Integral Sustainable Design for City 2.0

How would we approach the built design for Integral City 2.0? Could we find a designer with the depths of consciousness, design repertoire, cultural acuity and systemic prowess to imagine Integral City 2.0 designs?

I propose a likely candidate would be Architect, Mark DeKay to lead us with the wisdom of Integral Sustainable Design. In fact he has just written a book by that very title. DeKay speaks to the three audiences that an Integral City 2.0 design must attract.  Firstly he addresses the scholars of Integral Theory to explore the principles of Design. Secondly, he invokes the Sustainability stewards of City 2.0 to appreciate the fundamentals of wholism, living systems, systems thinking and ecology. Thirdly he calls forth the designers and students of design and architecture who will design the built City 2.0.

I had been waiting for Mark DeKay’s book for a long time before TED’s City 2.0 was announced. (In fact as author of Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive I wish that DeKay’s book had been published before my own was written.) Now I see DeKay’s book as a necessary guide for imagining and building Integral City 2.0.

The book’s four parts focus first on the Perspectives of Integral Design. The second looks at Levels of Complexity, exploring the developmental path of the Design view. The third examines Ecological Design Thinking with an insightful look at shift thinking from linear to non-linear perceptions. The fourth part explores the Relationship of Design to Nature from five developmental levels.

From the Integral Discourse a full text of my review of DeKay’s book is available in Journal of Integral Theory and Pratice, Volume 6, Issue 3.

From the Design Discourse, a new review by Lisa Norton in metropolismagazine has just expressed appreciation for DeKay’s mastery of a whole new paradigm applied to the field of architecture. Norton explains:  “we might say that every epoch has its architectural dignities as well as its architectural disasters, evolving and in turn transcending what proves un-resourceful, while incorporating what is valuable. DeKay’s book skillfully details precisely such developments and anticipates future possibilities for designers of habitus. His skillful choice of a range of contemporary and historical examples, drawn from every continent, elucidates what an integral approach to designing for sustainability might look like.”

With duly noted caution, Norton admits “until this book, no author had connected the dots from the still-emergent field of integral theory to design in such a way as to give clear instructions for its application, particularly to sustainable architectural practice. Integral Sustainable Design is a vivid map with examples, that offers possible reasons for why existing approaches to sustainable architecture do not reliably deliver the catalytic outcomes that one would expect given the overall promise of and excitement around whole systems design for architecture and urban studies. In fact, this book can be seen as a kind of explanation for the failure of sustainable design in general to really take root, thrive, and achieve that widely anticipated and catalytic social tipping point.” (Readers can read the full review here.)

That’s the Integral Sustainable Design tipping point that cities would need to evolve their built form into Integral City 2.0.


DeKay, M. (2011). Integral Sustainable Design: Transformative Perspectives. London, UK: Earthscan.

Hamilton, M. (2011). Integral Sustainable Design, Book Review Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 6(3), 137-148. Retrieved from ttp://aqaljournal.integralinstitute.org/public/Issues.aspx

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

Norton, L. (2012). Integral Sustainable Design, Book Review. metropolismag.com. Retrieved from http://www.metropolismag.com/pov/20120113/integral-sustainable-design

By |2017-04-07T02:57:35+00:00January 24th, 2012|Building - Structures, city, Integral Maps|4 Comments

About the Author:

HI I am the Founder of Integral City Meshworks Inc. and Chief Blogger. Working with cities and eco-regions, I ‘meshwork’ or weave people, purpose, priorities, profits, programs and processes to align contexts, grow capacity and develop strategies for sustainability and resilience in the Integral City. You can read more details about me here http://integralcity.com/about/about-the-founder/


  1. […] consciousness, design repertoire, cultural acuity and systemic prowess to imagine Integral …Via marilyn.integralcity.com Escrito en Noticias por scoopit / 27 enero, 2012 / Sin comentarios […]

    • Marilyn Hamilton January 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your link BioClimax – great to be connected to your blog and our shared interest in shift to sustainable wellbeing. Meshful blessings, Marilyn Hamilton

  2. […] fact applying evolutionary strategic design will not just be useful for selecting appropriate approaches for sustainability for cities in the […]

  3. […] Integral Sustainable Design for City 2.0 […]

Leave A Comment