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.

Table 1: Paradigms & Levels of Complexity (adapted from D. Beck with permission)

MH: If things are this precarious, how can we move beyond the threats and disasters of 2021 into some kind of positive future?

Cities Learn & Care: Schooling for a Planet of Integral Cities

Gaia: Well, luckily, I only design systems that learn and evolve (at least the ones I keep alive and in service to all life on planet Gaia). What you need is to shift from thinking in just intermittent projects to creating the conditions for Schooling a whole Planet of Integral Cities.

Reframing with Systems Thinking

From my Gaian perspective, the current situation needs systems thinking lenses like the ones Meadows (Meadows, 2008) long ago worked out to identify the core leverage points to intervene in a system:

12. Numbers

11. Buffers

10. Stock-and-Flow Structures

9. Delays

8. Balancing Feedback Loops

7. Reinforcing Feedback Loops

6. Information Flows

5. Rules

4. Self-organization

3. Goals

2. Paradigms

1. Transcending Paradigms

Keeping the most effective leverage points in mind as the paradigms in use and how to transcend them, we discover in the Integral City Map 4  clues to understanding what are the driving values of the Traditional, Pre-Modern, Modern and Post-modern/Integral paradigms as shown in Table 1.

In effect Table 1 (and Map 4)  shows us a relationship between the worldviews (which define who is the center of the universe), driving values and the level of complexity.  The more advanced worldviews (Integral, post-modern and modern) act as the amplifiers to the capacity of the structures in cities in the developed world. On the other hand, the less complex worldviews (traditional and modern) act as the limiters and filters that make structures in cities in the developing world much less resilient.

So now, we have input that can enable us to design a strategy for city development that aligns development with the systems embedded in the people, place, priorities and planet who will be impacted.