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 4: Human Systems to the Powers of 10 (McCaffrey et al)

Powers of 10 Framework

Gaia Continues: Mark McCaffrey has been studying the scale of human systems in relation to climate change impact. He and colleagues created the Powers of 10 framework to use the ten orders of magnitude between a single individual and everyone else on the planet as a framework (Figure 4). Their research showed that the “sweet spot” for climate change effectiveness was cities of 50,000 to 100, 000 (this is an echo of Aurobindo – in the 1920’s – who suggested 50,000 was the optimal size of a city.)

I, Gaia notice that this image and pattern is a fractal of your (Hamilton’s) Map 2 of the Integral City – where McCaffrey’s  holarchy is nested human habitats (whereas Map 2 is a holarchy of organizations within any given city).

Mark and colleagues noticed that the holarchy was a framework for scaling social transformation and could be expressed as an elegant Fibonacci image as in Figure 5. Perhaps one of the considerations we will have moving into the Planet of Integral Cities that you and I  imagine is that we will have to do some work to “right size” cities? Perhaps, we can use the powers of 10 to start up ecovillages, and target the size of new cities to be in the 50 – 100, 000 population range? (Or recalibrate cities into Community Action Networks CAN’s (Adnan, The Politics of Waking Up, 2021)?)

Figure 5: Framework for Scaling Social Transformation  (McCaffrey et al)