Four Integral City voices

The last four posts briefly articulate four evolutionary intelligences that reflect the four quadrants of integral theory:

  1. Conscious capacity – upper left
  2. Embodying intelligence in action – upper right
  3. Building structural intelligence – lower right
  4. Culture of relationship intelligence – lower left

Marilyn Hamilton [1] frames these intelligences explicitly as the four integral voices of the city, each of which contributes to the ‘discourse’ of the city: citizens, civic managers, civic developers and civil society.

The voices of citizens express the center of gravity of the city’s values.  In democratic countries, citizens have the power to elect and criticize the other voices in the city.  They have power as intentional consumers. They express the power of engagement and intention.  They are the voice of the city spirit.

The voices of city managers are the voice of city expertise; they are the guides  that oversee the needs of the city.  They are the people who work at city hall, school boards, health institutions on our behalf.  They are the voice of the city brain.

The voices of civil society are the cultural voice of the city. These are the social organizations and non-government organizations that attend to the social needs of the city.  They are the voices of the city’s heart.

The voices of city developers are traditionally the people who ‘conceive of, invest in and build the infrastructure of the city’.  These voices focus on the future – the vision and promise of the city.

Hamilton sums up these voices this way: “While the voice of the citizens and city managers are usually preoccupied with the affairs of the present and the voices of civil society value things of the past, the voices of city developers speak in the future tense.”

The co-mingling of these voices are the dance of the city, and the tension in the city too.  This tension is a critical dynamic in the evolution of cities and our relationship with them, in our multiple roles as citizens, civic managers, civic developers and civil society.

My next post will continue to explore evolutionary intelligence – and the power of inquiry to reach our evolutionary potential.


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[1] Marilyn Hamilton, Integral City, p. 190-194


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If you are interested in learning more about evolutionary intelligences relating to cities, you will be interested in the Integral City eLaboratory – Co-Creating the Future of the Human Hive

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