Integral City Compass
Barrett Brown’s research on leaders in sustainability, suggests that our Integral City leaders will frame their work as it relates to working “on” the city, or “with” the city, or “as” the city. As our capacity for practice increases we are able to deepen the stance for our work (along Brown’s spectrum of engagement) and become much more subtle in how we relate to the city and her many voices.
Integral guide, mentor and inspirator, Roger Walsh proposes that we have a strategic choice in answering the question, “As an Integralist, what can I do to optimize my impact?” We can go for the one time answer based on knowledge – or we can go for the never-ending answer, that rests on a wisdom koan that takes us ever deeper into ourselves and our relationship to reality.
Walsh suggests that Integral Practitioners can focus on relieving the very real external problems we encounter in every city (from homelessness to repairing infrastructure). We can also seek to heal our own and others’ internal wounds (of heartbreaks, cultural divides, or awareness). And in all cases we can bring the integral frames to design a meshwork of resources that break up blockages that prevent flow in the system and open up energies, exchanges and enhancements to the city habitat.
Integral lenses, capacities and perspectives expand choices because we don’t attempt to apply a “one size fits all” approach to a complex and dynamic human system. Thus we recognize and bring to bear wider, deeper, more caring perspectives in our Integral City work. In fact, Integral approaches amplify our capacity for caring. This in turn can relieve the dis-ease we feel in making choices and reaching out to others (affirming the old wisdom, that people care to know when they know you care).
Even when we are stymied by situations that seem intractable (think of the hopelessness one may feel in face of tribal wars, incurable disease, and human trafficking), as Integral optimizers we can access the mystery of transcendental awareness and open through the simple discipline of meditative practice to insights, revelation and spiritual knowing (of the unknowing).
Underpinning our intentions to optimize lies an attitude of optimism – some even call it a radical optimism that fires an Integral way of working in our cities on our Planet of Cities. So it appears that Integral optimism in an evolutionary past and an evolutionary impulse lies at the very centre of how we optimize Integral City impact – which is why it is situated at the centre of our Integral City Compass.
Footnote: Dr. Roger Walsh shared these thoughts in his keynote at the Integral Europe Conference in May 2014.