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As Guest Editor of the Integral Leadership Review – Canada (ILR – C) issues, in the February instalment, I imagined, the Rideau Canal lock system symbolizing the environment where the authors in ILR-C interact with the leaders and leadership insights that they have contributed to this special Canada issue. (1)…

©2014 Aboriginal Nations Education, Greater Victoria School Board, BC, Canada Artist Jamin Zurowski Bear/UL. Wolf /LL. Raven/UR. Salmon/LR. This Totem is a Gift used with permission on this Canada Issue. Please do not reproduce without © Permission.

©2014 Aboriginal Nations Education, Greater Victoria School Board, BC, Canada
Artist Jamin Zurowski
4 Quadrant Guides: Bear/UL. Wolf /LL. Raven/UR. Salmon/LR.
This Totem is a Gift used with permission on this Canada Issue. Please do not reproduce without © Permission.

While the Totem © (above on our  January and February ILR-C covers) offers us the Guides to appreciate our world through four lenses, the locks offer us a working pattern that serves us in understanding the context of individual and collective human journeys as we develop our worldviews through the natural hierarchy from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric. As a fractal-like pattern the locks also remind us of the cultural/social environmental journey from pre-modern, through modern to post-modern and into today’s emerging integral stages of human evolution.

The lock system operates with the natural gravitational flow of water. Like the developmental step-stages the human system naturally traverses as it matures, you cannot skip stages or locks. In other words you can’t take a boat from the lowest level of the Ottawa River to the ninth level of the Rideau Canal without floating up the water staircase of levels. Likewise you cannot lower a boat from the canal level to the river level without stepping down through each lock.

In either direction, an intervener is needed to create the conditions for the staircase of vertical movement. He is called the Lock Master. … To do his job, the lock master is tuned into the natural flows of water, creating conditions for change in the environment. He acts as a catalyst for this change – like the authors in this issue who are not mechanical change agents but much more mindful of how they transform, presence, clarify, engage, educate, influence and voice the flex and flow of the leaders with whom they engage.  In so doing our author-lock masters create temporary habitats for the emergence of leaders who can elevate their own and others’ leadership capacities to the requisite level of operation. Such feats of habitat creation, system design and leadership guidance … enable leaders to gain the complex skills to face impossible tasks in a VUCA[2] world. Perhaps as lock masters of human emergence, our authors are just as much Waterpreneurs as our Waterlution article from January, 2015 described?

…while the author/lock masters in ILR-Canada elevate us in February, to emerge capacities that can serve a world in urgent need of the leadership presaged by Adrienne Clarkson.  Her vision of the contribution of leadership in Canada to the world is that we enable the boats in our lock system to be not only guided by our four Totems but that all the levels contribute to a healthy society. Our job as leaders, is to “search for our common humanity, for the decency, the understanding and the generosity” that flows in the water of the bio-psycho-cultural-social lock system where our authors have shown us how to flood the birthing canals of human evolution with a “World Legacy Light”.

Many contributors (and certainly my co-Author Joan Arnott) to our February issue powerfully reflect this evolutionary light. Read more here … and access both January and February ILR-Canada issues here.

 

Endnotes

[1] Seeing the Rideau Canal as I describe here, was inspired by Don Beck, who was so delighted with its practical symbolism in 2004 when we were delivering Spiral Dynamics integral ™ training, that he set off with a camera and met the lock master.

[2] VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – as coined by the military.

 

 


Reticence. Modesty. Loyalty. Generosity. These qualities often mark the Canadian character and our propensity to downplay the adventure, excitement, daring, risk and courage that influence how we tell our stories of accomplishment and achievement. But those are not the words that sprung to mind when Russ Volckmann invited me to be Guest Editor of this Canada issue of Integral Leadership Review (ILR-C).

©2014 Aboriginal Nations Education, Greater Victoria School Board, BC, Canada Artist Jamin Zurowski Bear/UL. Wolf /LL. Raven/UR. Salmon/LR.   This Totem is a Gift used with permission on this Canada Issue. Please do reproduce without © Permission.

©2014 Aboriginal Nations Education, Greater Victoria School Board, BC, Canada
Artist Jamin Zurowski
Bear/UL. Wolf /LL. Raven/UR. Salmon/LR.
This Totem is a Gift used with permission on this Canada Issue. Please do not reproduce without © Permission.

