One of the interesting responses and strategies for responding to covid19 has been to define the right-size for co-existing in the same space in cities.

But while the rules may be useful (if not true) they are only partial. They are focusing on only one of four possible city “spaces”.

Firstly, the most used spatial measurements, in Integral City terms, are quantitative measures from the right-hand quadrants.

Moreover, the mis-named “social distancing” is merely bio-physical distancing – we can see that in the Integral City Map 1 – it just belongs to the Upper Right Quadrant of Place Making.

But for health and wellbeing to be established under covid19 conditions we must consider at least 3 other measures.

As we are returning to collective social gathering spaces, we are starting to apply measures of the “right number” of people to be together (as a bubble) in defined spaces – e.g. 2 family households outdoors, maintaining physical distancing from one another and other “bubbles”.

However, there are real qualitative measures that come from the Place Caring left-hand quadrants that may impact people more than any outcomes from the use of the quantitative right-hand measures.

In the upper left quadrant of psychology,intentions and consciousness, we are seeing measures of mental health/disease and the complexity of values and beliefs.

In the lower left quadrant of culture and relationships, we are hearing a babble of different communications aimed at people who not only have different languages, but cultures based on different worldviews, relationships and expectations (elegantly analysed by Beena Sharma of VEDA).

The lack of success with many countries’ covid19 strategies arises because they do not have multi-level, multi-perspectival message systems that address individual consciousness and collective cultures – nor do they embrace the city as a whole living system that are part of a planet of cities.

With this quick analysis, we can see that effective cov19 distancing must embrace bio-psycho-cultural-systems perspectives. And be aimed at multiple levels of complexity/communication. And we remember that this type of whole system communication was designed in an earlier era for HIV/AIDS (by Barrett Brown). We must make time and space to retrieve this from our archives and learn to right-size and translate messages for a plurality of mindsets.


Brown, B.C. (2007). How to Tailor Public Communications about HIV/AIDS to Different Worldviews. Integral Sustainability Center, Integral Institute Boulder, Colorado, USA , June 17, 2007.

Sharma, B. (2020). VEDA. Vertical Development Academy.