Cities that thrive operate as living systems designed for wellbeing as innovation ecosystems. Book 2 in our Integral City series outlines processes to achieve innovation and wellbeing impact through Placecaring and Placemaking in the ecosystem of the city.

Those processes are grounded in Elisabet Sahtouris’ Principles of Living Systems. They give us a checklist to review the design guide that aligns how we “retrofit” our cities so that they operate with these Living Principles. The Principles enable Placecaring and Placemaking to emerge – but usually in a different sequence than the Principles are set out, because cities with a history and culture require the sequence of steps to make change possible to the existing systems.

We suggest a natural sequence for renewing the city involves the key steps of: Discovery, Strategic Planning, Contexting Sustainability & Resilience, Connecting & Communicating and Governing. Review your city’s approaches to Placecaring and Placemaking with the steps set out below (with number links to the Principles of Living Systems from the previous blog) and use the Action Research approaches in Book 2 to engage the 4+1 Voices to bring your city to life.


  1. Value history, traditions culture that works well for all (14)
  2. Enable creative change to replace what does not work with what works better (15)
  3. Create valued and valuable city Vision with wisdom and resources for all (1)
  4. Appreciate great diversity of producers, inventors/artists, resource allocators and integrator – citizens, business, civic managers, civil society (2)

Strategic Plan

  1. Create innovation eco-system for thriving economy that engages manufacturers, universities, business, innovation labs (7)
  2. Create conditions for full employment through training from k-U, coordinating youth, interns, business, government (10)
  3. Learn in school and practise day to day mutual trust and respect; dialogue; feedback; teamwork; life-long learning and life-giving projects/processes for all (4)
  4. Balance interests for healthy economy and wellbeing for all by engaging 4 Voices of the city in setting goals, planning, deciding (5)

Context Sustainability & Resilience

  1. Create an integrated sustainability plan to measure sustainability climate, energy, water, food, finance for city and eco-region and create circular economy (8)
  2. Add value to economy and eco-region, nation, planet for resilience (6)
  3. Create information systems that inform decisions for/with/as 4 Voices of the city and state, region, nation (9)
  4. Be a model of sustainability & resilience for other cities in eco-region, nation, continent, planet (3)
  5. Respond to stresses at all scales to create resilient city where stakeholders work together to create wellbeing conditions for all (13)

Connect & Communicate

  1. Connect all Voices/Stakeholders with communication technology to optimize communication internally and rest of world (9)


  1. Design and practise governance that is fair, transparent, accountable, accessible, so people feel safe, caring and relate to each other easily and often (11)
  2. Balance efficient management of all city functions with extra resources so city is resilient to change (12)