Pattern making. Pattern recognition. Pattern amplification. Excessive Network Connecting. These are the qualities of leaders that emerged when I studied learning and leadership in self-organizing online communities in 1999 (Hamilton, 1999). Using the lenses of integral, systems and evolutionary thinking, I was able to notice how leaders emerged naturally from the population they occupied to lead a community to take stock of its assets, reflect on its intentions, change its worldview and expand its influence,.

These were the impulses I wished to bring to the challenge of not just editing ILR-C – but rather of curating a story of leadership in Canada for this issue.

Read the rest of this Curator’s Leading Comments here and access the Table of Contents for this Issue here


Je Suis Charlie may be the most potent vaccine for an Ebola of the Human Soul that has been eating away the flesh of the human psyche since the first acts of terror were shouted in the name of Allahu Akbar.

God is Great. God is Good. But the God in all of US needs to be Better than Good. The God in Us needs to expand our whole understanding of the Master Code – to take care of ourselves, so we can take care of each other, so we can take care of this place/planet.

Je Suis Charlie is a clarion call for God to expand with compassion. But the God in Us needs to move beyond the Idiot Compassion that nurses the psychological Ebola that has been diminishing and disappearing the birthright fundamental to all the charters of human rights that we hold dear – namely freedom of speech.

Paris’s pain is a tipping point that is not reverberating just through France but across the Planet of Cities.

It feels as though the outrage at the murders of the Charlie Hebdo journalists and the police that came to defend them, has touched a deep nerve of outrage in the human psyche. Sparked not only by the public murders of real living particular people, but by the threat that a fundamental right of the human species has not merely been desecrated or denied but is verging on being wiped out.  Some basic quality of our shared human systems (particularly of the Human Hive) feels invaded, injured and infected.

The most poignant news clip I heard yesterday (on January 7, 2015 the day of the incident) was a Parisian Muslim man mourning the hijacking of his religion – which he stated was one of love and acceptance – for the purposes of murder.

When the taking of life becomes the driving force behind a group of people, and the skills of guerilla warfare are practised in the streets of the City of Love, something deep in the human soul rises up to name and claim the right to freedom of speech that was proclaimed centuries ago on the bastions of revolution – with one word – liberté!

While the destruction of the New York World Trade Centre declared economic war on Gaia’s Reflective Organ – and destroyed more people and more built value than Paris 2015; while the hijacking of women and children by ISIL and Boko Haram has declared bodily war on future generators and progenerators of the Human Hive; the effrontery of the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris declares war on consciousness and culture that is not merely Parisian or French, but fundamental to the evolution of the human species. Such a war is an Ebola of consciousness and culture that threatens to erase stages and structures that the wellness and the future of human systems depend on.

VUCA – violence, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – all characterize the Charlie Hebdo tipping point. And ironically to all those who can view Charlies with horror, they know somehow the most powerful forces that can address these plagues rest in the free flow of all forms of expression.

Free speech is not only an individual human right but a collective human necessity to advance awareness, intelligence, innovation, and discovery. Moreover it is central to dealing with our shadows. Free speech mirrors free thought and the reflective capacity that is the unique quality of Gaia’s Reflective Organ. It is what opens and enables the flex and flow of information across all human systems.

Paris’ Charlie Hebdo incident is a flashpoint warning to all the Cities of the Planet that an evolutionary intelligence may be in peril. Are we witnessing an Ebola of the Soul that starts by destroying the offices of a cultural commentator (using spoken/written word, humour, satire) but threatens the free expression of consciousness and culture across the world?

Or can we walk into the centre of this soul-eating war, and use it as a fulcrum to transcend and include freedom of speech to another level? Fighting Ebola of the body requires multiple and complex strategies to care for individuals, communities and countries (if not the planet). Care givers use the armour of hermetically sealed medical suits to rescue and treat the ill. Then they have used the strategies of Tough Love to separate the carriers of the disease from the rest of the community. And where necessary they separate afflicted communities from other communities by preventing mobility between them. Recently trials show one of the most effective treatments is blood transfusions from survivors to the infected. And with the art and science of innovation now vaccines are being developed to give healthy people preventative protection from the disease.

