Book 2 asks:  How do you inquire about, act in and impact the city as citizen, civic manager or placemaker? It leads readers as Action Researchers through a series of process, project and program designs that integrate the consciousness and culture of Placecaring, with the actions and systems of Placemaking.

Book 2 explores Integral City’s design cycles using: The Knowing Field, the Master Code, 12 City Intelligences, City Values & Vital Signs Monitors, 4 Voices, Prototyping Rapid Innovation, Meshworking People, Place and Planet, and Evaluating Outcomes. Readers and researchers may discover a linear or a non-linear path to optimize impact or chart a grand tour. In any case, they will find an inquiry-action-impact system that is replicable, frequently iterative and provides a framework for enacting deep change in the human hive.

Book 2 is designed for 2 audiences: the city planner who wants to take their practise into an integral frame and Integralists who want to expand their application of integral frames into the city scale.

Here is what 2 Reviewers (representing both city planners and Integralists) have to say about the book:

The unusual and captivating hero of this book is the city. Not an inert mass of buildings, but a collective, a hive, a holarchy that brings people and processes of inquiry together in action. This human centered approach to systems of a city offers …tons of great questions and grounded frameworks … It’s a resource for action researchers in the field of urban planning and perhaps for all whole systems/integration oriented professionals. Hilary Bradbury, Ph.D., Professor (OHSU), Editor Handbook of Action Research & Action Research Journal, Convener, AR+.

After urban planning, what’s plan B? Given the scale, complexity and interdependencies of our global crises, 20th century urban plans and solutions are simply inadequate. This leading edge and thoroughly practical contribution to inquiry and impact on the crucial dilemmas faced by cities today, is a gift to next generation urban change workers. It’s elegant and accessible structure, fresh models and integrating tools are the product of iterative testing over many years in contexts of place-based yet globally shared challenges faced by 21st century architects, planners, city managers, developers, designers, communities, investors and activists. Lisa Norton, Professor of Design Leadership and Associate Dean, School of Design Strategies, Parsons School of Design, New York, NY

Upcoming Integral City Events with Planetary Purpose


May 9-11, 2017 Collective Impact 3.0, Tamarack Institute, Kitchener Ontario.

Collective Impact (CI) 3.0 is a three-day intensive workshop for practitioners in early stage, mid stage and later stage community change work. The workshop will explore the latest in the practice of collective impact from experts, practitioners and early adopters of the work.

Marilyn Hamilton & Kara Byrd will facilitate a workshop on Imagine Durant: Placecaring & Placemaking in the Human Hive. This Workshop will share how Imagine Durant (Oklahoma) used 3 integral City frameworks to integrate the 4 quadrants for the development of Durant’s Quality of Life; 4 Voices to engage the whole city (Citizen, Civic Managers, Civil Society and Business); and 4 Scales of Complexity to move from inquiry to action and impact in creating a unified Vision.

October 2-6, 2017 We-Space Online Summit

The Integral City Corp Team will join over one hundred other invited guests and contributors to the emerging field of We-Space. The Summit 2017 will showcase our respective collective practices to a growing global audience. For the purposes of this Summit, the term “We-Space” is being invoked as a constellating term for emerging collective forms of wisdom-based practice that are centralized around the project of waking up, evolving and transforming our consciousness and lives collectively.

Summit convenors envision this will be an opportunity for Integral City and other contributors to play a role in catalyzing the greater emerging global conversation, by opening up a generative space to share our discernment, insights, learning, curiosity and love for working with shared processes.

Organized thematically with five days of consecutive panels and interviews, the We-Space Summit is being developed as an online event that will reach several hundred thousand listeners internationally.

This event is being positioned as a collective catalyst for helping the greater we-practice, we-space culture to ignite change and fresh inroads into our understanding of collective living, development and awakening at this time.

Mark your calendar and stay tuned for further details in future media releases.

