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 Power.
Healthy caring becomes imbued with belonging and attachment that is experienced as deep love and spiritual connection to self, others, city and planet as inextricably interlinked. This array of deep care may be the source of the experience of Oneness that is shared by all faith systems (Weaver,2017). I summarize this depth of care in the Master Code: caring for self, others, place, planet (Hamilton, 2008, 2017). For the first time in history humans (like my granddaughter) have the opportunity to practice this kind of care simultaneously at all levels, which in itself is reflexive and reflective as one level of care mirrors the other levels of care. Furthermore, this kind of care reveals the Goodness, Truth and Beauty of spiritual depth and blossoms into a creativity that permeates all the co-existing realities of the city.
Hamilton, M. 2018. Integral City 3.7: Reframing Complex Challenges for Gaia’s Human Hives. Minneapolis, MN: Amaranth Press, LLC p. xxix
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Wake up the Human Hive!!
For more than two decades, I and the Integral City endeavour have been in pursuit of Waking up the Human Hive. Waking Up to what? To the reality that Human Hives – cities, human habitats at all scales – must become conscious of their consciousness and caring of their cultures in service to Gaia’s wellbeing.
Adding the perspectives and realities of consciousness and culture to behaviours and structures, has been a way for Integral City to point out to city watchers, what we have been missing when we observe our most complex human systems yet created. Cities are not just spaces built of bricks and mortar. Cities are not just infrastructures and communication corridors. Cities are not just cross-roads where human bodies intersect and interact en masse.
Cities have aliveness that is revealed when we listen to the ring of their city spirits and the Voices of the interconnected, intertwined beings who live in relationship to one another.
If we grant that cities are fractals of the individual human (and we are in turn fractals of Gaia, Earth herself) it may be time to celebrate a coming of age.
2020 marks a turning point in the life of the human species. Our shared experience of the covid19 pandemic has made us aware that it is past time to Wake Up – it is now time to Grow Up.
The childhood era of Waking Up humans and their hives has just been catalysed by a microbial virus – shapeshifting our species-hood like the rush of hormones that precipitates puberty in the individual human.
Covid19 has forced us to do whatever it takes to survive – even if that means cutting ourselves off from direct physical contact with each other, our city environments and our eco-region contexts. We have spent a year with the opportunity to sit in the corner, reflect in the mirror, daydream on the couch and consider what really matters. As we enter the teenage-hood of our species, we long to get out and connect with the wider world.
Just like teenagers, we are feeling repressed, misunderstood, surging with energy and not sure what to do with ourselves. We are Awake. Woke even. And we just KNOW that there must be some meaning to life. We have woken up to some ineffable potential that longs to be expressed in a fully human way.
But in the same moment that we sense that potential, we are waking up to our pain. Pain that we can’t express ourselves fully. Pain that our relationships are stretched or severed. Pain that our actions are restricted. Pain that our work has shifted, re-located or even stopped.
From our lockdown of (en)forced introspections – whether they have been solitary or mitigated by a surfeit of screen gazing, we have woken up to the pain of other people, other cities, other species, other nations and the planet as a whole. We are waking up to the horrifying possibility that somehow, we are implicated in the causes of all this pain. We have become aware of misguided assumptions (e.g., that unfettered consumer growth is desirable), our mass fragmentation and our mass entanglement. Even as we are more separated than ever, we are miserable with a sense of incoherence and lack of transparency. Even as our species has muddled through a multitude of responses to the pandemic, we can see the evidence of our ineptitude.
This is not an inspiring way to celebrate the end of 2020.
But this dissonance on a global scale has been lived out largely within the local boundaries of our cities. It is precisely because our cities have boundaries that they have been the human systems where we have attempted to surround and contain the spread of the virus. Cities have become vessels simmering on the stove with the lid on, trying to keep the water (of awareness) within from boiling over. But as the timer rings that the year 2020 is coming to a close, we know the glocal pressures and tensions that have built up can’t continue.
As the boiling water (of awareness) transmutes to steam, it is the signal that our cities are ready to shift from Waking Up to Growing Up. Because it turns out that 2020 is not only the year of the pandemic, 2020 is also the year when we can see how quickly we can choose to act glocally – across the scales of neighbourhood, city, nation and globe. We are face-to-face with the evidence that the human species can take responsibility for our actions and develop responses that enable survival if not (yet) complete recalibration of our relationship with the rest of life on our planet.
This means that the long-denied responsibility to redress human-caused climate change can no longer be avoided. The care-free life of our species’ childhood has come to an abrupt end.
An ironic synchronicity of perfect timing smacks us in the face. Climate scientists tell us we have 10 years to make a difference by changing our planet-destabilizing ways. That gives us about the same number of years to Grow Up, that it takes for a pre-teen to mature into adulthood.