Learning from the experience of living systems, perhaps fighting Ebola of the psyche requires empowered protectors to take similar steps to expunge the hive from invaders against free speech? But it may also require separation of communities and the willingness of survivors to develop ways to inoculate others against contagion.

The greatest burden with this approach lies in the believers of the religion (Islam) that has spawned this Ebola of the Soul to stand against those who deny the value necessary for human life to progress on this planet.

As a species, perhaps we finally stand at the developmental stage that recognizes that some forms of expression are toxic at certain stages of individual and collective development and/or under VUCA contaminated life conditions? How can we learn to manage the scourge between cultures when we are not yet managing well the scourge within cultures? Are we finally ready for the Human Hive to catapult the defense of the right to free speech into opening an offence on the responsibility of free speech?

Who said living the Master Code would not require that we transcend and include the God in Us?

How do we now best call forth the God in Us to take care of ourselves, take care of each other and take care of this place/planet?

 


Here is the Integral City 2014 Meta Blog. It connects the 4 Voices of the Integral City to the Planet, People, Place and Power that energized us in 2014.

It follows the tradition of Integral City Meta Blog 2013

Integral City Logo History 1989-2014

Integral City Logo History 1989-2014

 

  1. Equinox/Solstice Newsletters – Integral City Reflective Organ
    1. Integral City March 2014: Working Together With the Planet in Mind
    2. Integral City June 2014: 4 Voices as Gateways to Goodness in the Human Hive
    3. Integral City Reflective Organ – September Equinox 2014: Celebrating the Power of Place
    4. Integral City Reflective Organ – December Solstice 2014: Celebrating the Mystery of Power
  2.  Planet of Integral Cities Milestones 2014
    1. Which Comes First – City Trigger Points or Country Tipping Points?
    2. Cities Will Turn Symbolic Climate Change Handshake into Real Action
    3. ISO Fast Tracks Standard for City Quality of Life
    4. Space Golf – Rosetta Lands Hole-in-One on Par 6 bb Km Hole
    5. Meshworkers of the Year Award 2013 – Planning AS the City
  3.  The New Story of the City    ….This collection of dialogic essays were written to celebrate the New Story of the City. We published them in the week of the first World Cities Day(October 31) having first been inspired by Kosmos Journal‘s invitation to tell a new story. Our team of Integral City Constellation Voices, Peer Spirits and Essayists included: Joan Arnott, Alia Aurami, Cherie Beck, Diana Claire Douglas, Marilyn Hamilton, Linda Shore.   The Voices in this dialogue are: Spirit of Integral City, Gaia, City, Peer, and Communities of Practice.    Each voice is introduced by the Stage Directions: Welcome, Connecting One(s), to this sapient circle. We gather here to constellate Indra’s Net for our Planet of Cities around this question “How does Integral City Connect for Change in Service to a Planet of Cities?”.  Welcome to you, Peer Spirits, who long to connect to the City and her Communities of Practice, to Gaia, and to Spirit who energizes us all. Listen … Spirit of Integral City peaks …
    1. Spirit of Integral City Celebrates Global Oneness Day
    2. Gaia Whispers to Change Seekers
    3. Integral City Dances With Peer Spirits
    4. Integral City Connects Communities of Practice
    5. Integral City Celebrates World Cities Day
  4.  4 Voices of the City
    1. 4 Voices of Integral City: A Quadrivium of Case Studies
      1. Imagine Abbotsford: Citizen Voice Grows Sustainable City Vision
      2. Developing Durant: Business Voice Catalyses All 4 Voices of the City
      3. Ekurhuleni’s Future: Civic Managers Create Habitat for Wellbeing
      4. Encouraging the Heart of Leon: Civil Society Integrates 4 Voices
    2. Integral City Blog – On the Move with 4 Voices     Research on 4 Voices of the Human Hive from Learning Lhabitats at the Integral Theory Conference 2013,Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainability Conference 2014 and Integral Europe Conference  2014. 
      1. Voices of the Citizen Resound from 3 Gateways to Planet of Cities
      2. Voices of Business Open 3 Gateways to Planet of Cities
      3. Voices of Civic Managers Bridge 3 Gateways to Planet of Cities
      4. Voices of Civil Society Align in 3 Gateways to Planet of Cities
  5.  Integral City Connects with 4 Voices in Russia
    1. Preamble Russian Book Launch in Moscow: Gateways to Wellbeing in Integral City
    2. The West and Russia: A Divergence of Values?
    3.  Russia Behind the Double Veil: Using Integral Eyes to See Russia’s Cities
  6.  Reinventing Organizations to Reinvent the City
    1. How Might Reinventing Organizations Reinvent the City?
    2. On-Purpose Organizations Seed On-Purpose Cities
    3. Organic Strategies Meshwork Integral Cities
    4. Organic Strategies Reinvent Integral Cities
    5. City as Dojo for Reinventing Organizations
  7.  How to Optimize Integral City Impact (as inspired by Dr. Roger Walsh at Integral Europe Conference 2014)
    1. How to Optimize the Impact of Integral City Work
    2. How Adult Development Creates Conditions to Optimize Integral City Impact
    3. How to Optimize the Impact of Integral City Work from Direct Experience and Deep Wisdom
    4.  How to Optimize Integral City Impact as Integral Practitioners
    5. How to Optimize Integral City Impact with Community of Practice
    6. How to Optimize Integral City Impact Through Transconventional Religion
    7. How to Optimize Integral City Impact By Getting Ideas Out to the World
    8. How to Optimize Integral City Impact as an Accomplice to the Divine
    9. How to Optimize Integral City Impact as Spiritual Practice
  8.  On Remembering
    1. On Remembering: The Future of Peace
    2. Remembering the Harms
    3. Remembering Lives and ALL LIFE
  9.  Poems for Integral Cities
    1. Could There Be a Council of Cities (Check-Out Wisdom-Poem from Learning Lhabitat, Working Together, Opening Gateways in the Human Hive, Integral Europe Conference, May 8, 2014)
    2. Canada Day: Dance With the Maple Leaf Memelights
    3. Perhaps the Earth Can Teach Us … to Be Alive

