Integral City
321 Pages

Integral City


321 Pages


Cities function unintelligently when their parts are disconnected. The integral city meshes or multiplies city intelligences by integrating capacities, functions and locations into a whole system, like a human hive. Everything counts.

An integral city exists as a whole living system within the context of a specific natural environment, climate and ecology. The city, like a human hive, dances with a complex concentration of energies. As a natural system with intellectual, physical, cultural and social intelligences, it adapts to all the same issues, factors and challenges that affect the evolution of life anywhere: how to integrate information, matter and energy.

Integral City applies an integral paradigm for appreciating the city. Numerous graphs and specific examples describe integral processes and tools for change. This is a global, whole, multi-perspective way of looking at the world. Chapters explore:

  • Four-quadrant map of reality
  • Cities as concentrators of complex wealth
  • Mapping intelligence capacities
  • Mapping infrastructure for resource allocation
  • Designing appropriate governance systems
  • Relating the exterior environment to interior city life
  • "Meshworking"
  • Integral vital signs monitors.

Integral City will appeal to anyone interested in creating conditions in which our cities can evolve intelligently beyond the challenges of the 21st century.



Published by
Published 01 November 2008
Reads 0
EAN13 9781550923940
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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ADVANCE PRAI SE FOR Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive
Integral Cityprovides an important vision for how we can begin to inhabit our cities with an evolutionary intelligence that promises to allow both people and planet to flourish. With the meta-framework presented here, Marilyn Hamilton joins and extends the integrative tradition of Patrick Geddes, Lewis Mumford, and Jane Jacobs . In particular she helps us understand the myriad connections between behavioral and systemic dimensions of urban landscapes with the psychological and cultural aspec ts. Drawing on a variety of examples from municipal systems, city politics, public spa ce, cartography, and regional values assessment, she enacts a bee-communication dance instructing us how we too can fly to the nourishing pollen of a new tomorrow. — Sean Esbjörn-Hargens Ph.D., author ofIntegral Ecology; Executive EditorJournal of Integral Theory and Practice; and Chair of the Integral Theory Department at John. F. Kennedy University.
What will be the most dramatic technological breakthrough o f the 21st Century? As Marilyn Hamilton demonstrates in her masterful book, it may very well be a truly integral city.Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hiveis a powerful application of the “meta-theory” of integral philosophy that is bound to change the way we understand our urban environments. And improving the life of our cities may turn out to be one of the most dramatic ways that an evolutionary perspective can advance the human condition. I highly recommend this exciting and insightful book. — Steve McIntosh, author ofIntegral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution.
In this era where rapid urbanization is a key driving force behind global change, it is imper-ative that we find some means for re-creating our cities to be more ec ologically sustain-able and harmonious with the desires of the human spirit. Marilyn Hamilton has clear ly pioneered a vision that does just that.Integral Cityis a comprehensive and accessible application of the ‘integral approach’ to city life. It is mu st read for not just city planners, but also for politicians, scientists, engineers, artisans, change agents and the city dweller. — Brian Eddy, PhD, President, iGeo Information Consulting Inc.
A d v a n c e P r a i s e
The challenges at the core and edges of urban clusters where waves of immigration collide, or racial identities clash have called forth a vibrant and pr actical solution by Dr. Marilyn Hamilton in her new bookIntegral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Dr. Hamilton introduces a powerful, new model that uncover t he fractals within human nature and probes into the very “DNA” that shapes human groupings. She demon-strates how to “read” the codes within diverse habitats and biological and social climes. She describes “the localized” — cities and communities — as c ritical to resolving: extreme diversity; sharp-edged boundaries with us vs them p olarity; hard core beliefs causing many to “hive” off into enclaves and the conflict of c ultures at the street level, around the city square and within suburban zones. She has bri lliantly adopted the metaphor of a bee hive to clearly illustrate her approach, but also becomes very spec ific in terms of who should do what, when, why, and how, to obtain what. She uses the concept of “meshworks” to replace melting pots or mosaics as the organizing intelligence. Dr. Hamilton has distinguished herself by being able to discard (her well regarded) academic trappings and working within her local context to d eal with a wide range of problems. Not only does she walk the talk, but, as a conceptual map maker, she lays down the pathway for others to follow, and has provided the expert guidance for thousands of others to discover their own unique solutions. Whenever the history of cities is written in the early 21st Century, her life, work, and now this book, wil l be cited as the first major “Integral” and “holistic” package designed to deal with the unique problems that confront “the localized.” Lots of cities will want to erect a statue of her in tribute. — Dr. Don Beck, The Spiral Dynamics Group and Global Center for Human Emergence Co-authorSpiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change;co-authorThe Crucible
