How do you reveal the contribution of Spiral Dynamics integral to Integral City Meshworks?

We could start by looking at Integral City’s 5 Maps.

Map 4 (in the lower right of the 5 Map image above) shows the Complex, Adaptive Organizational (and Archetypal) Structures that have emerged across the history of human settlements from : family hearth, to clan gathering, to dominator hierarchy, to ordering bureaucracy, to strategic enterprise, to social safety networks, to systemic ecologies to global meshworks. (It should be noted that one structure is not better or worse than another – but represents the best “fit” to the contexting life conditions.) In the world’s large cosmopolitan cities all the organizational structures are alive and functioning within emerging urban contexts.

Furthermore, Map 4 acts as a proxy for the emerging complexity of brain development over time – recognizing the structures that emerge out of self-organizing human systems responding to life conditions.

Clare Graves, the researcher behind Spiral Dynamics proposed that human capacity always emerged along a “double helix” where the context of life conditions, called forth the capacities that enabled the living human system to survive, adapt and regenerate (see Figure 1). His research indicated the emergence of 8 levels of complexity, but he proposed that the evolutionary pattern was a “never ending quest”. He suggested that each level of complexity would cycle through stages of “fitness” which we could call childhood/explore, youth/emerge, adult/stabilize, elder/decline  (see Ichak Adizes’ “Managing Corporate Lifecycles” for fuller explanation). Thus, Level 8 is not the final stage of human development, but like all prior stages will create the life conditions for the next level of complexity to emerge to respond to those life conditions.

Figure 1

Within the Spiral Dynamics integral framework there are 8 structures that have emerged that can be parsed in pairs across worldviews that become progressively more complex as human systems, organizations and settlements evolve. The pairs are a combination of individual expression (represented by I/Me/Mine focus – the warm colours of beige, red, orange, yellow) and collective expression (represented by We/Us/Our focus – the cool colours of purple, blue, green, turquoise).

So, the Spiral within any given human settlement could potentially reveal the patterns shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Spiral Dynamics Levels of Complexity and Worldviews

Worldview Spiral Dynamics Level of Complexity Spiral Dynamics Expression Archetypal Structure
Egocentric Level 1 Beige – Individual Family Hearth
Level 2 Purple – Collective Clan Gathering
Ethnocentric Level 3 Red – Individual Dominator Hierarchy
Level 4 Blue – Collective Ordering Bureaucracy
Regionalcentric Level 5 Orange – Individual Strategic Enterprise
Level 6 Green – Collective Social Safety Network
Globalcentric Level 7 Yellow – Individual Systemic Ecology
Level 8 Turquoise – Collective Global Meshwork

Integral City Map 1 provides a “plan” view of the emergence of the levels of complexity revealed in Map 4.

Integral City Map 1

Map 1 shows the 4 quadrants that open up the contributions of not only the individual  (upper) and collective (lower) quadrants but also reveals the inner (left) and outer (right) expressions of human development – thus offerings a bio-psycho-cultural-structural view of the city.

Map 1 is fractal and can represent the unfolding potential journey of complexity (from the centre of the quadrants outwards through each dimension) for an individual or a collective (like an organization or a city).

Doughnut Economics is Archetype of Global Economics

Doughnut Economics (DE) is a framework for understanding the relationship of humans to the planet that supports all life. (Figure 2)

It is derived from 2 other frameworks, that provide narratives that are widely shared by qualitative and quantitative scientists around the world. The outside of the Doughnut derives from the Ecological Ceiling’s 9 Factors (researched extensively by Rockstrom, Steffen et al).

The inside of the Doughnut derives 12 factors of Social Justice from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

Figure 2

The Doughnut describes the relationship between the Ecological Ceiling and the Social Justice factors in relation to human activity. Originally proposed for nations, it has been “downsized” to provide self-portraits of cities (City Selfies). At time of writing many cities have signed on to Doughnut Economics to provide a framework for making decisions that enable cities to thrive (rather than grow).

When surveying the early adopter DE cities, this Thought Experimenter suggests that the majority of them could be characterized through Integral City Maps 4 and 1 as aspirational Globalcentric cities.

This observation has motivated the Thought Experimenter to explore how Doughnut Economics evolves across developmental/evolutionary time as human settlements (aka cities) and their organizations develop more or less complexity in response to their life conditions.

The following blogs will explore the possibility of correlating levels of complexity in the city to the Ecological Ceilings and Social Justice factors in the Doughnut.