 

 

 

 


This newsletter is published quarterly using a cycle of perspectives on the Integral City viewed from: Planet, People, Place and Power. The theme of this issue is Power.

The concept of morphic or Akashic fields creates the possibility that we could harness the intelligence that is concentrated in the city to generate much greater (more complex) intelligence capacities than we have ever dreamed of. If we could truly learn how to think together, we could harness the massive leverage of parallel processing that has enabled us to design modern computers and neural networks (like the linking of personal computers for the SETI extraterrestrial life search project). If we can do this, we will see a significant phase shift in human intelligence that will give cities major new incentives to create optimal life conditions to better support human existence. By the same token, in an optimistic spirit, I anticipate that when this intelligence is harnessed we will finally have the power to add value to life on Earth that is both sustainable (not over-using resources) and emergent (always creating new capacities from existing resources).  

Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 73

 

Solstice Reflections on the Spirit of the City

Cities, like beehives, are urban energetic nodes linked within a global energetic body, which we experience biophysically, psychologically, culturally and socially. After I published Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive,readers asked, where is the chapter on spirituality?

The first time I heard the question I was stunned! Mostly because I felt the entire book had been written for, by and as Spirit. It was an outpouring of appreciation for the mystery of Spirit manifested in the city – its power to change individual and family lives, create organic chains of interconnected organizations and alter the landscapes of eco-regions.

The Light of cities can be seen from space. As this light emanates from our cities outward from the planet, I think of them as power exchanges that light up the face of the Kosmos – the bright evidence of humans, who have evolved as Gaia’s reflective organs, showing the Kosmos reflecting on herself.

I love the pivot points of Winter and Summer Solstice that remind us of how the Light that touches the planet has the power to influence our relationship to Spirit. In the southern hemisphere solstice celebrations revel in the longest day of summer, and in the north, we turn on the power to our Christmas decorations, to Light up the longest night. It’s as though the interconnected net of cities in the north and south swings on a Yin and Yang energy flow that shifts the power of Light to Light the power of city Spirit around the world.

Perhaps it is this bi-seasonal pulse that flowed through my energetic body and lighted the Spirit of the Integral City to come to life in the book?

