Emergent Intelligence

What is Emergent Intelligence?

tile_emergingEmergent Intelligence looks at the city as a whole, through the lenses of aliveness, survival, adaptiveness, regeneration, sustainability and emergence.

The city has the qualities of aliveness: it survives, adapts and regenerates.

The city survives through the bio-psycho-cultural-social behaviors, intentions, relationships and systems of its citizens.

The city adapts through differentiation and integration — through the responses to life conditions by its conformity enforcers, diversity generators, resource allocators and inner judges. The city reflects the bio-psycho-cultural-social developmental cycles of its citizens.

Regeneration occurs through biological reproduction and inner renewal, shared learning and teaching and coaching others in roles, competencies and capacities. Renewal emerges because a city, like all living systems, develops cyclical habits that enable the accumulation, exploitation, distribution and redeployment of resources.

Sustainability embraces sustaining order, strategic planning, caring and sharing and systemizing.

Emergence is a characteristic of living systems, that arises from the resonance and coherence of the system. Resonance emerges when the system is aligned externally to its environment — it literally resonates with its surroundings. Coherence arises from the alignment of all the elements of the system internally in such a way that energy is optimized. When both resonance and coherence become synchronized new capacities in the system emerge.

So What?

The city is not a system of parts, but a whole system of the human species (an ecology) that has characteristics as a whole that transcend but include the holons of communities, organizations, groups, families and individuals and the built environment that we have created to contain us.

The city is dependent for its healthy functioning on the healthy functioning of all the holons in the city.

A key value of looking at the city as whole is to discover our human hive mind — a mind that transcends and includes our individual minds. This condition arises because each person is massively interdependent on a living collective system in which he or she is embedded.

As a dissipative structure the city sucks in resources from its environment and spews out products, by-products and waste to its environment. That is why, when we take into consideration all the cities of the world, their functioning affects the lives of all people regardless of where they live, inside or outside the city.

If we see the city as if it were a whole system, we can appreciate its embedded wisdom for surviving in its unique life conditions; the mystery of its collective life force; and the tremendous potential it embraces in the energy, information and matter that it embraces. Seeing the city as a whole helps us to truly appreciate the performance of its sub-systems and gives us the context in which we can understand and flow with emergence.

Now What?

Three simple rules for applying Integral City Emerging Intelligences

  1. Survive so holons serve each other’s existence.
  2. Adapt to the environment.
  3. Create a self-regenerating feedback loop, by interconnecting human regeneration cycles so that they replenish the environment.


Click here to listen to a podcast on this intelligence from the book Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences in the Human Hive.

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