The culture of the city represents the lived values of its citizens. It is the perpetual barometer of ‘what’s important around here.’ 
I began this series of posts on evolutionary intelligences with integral intelligence (part 1 and part 2). In these two parts, four maps were shared that help us see our cities as wholes. One of those maps was the integral map with four quadrants (see part 2). Marilyn Hamilton imagines the four quadrants as four intelligences for an Integral City (her book, her website).
This is the last of four posts that look at four of the evolutionary intelligences for the city from the vantage point of each of the four quadrants. The last post, building intelligence, explored the lower right quadrant – building intelligence. Today, we look at the lower left and our capacity to feed the spirit of the city and each other in cities.
The culture of cities is about relationships – and the relationship of cultures. For Hamilton, “The relationships of the city’s cultures can be heard and felt .” They are ‘tangible’ on the collective level the same way our emotions within ourselves as individuals are tangible. They are real and alive. The strength of this intelligence from the lower left quadrant is dependent upon the quality of relationships among our cultures. In fact, as Hamilton puts it, relationships may the be prime currency of the Integral City, a city that integrates the range of evolutionary intelligences.
Hamilton highlights three kinds of relationships:
Simple transactional relationships, where an exchange is made, but neither part to the relationship are changed.
Transformative relationships, where the exchange causes one or both parties to recognizably change form.
Transmutational relationships, the parties are fundamentally recombined into something completely new. A new pattern emerges.
New patterns are critical to evolutionary intelligence, for it is the emergence of new patterns that signal our evolution, our response to changing life conditions. The three relationships above are simple, complicated and complex. The complex relationships are the ones that lead to new patterns.
Recall Spiral Dynamics, one of the four integral maps to see whole systems of a city (click here for a primer on evolutionary expansion and here for a recap of the integral maps). Our movement up the Spiral is a result of new patterns, new ways of being in relationship with our surroundings. Our relationship with our surroundings – at the scale of the individual and collective – is at the heart of our drive to survive. At every turn we see new things that need to be done and we seek to improve them. At every turn our context changes and we seek to improve it. And as we grow our values shift and adjust in response.
At the heart of this intelligence is our need to thrive with each other. We are in cities to create the conditions to thrive. We choose cities to create the conditions to thrive. Our relationships are getting more and more complex and we continue to evolve. We have no idea where we will go exactly, but we are going on. We will continue to thrive.
My next post will offer a recap of the four integral city voices: citizens, city managers, city developers/builders, and civil society.