(PS: For an exploration of Spirituality in the Human Hive – check out the peer reviewed article in the Resources section below.)

December Solstice: Mystery of City Spirit

Cities generate habitats for Love!!. People come to love their city in powerful and palpable ways. They will die to defend it against overwhelming odds (like those who refused to succumb to the 900 day siege of Leningrad; or the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki; or the shunning of Hanford, Washington).

People sense the spirit of a city. This spirit is palpable and shared by city residents who sense when it is healthy, stressed or damaged and fight to return it to a state of well-being. We have seen, with the visibility of modern disasters, that outsiders will even rally to restore the spirit of the city.

One such, “outsider” is Olivia Fermi, granddaughter of Enrico Fermi, part of the scientific team that developed the atomic bomb – which was the source of one the most potent experiences of power ever experienced by any city. Olivia has created a project (and a blog), she calls “On the Neutron Trail” and has journeyed to Hanford, where the plutonium was made for the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki, and which now is the site of one of the world’s largest environmental recovery projects. She has also recently visited Nagasaki and Hiroshima to visit the shrines in both cities and most importantly to meet citizens who are survivors of the World War II bombings.

Olivia says: “To this day, humanity struggles to make sense of what happened. Victory? Tragedy? These questions are part of a larger movement toward healing that I hope to support with my Neutron Trail journey. Read more about her visit to Nagasaki here and Hiroshima here.

Citizens – and city visitors – with intentions like these, create the true spirit of a city. The expression and realization of intentions lie at the heart of the city’s energy — its joie de vivre, its esprit de corps. Citizen intentions dictate whether individuals experience happiness, well-being and quality of life in the city. It is imperative for cities to nourish the capacities of citizen consciousness – whether that be tending shrines, or telling stories to strangers, or healing others on peace missions (like the Peace Boat that has visited many cities around the world), so that the ever-increasing levels of complexity that exist in today’s cities gain minds, hearts and spirits equal to living optimally under these complex life conditions.

(Adapted from Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 147)

From Russia with Love: A Short History of the Power of a Strange Attractor 

Symbols and logos seem to have the power of “strange attractors” with a life of their own. Let me tell you the story of the Integral City Compass Logo. It was first created in the late 80’s when I delivered programs under the name Global Learning Connections, with a special focus on Navigating for Profits. My graphic designer proposed Logo 1 in Figure 1 for the work. I especially liked the logo because in the centre two people appeared to join hands and push outwards into the waves of directionality marked by the nested quarter circles and arrows.

Figure 1: History of  Integral City Logos

Figure 1: History of Integral City Logos

In the early 2000’s, this Logo transformed with my work and company name into Logo 2 for Integral City Meshworks. You can see it morphed into a full compass rose, as the Integral Quadrants gave new meaning to our first Integral City website.

The next step, arose after the publication of the Integral City book in 2008, when a new designer crafted Logo 3 as the home page flash compass of Integral City’s 12 Intelligences:

The next iteration came for our ad in the ITC2010 brochure. Logo 4 was a Turquoise version that reflected our theme of Meshworking in the Human Hive.

These four logo variations (and more) are still alive and working their magic as symbols on reports, blog banners and favicons.

But with the mystery that powers strange attractors, the logo has started to inspire others to adapt to Integral City opportunities. In the last two years ARGO has emerged – the Association for City Development in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, Russia.

Figure 2: Logo for Association of City Development, Izhevsk, Udmurtia, Russia

Figure 2: Logo for Association of City Development, Izhevsk, Udmurtia, Russia

With permission to utilize a variation of Integral City’s logo (Figure 2) ARGO clearly connected their online webinars and in-city workshops to Integral City’s mission. And then ARGO conceived and promoted across the city and through the media – an invitation to Urbanfest 2014, where city planners and the 4 voices from 44 cities in Russia, convened in Izhevsk, in May 2014. There the logo marked street banners, magazine ads and the ARGO website.

ARGO’s most recent surprise use of the logo (in Figure 3) came from this full page ad published in GOROD (City) to thank all the people who contributed to Urbanfest 2014.