November 20-24, 2017 (tentative) City Conference, Reus, Spain

Early discussions are underway for Integral City to headline a city conference in Reus, Tarragona Spain. This will be an opportunity to explore capacity building in both cities and their eco-regions in a part of Catalonia, Spain with an interesting history of relationships between cities, autonomous regions, nation and planet. We will update you with more information in future media releases.

April 20-26, 2019 Climate Change & Consciousness: Our Legacy for the Earth

This summit will be held at the Findhorn Foundation, North Scotland. The event will feature some of the clearest and most passionate voices for the Earth ever gathered together in one place. Over the next two years as the Findhorn Foundation counts down to the conference, they will post informative and inspiring articles and videos featuring the work of presenters and other climate change activists around the world. You are invited to join and support the event by following posts and updates. Get the full details here. 

Good Reads for Planetary Impact with Youth, Women and Cities

The Loving Classroom: The World is a Better Place with You in It by David Geffen. This book offers the curriculum design for developing a world of good relationships in 8 Lessons.  The core capacities of respect, compassion and care (central to practising the Master Code) are outlined for young children and youth. It is being used in Israel and Palestine with aspirations for a viral spread around the world as a positive change catalyst. Find out how Head, Heart and Hand all play a role and find the book and many more resources from Loving

The Eldest Daughter Effect by Lisette Schuitemaker and Wies Enthoven. This book explores the family of origin and life path of women born as eldest daughters. The authors, as eldest daughters share stories and great insights into many women leaders who just happen to be eldest daughters (consider Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde, Sheryl Sandberg, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton +++) and explains the qualities that they share: responsible, dutiful, thoughtful, hands-on, caring. The first workshop on the Eldest Daughter was held in March 2017 at Findhorn Foundation (to great acclaim). A second offering in 2018 is planned. Find out more here (and order the book).

Urban Hub 1: Smart Sustainable Thrivable Cities by Paul van Schaik, co-founder of Integral Without Borders. This book explores in graphic form the integral frameworks of the urban fabric, including the contributions from Integral City.

The MINT magazine, published in London, UK, by Henry Leveson-Gower and team is a new magazine, launched March 27, 2017 as a long-awaited response to the Economist. Offering fresh views that challenge assumptions about markets, sustainability and the roles of the usual suspects as actors in globalization, currency valuations and the emergence of healthy economies, its initial issue offers long-overdue provocations to re-think the world of (metabolic) exchange. Published in paper and online, find the online link here. And watch for their occasional Blog here.

Celebrating Planet-of-Cities in the Coming Quarter of 2017

We began as a mineral. We emerged into plant life, and into the animal state, and then into being human and always we have forgotten our former state; except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again.  Rumi

March 21 marked the start of what Integral City calls the Planet Quarter (from March 21 to June 20). What support and gifts from our planet do you most value that nurture and support our Planet of Cities at this time of year? What planetary activists, heroes and warriors inspire you?  We notice the clash of cultures from around the planet that ripple through our cities are making us ever more aware that we are interconnected across national, cultural and geographic boundaries.  Visit us on the our Integral City Website and Blog or post a comment about your city interests on our Facebook page.

Meshful Blessings for our Planet of Cities from

Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Constellation Corps Team

PS Here are some FREE resources for nurturing our Planet and the Human Hive:

  1. Integral City MetaBlog 2016 – A synthesis and index of all Integral City Blogs from 2016.
  2. City of the Year 2016 – Fort McMurray – for the fire in its city spirit as it lived the Master Code
  3. Meshworker of the Year Award 2016 – Morel Fourman & Gaiasoft for work in Future Cities Africa
  4. The Personal and Universal Experience of Grief – a Series of Blogs
    1. Circles of Compassion Seize the Day, Size the World
    2. Blessings of Grief: Darkness & Dissonance
    3. Surviving Identity Crisis with Buoyancy of Care
    4. Adapt: Re-calibrate. Re-story. Re-work. Re-act. Swarm
    5. Rediscovering Aliveness from Grieving: The Third Win