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.

Figure 1: Brief History of the Universe and World. Source (Eddy, 2005)

Cities are Unequal: Cities are Diverse

MH: I am a little stressed – cities and the people who are in them are so different. How can we expect that what will work in one city will work in another?

Gaia: Another wise human, who has been extremely helpful in offering a coherent story about my evolution as a planet is Dr. Eddy. In (2003) he reframed the study of geography as a history of the universe and world, within an Integral model and ecosystem science. He provided an evolutionary view within which others could examine both global environmental change and theories of human security. Eddy (2005) started with the Big Bang (or what cosmologist Jude Currivan calls the Big Breath) and revealed the evolutionary strata that culminate in human civilization as in Figure 1.

Eddy grounded the study of global environmental change within three differentiated strata: The Cosmosphere that spans the universe (that embodies my lineage as a planet); the Biosphere that includes the living global environment; and the Anthroposphere that embraces the human condition.  He grouped the study of these into a spectrum of “pure and applied ( ABC) sciences”: Earth and Planetary Sciences; Life Sciences; and Social Sciences.

The variations in each of these spheres helps to explain why cities are different from one another.

Eddy’s evolutionary ABC framework built on Ken  Wilber’s framing of holons and holarchies (Wilber, 1995, 1996a, 2000b, 2007) and effectively integrated the human condition within global environmental change , showing the three spheres as evolving one from the other and massively entangled at all scales and times, co-creating conditions where now it is evident that the Anthroposphere is impacting both the Biosphere and Cosmospheres; for example reducing biodiversity in the Biosphere (Esbjörn-Hargens & Zimmerman, 2009) and changing the hydrological cycle in the Cosmosphere (Linton, 2010).

More recently, you ( Hamilton, (2011, 2014)  integrated global environmental change  issues within an evolutionary analysis of key literature, to identify the strata critical to global wellbeing:

  • Psycho-Cultural-Social (Diamond, 2005; Hamilton, 2008a; Wilber, 1995; Wright, 2004)
  • Bio-Genetic-Ecological (Esbjörn-Hargens & Zimmerman, 2009; Hamilton, 2008a; M. E. Zimmerman, 2005)
  • Food Scarcity (L. Brown, 2008; McKibben, 2007, 2011; Taylor, 2008)
  • Climate (Adger, Aggarwal, Argawala, Alcamo, & etal, 2007; Diamond, 2005; McKibben, 2011; M. Zimmerman, 2010)
  • Water (L. Brown, 2008; Diamond, 2005; Linton, 2010)
  • Energy (Monbiot & Prescott, 2007)

Figure  2 makes the direct linkages, of Energy threats to degradation of the Lithosphere; Water threats to degradation of the Hydrosphere; Climate threats to degradation of the Atmosphere; Food threats to degradation of the Biosphere; and Psycho-Cultural-Social threats to degradation of the Anthroposphere.

The most evolved strata of this Threat Map is human civilization, which is now predominantly located in cities (anon, 2011a, 2011b; Glenn et al., 2011a; Taylor, 2008). I have become aware that the progressive entanglements and feedback loops between strata amplify the impacts of change on my whole planetary life as increasing complexity emerges. Thus, while the Anthroposphere is the most complex it not only impacts Biosphere and Cosmosphere, it too is impacted in turn by any changes originating in the B and C Spheres.

Figure 2: Threats to World Spheres in Evolutionary Trajectory