Who knew that one small quadrant of a compass designed as a logo in 1989 could act like a seed and grow into the symbol of a whole urban festival half way around the world a quarter of a century later? That is the mystery of a Strange Attractor that seems to have its own power to inspire Light and Love on our Planet of Cities.

Figure 3: ARGO Thank You Ad in GOROD - Can you find your name?

Figure 3: ARGO Thank You Ad in GOROD – Can you find your name?

 

Quadrants of Conscious and Compassionate Power

UL/ Monterrey, Mexico has been the site of a number of powerful conferences on Peace, Oneness and Universal Values in the last months and years. Integral City had the honour to contribute to planning for the Monterrey World Values Conference and Global Oneness Day and continues with contributions towards 2015 values research, with our colleagues in The Hague Centre.

Monterrey Values Conference

LL/ Karen Armstrong’s, Charter for Compassion is taking root in many cities and growingCompassionate Communities. Armstrong says:

“A compassionate city is an uncomfortable city!  A city that is uncomfortable when anyone is homeless or hungry.  Uncomfortable if every child isn’t loved and given rich opportunities to grow and thrive.  Uncomfortable when as a community we don’t treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated.”

Compassion lies at the root of Integral City’s Master Code: Take care of yourself, take care of each other, take care of this place/planet – so we encourage cities to take steps to sign the Charter for Compassion.

LR/ ISO Announces New Standard for Cities. With our interest in city values and vital signs monitors, we were excited to see the recent announcement of International Standards Organization, City Standard ISO37120 – read more about it here.

LR/ AQAL A recent Glocalism journal’s call for papers on Glocalism has created a wealth of provocative papers on the boundaries between the city and the globe. Read more here.

AQAL/  City Trigger points are country tipping points was our blog for June, 2014.We wrote about the issue of how cities would become cultural trigger points for country tipping points.While drawing on the Iraq situation at time of writing, subsequent events in Donetsk, Ukraine and Ferguson, and New York USA are demonstrating how quickly this reality of the power of city to impact the power (and powerlessness) of nation (and world) is accelerating.

AQAL/ While the Economist writes about Policing in America, Values, Compassion and Performance Standards will become the crucial therapeutic “power weapons of choice”to heal open wounds of culture and worldview clashes and move cities toward the new governance structures the world’s cultures long for.

 

Celebrating “Power-focus” in the Coming Quarter that Lights Up 2014 and 2015 

December 21 marks the start of what IC calls the Power Quarter (from December 21 to March 20). What powers of imagination and meshworking do you bring to celebrate Light and Love and Life in the City at this time of year? What Mystery and Stories create rituals for sharing with loved ones?  We notice the power of cities expanding their influence on our Planet of Cities. Visit us at Integral City Collective on Face book and post a short update or a photo.

Finally, December 21, 2014, marks the 100th Anniversary of Clare W. Graves, the psychologist and researcher extraordinaire who has empowered all the insights of Spiral Dynamics IntegralTM and the Centres for Human Emergence around the world as well as the idea of the Momentous Leap that lies at the heart of a New Story for a Planet of Integral Cities. Deep bows to Graves, and the lineage of “Momentous Leapers” he has inspired.

Meshful Blessings for December Solstice from

Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Core Team

PS

Here are some Resources for amplifying Power in the Human Hive:

1. FREE peer reviewed Journal Article on Integral Spirituality in the Human Hive: a Primer – by Marilyn Hamilton

2. Blog Series celebrating the New Story of the City for World Cities Day.

3. The Story of The Integral City 2.0 Online Conference: A Fractal Non-Local Leap Toward Kosmocentricity has just been released in the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, Vol. 9, No. 1

4. Register for the fourth Integral Living Room (ILR) October 29 – November 2, 2015. This ILR will explore A Trans-Rational Soul Initiation, bringing together an integral approach to subtle energy, second-tier shamanism and ceremony, the soul, and our life’s purpose. It plans to be rich, multidimensional, and the process of preparing for it will be profound. For Special Alumni Registration click here.

5. Watch for the January, 2015 issue of Integral Leadership Review – a special issue on Canada (guest edited by Integral City Founder, Marilyn Hamilton) has contributions that build leadership capacities for an emerging Planet of Integral Cities across teams, organizations, sectors and cities.

