This 2-Part Interview with Marilyn Hamilton, Founder of Integral City, was shared with Living Cities Russia as they prepare for their fifth Living Cities Forum in Moscow June 21-23, 2019. This is Part 2.

LC3/ Trust, cooperation and communications are the core principles in any development, of a city, community or a company. How does the Integral City paradigm embrace the principles? What we could actually learn from the beehive ecosystem to build trust, quality communications and cooperation in our cities?

Trust, cooperation and communications are fundamental to the Integral City – they are what contributes to what I call the Master Code of Care – Care for Self/Others/Place/Planet. We must care for ourselves, so that we can communicate care (and cooperate with others), so that together we can care for our places (cities, communities, workplaces, homes) and altogether we can care for our planet.

The beehive demonstrates how this works as a complex adaptive system where the bees are trained through a progression of gradually more responsible jobs, first caring for the young brood, then each other, then the queen and finally being trusted to forage for nectar and pollen (their renewable energy) at progressively greater distances from the hive.

The beehives have also developed 4 roles in the hive that inspired the 4 Voices of the “human hive”. In the beehive the Citizens are the “Forager/Producers” who collect the energy supplies; the Business/Innovators are called “Diversity Generators” who constantly locate new resources for the Foragers to collect; the Civic Managers in the hive are called “Resource Allocators” and together with the “Integrators” (who are their “Civil Society”) they determine if the hive is attaining its superordinate goal – which is to produce 20 kg of honey per year. The beehive shows us how their sustainability depends on having a “life-giving” goal, intentional roles and communicating constantly about their performance and productivity. But in addition as they sustain the hive, bees pollinate their eco-region – thereby ensuring that renewable energy supplies will be for the hive next year. (And all the other life systems that depend on this pollination also benefit from the bees’ solution for sustainability and resilience.) 

The beehive is the inspiration for an Integral City as a “human hive” – not only to be able to sustain itself but to gain resilience by being of service to its eco-region so that it can cultivate and regenerate a circular economy that is interdependent with the city’s life systems – all of which depends on deep trust, cooperation and communication.

LC4/ How would you describe a living and happy city?

A living and happy city is one that has energized the 4 Voices of the City – Citizens, Civic Managers, Business/Innovators, and Civil Society/3rd Sector – to discover and serve the city for a purpose that serves Gaia’s wellbeing. In this way they live the Master Code of Care for Self/Others/Place/Planet and generate a natural circular economy that replenishes and regenerates the eco-region of the city.

I believe that Deep Happiness arises when we make all our decisions at all scales in a way that fulfills the Master Code of Care. It is an algorithm that expands value exponentially as each level of Care is implemented.

Deep Happiness arises through the multiplication of these factors – Care for Self x Care for Others x Care for Place x Care for Planet.


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This is Part 2 of a 2 Part blog. Click here for Part 1