This article by Marilyn Hamilton was published in Enlivening Edge Magazine, March 5, 2019

In my descriptions of cities as living systems, it’s clear that the wellbeing of the city depends on the wellbeing of its organizations and its citizens. Moreover, the development and evolution of the city into something approaching an Integral/Teal City, depends on the development and evolution of Integral/Teal organizations who in turn depend on the development and evolution of Integral/Teal individuals.

Thus, organizational developers themselves are dependent on an ecology of colleagues who work with individuals to develop their capacities. They are also dependent on cross-sectoral colleagues who work in the public, private and NFP sectors to develop other organizations—all connected in the web of life.

What makes a system a “living” system?

According to Miller (1) the same three major systems and nineteen sub-systems are fractal patterns shared across all living systems.

These perform functions to metabolize:

  • Energy/Matter/information
  • Energy/Matter
  • Information

According to Capra (2) living systems demonstrate three patterns:

  • They survive (sustaining themselves as entities fulfilling distinctive purposes).
  • They reproduce or regenerate (enabling resiliency, learning and development).
  • They connect with their environment (adapting and co-creating their contexts).

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