Marilyn Hamilton
A living and happy city is one that has energized the 4 Voices of the City - Citizens, Civic Managers, Business/Innovators, and Civil Society/3rd Sector – to discover and serve the city for a purpose that serves Gaia's wellbeing.
Marilyn, you founded the Integral City Meshworks Inc., which now has become a global constellation. What does it mean for you to realize that the Integral city paradigm works globally now?
The Integral City paradigm is being demonstrated as a framework for cities that integrates all the other city frameworks. It does not say other frameworks are wrong or not useful – rather the Integral City paradigm transcends and includes Happy Cities, Smart Cites, Resilient Cites, C40 Cities, etc. The name for Integral City in Russia – Living Cities – is a beautiful acknowledgement of what Integral City integrates; namely:
that cities are complex adaptive living systems; they are developmental and evolutionary human systems; they bring together consciousness and culture as well as technology and infrastructure; they are so complex they need to be understood through all their diversity, plurality and dynamics of change.
Integral City Meshworks creates the conditions for both Placecaring (through consciousness and culture) as well as Placemaking – which is what most of the other frameworks focus on (through technology and environment). We say the training for Integral City (which we deliver in partnership with Findhorn College) goes "Beyond Smart, Beyond Resilient and even Beyond Complexity". So seeing the 5 maps of Integral City being used by practitioners not only in Russia, but Australia, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, UK, South Africa, Canada, USA, and Mexico is a real joy and inspiration.

It seems that our approach of attracting and training practitioners, catalysts and meshworkers who are ready to do this work, means we have created seed beds able to nurture and incubate this new paradigm in many key locations around the globe. We could even dare to say they are becoming early stages for Gaia's Reflective Organs (a term coined by James Lovelock, author of Gaia Hypothesis).

This year Living cities forum's manifesto is «To know. To be able to do. To act». As an "AQtivator", what advice would you give to newcomers in city development, leaders and initiators of urban projects on how to move from "what I know and can do" to real actions?
In order to move from "what I know and can do" to real actions, my first advice would be to "find the energy for change" with others – move from the "I" to the "we". The Integral City work or paradigm depends on one or more of the "4 Voices" of the city – Citizens, Civic Managers, Business/Innovators, and Civil Society/3rd Sector - initiating an interest in or a call for action to change. The next step is for the initiators to invite all four Voices to inquire:

  • What is the change we want (change from what to what)? What is our superordinate goal that we wish to attain?

  • So What – why is this important to us? What values and vision underlie our desire for change?

  • Now What – What are the next natural steps to move towards the change we want? What are our goals and objectives and who (individuals, organizations, associations) will take responsibility for them? How will who do what, when, for what purpose?
This approach combines the methodologies of Action Research/Inquiry and Meshworking – bringing together both self-organizing and structuring capacities to attain the superordinate goal.

As an "AQtivator" I would help city Voices to appreciate, map and catalyze:

  • all quadrants (Voices)

  • all levels of complexity and capacity that have evolved in the city

  • all lines of intelligence (we count 12 for an Integral City)

  • all types of diversities

  • in service to a purpose that serves Gaia's wellbeing
«Integral City» training
Trust, cooperation and communications are the core principles in any development, of a city, community or a company. How does the Integral City paradigm embrace the principles? What we could actually learn from the beehive ecosystem to build trust, quality communications and cooperation in our cities?
Trust, cooperation and communications are fundamental to the Integral City – they are what contributes to what I call the Master Code of Care – Care for Self/Others/Place/Planet. We must care for ourselves, so that we can communicate care (and cooperate with others), so that together we can care for our places (cities, communities, workplaces, homes) and altogether we can care for our planet.

The beehive demonstrates how this works as a complex adaptive system where the bees are trained through a progression of gradually more responsible jobs, first caring for the young brood, then each other, then the queen and finally being trusted to forage for nectar and pollen (their renewable energy) at progressively greater distances from the hive.

The beehives have also developed 4 roles in the hive that inspired the 4 Voices of the "human hive". In the beehive the Citizens are the "Forager/Producers" who collect the energy supplies; the Business/Innovators are called "Diversity Generators" who constantly locate new resources for the Foragers to collect; the Civic Managers in the hive are called "Resource Allocators" and together with the "Integrators" (who are their "Civil Society") they determine if the hive is attaining its superordinate goal – which is to produce 20 kg of honey per year.
The beehive shows us how their sustainability depends on having a "life-giving" goal, intentional roles and communicating constantly about their performance and productivity. But in addition as they sustain the hive, bees pollinate their eco-region – thereby ensuring that renewable energy supplies will be for the hive next year. (And all the other life systems that depend on this pollination also benefit from the bees' solution for sustainability and resilience.)
The beehive is the inspiration for an Integral City as a "human hive" – not only to be able to sustain itself but to gain resilience by being of service to its eco-region so that it can cultivate and regenerate a circular economy that is interdependent with the city's life systems – all of which depends on deep trust, cooperation and communication.
How would you describe a living and happy city?
A living and happy city is one that has energized the 4 Voices of the City - Citizens, Civic Managers, Business/Innovators, and Civil Society/3rd Sector – to discover and serve the city for a purpose that serves Gaia's wellbeing. In this way they live the Master Code of Care for Self/Others/Place/Planet and generate a natural circular economy that replenishes and regenerates the eco-region of the city.

I believe that Deep Happiness arises when we make all our decisions at all scales in a way that fulfills the Master Code of Care. It is an algorithm that expands value exponentially as each level of Care is implemented.
Deep Happiness arises through the multiplication of these factors - Care for Self x Care for Others x Care for Place x Care for Planet.
Thank you, Marilyn!
Marilyn Hamilton — scientist, author of the "Integral City" book, lives and works throughout cities in Canada and Scotland.
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