Web of Conversations from Chihuly Glass Gallery, Seattle, WA

The New Story – a Web of Conversations from Chihuly Glass Gallery, Seattle, WA


What does the US-China handshake on climate change mean for our Planet of Cities?

When Eagle Shakes Hands with the Dragon

When Eagle Shakes Hands with the Dragon

On the one hand it should give them confidence that they are the seed beds of global change – for it is cities who took the initiative on the climate file. While the US nation both denied and ignored the issue of climate change, over 600 US cities took action in support of the Kyoto Accord to reduce greenhouse gases. While China refused to take climate action seriously at any of the global tables assembled to address the issue, her cities became the stage for the undeniable evidence that denying this truth killed people and productivity.

It is in cities where the sciences of sustainability, resilience, eco-footprints have been enunciated, explored and extolled. Cities have always been Earth’s acupressure points, where evidence accumulates about the impacts and costs of living beyond our ability to renew resources, failing to understand the interconnection of planetary systems and refusing to accept responsibility for our out-sized energy eco-footprints.

The individuality of city life conditions coupled with the universality of the human condition has allowed us to see  that we have to value and evaluate the impacts of climate change in unique ways for each city – but with the benefit of a growing collective intelligence about geographical and ecological contexts, integrated (even transcultural) strategies and evolutionary foresight.

What the US-China handshake on climate change may mean for cities, is that finally the national policy cloak that covers – and more usually chokes – city access to finances to act on the climate change file may be lifted and loosened. The natural competitiveness between nations, who have used the US-China reluctance to commit to a global climate change agreement, as an excuse for their own inaction, will be pressured both externally and internally to join the norming process that is finally emerging on the climate change file at a global scale.

The handshakes that cities may now make with each other on climate change can accelerate, deepen and expand city capacity to adapt, mitigate and prevent climate-caused disasters – even if it is only because the symbolic doors of global economic progress and energy supply chains have been kicked open by this bi-national handshake agreement.

It is now up to cities to act as if the symbolism of the handshake gives them license for real action on the climate change file across the whole planet of cities. This gives a radically new meaning to and potential for action on the synchronistic emergence of the ISO 37120 standard on city measurements.


International \Organization for Standards (ISO) has announced a new standard for quality of life in cities.

In London, UK on November 17-18, 2014, ISO in conjunction the World Council on City Data (WCCD) launches the  the first international standard for sustainable cities, ISO 37120: Sustainable development of communities — Indicators for city services and quality of life.

Working with cities who want a standard created by and for cities, WCCD and ISO 37120 have announced an initial suite of 46 indicators.  These indicators, enable the 4 Voices of the City, to access objective, verified (by auditors) vital signs (aka indicators) to to compare services and performance levels with other cities around the world. Civic managers (generally the policy makers in the city) can now be held accountable by citizens, businesses and civil society organizations by using the ISO 37120 standards as a tool that is  evidence based and annually updated.

ISO lists the benefits of the standard for cities as providing:

• More effective governance and delivery of services
• Local and international benchmarking and planning
• Informed decision making for policy makers and city managers
• Learning across cities
• Recognition by international entities
• Leverage for funding by cities with senior levels of government
• Framework for sustainability planning
• Transparency and open data for investment attractiveness

The WCCD has identified 20 foundation cities who have agreed to adopt ISO 37120 and help build the WCCD, basing its initial set of indicators on 17 Themes.

 

As we have written elsewhere, for an Integral City, key city indicators must be balanced amongst the four quadrants and based on the city as a living, complex adaptive system. While at least one of the key indicators we have been tracking since our Integral City 2.0 Online Conference is missing (Food) – we think this looks like a promising start with proxies for all the quadrants in place. Moreover, the 20 foundation cities are distributed around the world, so that they will seed the growth of the indicators in different geographies and cultures. (Bogotá, Guadalajara, Boston, Toronto, London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Helsinki, Arnman, Dubai, Makkah, Minna, Johannesburg, Haiphong, Shanghai, Makati, Melbourne).

Kudos to the working teams at WCCD and all the cities who have participated!!!

Key information in this blog was gleaned from Meeting of the Minds, webinar on New Urban Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life  http://cityminded.org/cal/new-urban-indicators-city-services-quality-life

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