Integral City,in the author’s words, is ‘for anyone who wants to see the city as a whole system, so they can gain insights that will optimize their whole life’. It offers an unprecedented view of the city, informing and enlightening on many levels, from self to cosmos — with the city as central. Often breathtakingly — in a whole systems view of the city like no other — the book offers an overstanding of the city - possibly mind-boggling for some, tantalizing for others, and quite delicious for anyone already attracted by integral framings. The book is a veri-table eco-city-region planning and design manifesto for anyone whose business touches on any aspect of city-making, city-managing and city-susta ining. It offers a goldmine of rich integral application nuggets, many from the author’s own often pioneering work. Here is someone who has very much walked her talk, for which we owe a great debt of gratitude. — Ian Wight PhD, Associate Professor of City Planning, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba
A d v a n c e P r a i s e
Marilyn Hamilton offers us a brilliant and revolutionary ne w way to examine our cities through the lens of science, ecology and systems theory, to create a new vision of what a city could be — one that supports life on this planet as well as our own evolution as human beings. She helps us navigate chaos and absorb complexity, by turning theory into practical applications. Integral City provides success stories, resources, and a blue print for action based on sound principles. — Linda Naiman, Founder, Creativity at Work. Coauthor:Orchestrating Collaboration at Work
Hamilton weaves threads of research and practice into a vision for sustainable cities. She illuminates a path toward the future that cuts across cultur al, language, disciplinary, political and linguistic lines. Her simple rules give us hop e for creating and maintaining productive, livable cities for today and tomorrow. — Glenda H. Eoyang, Ph.D., Executive Director, Human Systems Dynamics Institute; Author:Coping with Chaos: Seven Simple Tools; Coauthor:Facilitating Organization Change: Lessons from Complexity Science
This is an outstanding book that will create a whole new paradigm for understanding cities and the discipline of urban studies. It moves the discussion from fragmentation and dis-connects to wholeness and integration, with the incorporation of several fresh frameworks for research and theoretical explanation, inc luding Spiral Dynamics and Wilber's Four Quadrants Model. Urban studies from here on in will be defined by the rich contribution of this seminal work that will become the definitive textbook in the field. Congratulations. — Caleb Rosado, Ph.D., Professor of Urban Studies Director Urban Studies Program, Warner Pacific College
It is a rare occurrence these days to turn the pages of a book an d find yourself opening up to a totally new way of thinking about cities – within a local, global, and kosmic context. Marilyn Hamilton amazes us with the depth and breadth of her v ision, her mastery of the integral paradigm, and her pragmatic suggestions for creat ing cities of the future that work for the 60% of the human population now inhabiting them. The book is a seminal work of major importance, from a social entrepreneur whose w ork will be essential to future generations. — Nancy Roof, Founding Editor,Kosmos Journal In Consultative Status with United Nations Partner, Coalition for the Global Commons, Media Ambassador for World Wisdom Council
Cataloging in Publication Data: A catalog record for this publication is available from the National Library of Canada.
Copyright © 2008 by Marilyn Hamilton. All rights reserved.
Cover design by Diane McIntosh. Cover images: Satellite earth – iStock / Mehmet Salih Guler; City aerial – iStock / Djapeman; City condos – iStock / Dean Tomlinson; Row houses – iStock / Steve Geer; Skyline – iStock / Tony Tremblay; Crowd – iStock / Rafael Ramirez Lee; Apartments – iStock / Effinity Stock Photography; Children – iStock / Nicole S. Young; Young woman – iStock / Anna Bryukhanova; Mothers – iStock / photoGartner
Printed in Canada. First printing September 2008.
New Society Publishers acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) for our publishing activities.
Pb ISBN: 978-0-86571-629-2
Inquiries regarding requests to reprint all or part ofIntegral Cityshould be addressed to New Society Publishers at the address below.
To order directly from the publishers, please call toll-free (North America) 1-800-567-6772, or order online at
Any other inquiries can be directed by mail to: New Society Publishers P.O. Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC V0R 1X0, Canada (250) 247-9737
New Society Publishers’ mission is to publish books that contribute in fundamental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society, and to do so with the least possi-ble impact on the environment, in a manner that models this vision. We are committed to doing this not just through education, but through action. T his book is one step toward ending global deforestation and climate change. It is print ed on Forest Stewardship Council-certified acid-free paper that is100% post-consumer recycled(100% old growth forest-free), processed chlorine free, and printed with ve getable-based, low-VOC inks, with covers produced using FSC-certified stock. Additionally, New Society purchases car-bon offsets based on an annual audit, operating with a carbon-neutral footprint. For fur-ther information, or to browse our full list of books and purc hase securely, visit our website at:
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To the great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren
of the integral generation.
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PREFACE: EVOLUTIONARY REFLECTIONS A Meta-Framework for the City as a Whole System The New Science of Human Cities Integrating Multiple Disciplines and Sciences
1ECOSPHERE INTELLIGENCE: LOCATING PLACES FOR THE HUMAN HIVE Opportunities and Limitations Lessons from Other Species Location, Location, Location Seeking Resilience Applying the Eco-footprint Relating the Exterior Environment to Interior City Life Growing Capacity versus Outgrowing Resilience The Symbiotic Relationship of the City to Its Ecoregion Conclusion Questions
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