Gaia, our mother, is shaking us awake. Grow Up! Gaia is remonstrating. Every resource you need is at hand. Use your intelligences. Take out your maps. Practise your most life-giving behaviours. If you compete, compete for the good of all living beings. Cooperate with one another. Collaborate. Grow Up as Gaia’s Reflective Organs that you were evolved to be. Rise up with the best of heart/mind/body so you can restore the consequences of heartless childish misdeeds and regenerate the life conditions for planetary wellbeing.
2021 calls us to Arise, Respond, Regenerate. Integral City’s endeavour for the next decade is to co-create Schooling that Grows Up a Planet of Integral Cities.
In this Newsletter we share how we have already started with our essays on Regenerativity, our Ubiquity Courses and our Cities Rising Week. We celebrate our City of the Year, our Meshworker of the Year and we witness how the Master Code of Care, all our Integral City Intelligences, Maps, Voices and Practices are translating from What to So What to Now What in an Action Learning cycle that Bounces Beyond Waking Up to Growing Up.
We ask you join us to launch the Decade of Growing Up – a Decade of Regenerativity. We believe small actions taken every day will make the difference that makes a difference to our evolutionary Growing Up as Gaia’s Reflective Organs (GRO). Let us GROW GRO!!!!
“What is the equivalent for the Human Hive of the 20 kilograms of honey produced by the beehive?” How can we define the goal of the Human Hive that energizes the life purpose of the city? Those are questions that I have been asking for almost two decades. I have been seeking to learn from the biomimicry lessons of the beehive what humans must generate as Gaia’s Reflective Organs in service to Gaia’s wellbeing.
Integral City set as a goal at the beginning of 2020 the intention to design and deliver schooling for a planet of Integral Cities.
We curated Urban Hub 20, testing the hypothesis that the Master Code of Care can align and empower Practitioners, Catalysts and Meshworkers to accelerate change and transformation in a VUCA world. Urban Hub 20 was released to the world March 31, 2020 and is in the process of being translated into Spanish.
Embedded in Urban Hub 20 are the thought-seeds that an Integral City needs not only to sustain itself internally (caring for self, each other and place) but also to regenerate and re-energize the Human Hive within its bio-region. (The case for this is ably made by Stephen Martineau through the story of the Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative; and by Ard Hordijk and Allard de Ranitz of Synnervate with the strategy for Transition Dynamics in Rotterdam Harbour.)
Urban Hub 21 took us a few steps further, exploring the fractal capacities of cities within the eco-region of Europe and how Europe acts like a super-organism (or organ system) in service to Gaia’s wellbeing.
Through our interactions with Humanity Rising, Nish Gumaste and Peter Merry introduced us to the Diamond Model as a Unity of Everything. Much to our surprise and delight we could see that Map 5 is an Integral City Version of the Diamond Model (sans disasters, and unsustainabilities). So that what we have discerned seems to be a universal pattern of most of the world’s faith systems, most of which are displaying a cycle of regenerativity where the spiritual impulse flows in a never-ending quest for more life.
Humanity Rising’s Bouncing Beyond to a Regenerative World week (hosted by Ed Mueller) introduced us to the activist practitioners regenerating bio-regions with an open invitation for Integral City to resonate and cohere within bio-regions. In the Designing a Regenerative Culture model (Wahl, 2016) we find the answer to the question – what is the equivalent for the Human Hive of the 20 kilograms of honey in the beehive? It is taking our responsibility as an alpha species so we can come into right relationship with Gaia as we evolve our capacities to be organs of reflection for Gaia (as James Lovelock, author of the Gaia Hypothesis proposes).
If we can do this through harnessing Care at 4 scales: for self, others, place and planet perhaps we will discover fire for the second time? (As Teilhard de Chardin suggested.)
Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire. Teilhard de Chardin
In this year of the pandemic, the divisiveness of the US Election, the death of George Floyd, the unexpected referendum in Chile that women should make up 50% of any subsequent constituent assembly … we have all experienced the globe as our very VUCA but one home. Earth is a place we must care for because it is the only planet we have. Regeneration is not nice to have or do – it is a necessity.
As we write in the following blogs, the regenerativity is so powerful because it is:
We explore how a city regenerates itself through 4 Capacities, 4 Voices and the irresistible impulse of Life – all of which are empowered by the Master Code of Care.
Meshworker of the Year 2020: Ellen van Dongen
Meet Ellen van Dongen, Integral City Meshworker 2020. Ellen van Dongen is the Founder and producer of Lifemaps.NL. Her passion and the purpose of Lifemaps.NL is to nourish the self-learning and creational powers in people. As a biologist Ellen has brought to each one of her Lifemaps designs, her astute living systems approach, informed from her long career in systemic business development and strategic consulting. Her work has always been value based and purpose oriented.
