Futures Lab Russia, July 2021, invited Integral City to imagine cities in 100 years. This series of blogs comprises the lecture that was offered by Marilyn Hamilton PhD, Founder of Integral Cities.

In this lecture, I want to share a conversation with Gaia herself. She has offered to mentor me about how her Earth cities can evolve maturity and wellbeing.

I opened my third book (Integral City 3.7, Reframing Complex Challenges for Gaia’s Human Hives)  with these words:

“How can we design a city for the wellbeing of our granddaughters and future generations in a way that adds value to all Life on Earth?”

That is the question that jet-propels me from my [calm ecovillage in Scotland] to the farthest reaches of the universe and has made me take notice how the discoveries of space pioneers such as Edgar Mitchell astronaut, the Voyageur I and II space exploration program designers, Elisabet Sahtouris evolution biologist and Elon Musk inventor, contribute to designing conditions for optimal human hives.

On this journey I have asked related questions that might reveal the mysteries of living well in cities –  How do we wake up the human hive as a whole? Why should I care for her resilient souls, understand the context of people’s goals, develop organizational capacity for critical roles, amplify sustaining energy flows or heal the traumatic impact of warring blows?”

MH: In 2021, I could be overwhelmed in answering these questions, when I contemplate the future of our cities with the dire scenarios described by Duane Elgin in “Choosing Earth”.

He proposes that our current circumstances that I characterize as the Big Challenges of the city –– Energy, Water, Climate, Food, Bio-Genetic, Psycho-Cultural – can be situated at the trailhead of 3 possible pathways into the future. He projects the likely outcome of each scenario:

  • Status Quo – Crash and Collapse – do nothing and we burn up
  • Autocratic – Authoritarian governance with AI leads to large system change under autocratic control and humans will lose personal freedoms
  • Self-Organizing – The Great Transition – after an extended period of struggle, local/large area system change will occur with free personal agency that opens a whole new era of aliveness and unity.

The 3 Pathways are all in existence now in different cities in different parts of the world. As beginning conditions how will they determine local and global futures?

I wonder what will be the distribution of the 3 Pathways – how are they permeable to one another? Does their co-existence mean never ending conflict/tension?

What will be the catalysts that enable conflict and competition to move to cooperation and collaboration?

100 years from now 2021-2121:

Elgin chooses to tell the story of the Great Transition in decades that I will mark with the generational stages of The Great Turning (with a nod to the generational analysis by Strauss and Howe (1997).

[My baseline context is this: In 2021 Cole my great grandchild is 7, his parents my grandchildren are in their 30’s, his grandparents my children are in their 60’s,  while I am 70+ in the phase of Old Age/Death. So, in my family I am intimately familiar with 4 generations who will be impacted by the future Great Turning as it unfolds.]

I characterize the 100 years ahead of us in 4 Stages that align with Elgin’s stages (of 20-25 years):


2020-2039 – Recognizing Crisis, The Great Unraveling; Collapsing Civilization – The Great Fall

Cole my great grandchild 20+-, Cole’s Parents (my grandchildren) 60+, Cole’s Grandparents (my children) 80+, me Old Age/Death


2040-2059 Into the Fire of Initiation – the Great Sorrow; A Conscious Species – Civilization the Great Awakening

Cole’s child 20+-, Cole (my great grandchild) 60+, Cole’s parents (my grandchildren) 80+; Cole’s grandparents (my children) Old Age/Death


2060-2089 Preserving the Future- Choosing Earth; An Open Future

Cole’s great grandchild 20+-, Cole’s grandchild 60+, Cole’s child 80+, Cole (my great grandchild) Old Age-Death


2090-2119 Which of 3 Pathways did we Choose?

Cole’s great great grandchild 20+-, Cole’s great grandchild 60+, Cole’s grandchild 80+, Cole’s child Old Age-Death