Read the full profile here.
City of the Year 2020: Edmonton, Canada
Edmonton, the city that plans for disruption, is Integral City of the Year 2020. Edmonton tested its new City Plan, made to withstand disruption, with humanity’s first pandemic in a century. Here’s what Edmonton has to say for itself: “The City Plan–a roadmap for good days, challenging days, future days in Edmonton.”
Developed over the course of two years, it was heading to Council for approval just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Edmonton. City Council went into emergency mode, and it looked like the City Plan might be one of many casualties and never make it back on Council’s agenda. But as spring and summer progressed, the plan started to come into its own as the community realized that the plan, designed with disruption in mind, was passing its first test before it was even adopted.
Read the full profile here.
Start 2021 with Integral City’s 3 online learning events designed and delivered with Ubiquity University.
1. Connect with Humanity Rising: Cities Rising for a Regenerative World
Humanity Rising (HR) is designed as a global commons for all speakers and participants to come together to share blogs, videos, generate discussions and engage in all sorts of collaborative activities together, especially as we navigate the pandemic experience. Integral City Meshworks is an HR Partner. Integral City has spoken 5 times in 2020 (see links in September Newsletter). Together we are building a new world.
On January 11-15, 2021, Marilyn Hamilton and Beth Sanders (Founder of Nest City) will start the new year of HR, by moderating Cities Rising Week – 5 days that reframe cities as complex, adaptive, living systems, evolved by Gaia as her Reflective Organs. Come join the conversation. It’s free catalytic learning!!
Our exploration will help you experience your city/community as a dynamic living system. We will offer a variety of lenses, tools and practices that will enable you to best serve your city/community so that it can best serve you. Here is the plan of action learning:
(On January 11, 2021 join on this link for Humanity Rising.)
2. Learn Integral City Basics with Beyond Smart: Integral City Practices, Tools and Maps
Beyond Smart introduces “practitioners” to just the basics of the Integral City model. You learn the framework of practices, tools and maps that reveal the common patterns that impact the lives of individuals, organizations and communities within your city. This short course explores three powerful images animating Integral City systems – the integral map, the meshwork and the human hive. You will learn from your own situations (and other student sharings in the Ubiverse Group) how the toolkit guides you beyond models for Urban Ecovillages and Traditional, Smart and Resilient Cities. Take this self-taught course at your own convenience, any time, anywhere. Click here for Details and Registration.
3. Join our flagship course Beyond Resilient: Integral City Inquiry, Action, Impact.
This LIVE online course starts January 20, 2021 and concludes April 7, 2021. This course is for Catalysts who seek new ways:
- to work with multiple groups and organizations to engage inquiry and action for reinventing today’s cities for the future.
- to interact in-depth with the 4+1 Voices of the Integral City to prototype strategic possibilities.
- to learn new solutions, tools and guiding principles to enable the emergence of sustainability and resilience for the future of cities now.
- to discover the unique contributions that you make to the aliveness of the Human Hive.
Beyond Resilient (delivered LIVE online) enables Practitioners, Catalysts and Meshworkers to build capacitating scaffolds so that cities work for everyone. Participants grow their leadership to serve the city to thrive within the Master Code of Care: Caring for Self, Others, Place, Planet.
Faculty are Marilyn Hamilton & Beth Sanders.
Click here for Details and Registration.
Integral City Inquiry & Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive, Edition 2
From the Foreword to Integral City Inquiry & Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive
by Paul van Schaik, Founder/Creator and Managing Curator of Urban Hub: Thrivable Cities Series; Founder of IntegralMENTORS; Co-Founder Integral Without Borders; Founder/Principal Associate iSchaik Development Associates; Founding member of the Integral Institute
This second edition of Marilyn Hamilton’s second book … takes her people-centred co-creation on Integral Cities from theory into action. It is a how-to-do-it book that has been enthusiastically adopted around the world with a great following and users in Russia, Europe and the Americas.
As the integral framework shows so clearly, in order for healthy human development, and thus city development to occur, our individual and communal personal development becomes key.
Lewis Mumford wrote of this in 1960.
Before modern man can gain control over the forces that now threaten his very existence, he must resume possession of himself. This sets the chief mission for the city of the future: that of creating a visible regional and civic structure, designed to make man at home with his deeper self and his larger world, attached to images of human nature and love.
Integral City Inquiry and Action is more than a toolkit for action – it is also a manifesto of how to proceed if we seriously want to build sustainable thriving cities that take into account the myriad voices and worldviews of all people, communities, organizations and care for the planet. It is a must have book for all who want to join or lead the exciting evolutionary journey of making our cities a joyous place to live, grow and thrive. Read it, and then use it for ongoing reference and inspiration.
Check Amazon to order.