Emerging possibility


Our work in cities is about emerging possibilities. We are not planning our cities with linear processes, but rather we are organizing them. It is a messy process, murky and full of uncertainty. Where are we headed? How do we organize to find our way?

I am sharing bits of the book I am working on, Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, here on my blog. For the last few months, I have been immersed in Part 2 – Organizing for Emergence, (Chapters 4-7), where I have been exploring the dynamics of how we organize ourselves.

Here is what I have found.

Cities are meant to be messy, requiring us to change and adjust as individuals and as a collective. Cities create uncertainty for us; they are a journey that is not meant to end, because they generate the conditions for our ongoing learning journey. You may find these 10 practices for the uneasy city journey helpful.

We need to have a sense of where we are going in order to get “there”.  It doesn’t mean we know exactly where we are going, but that we have a sense of direction. Purpose place a significant role in our development, both as a higher order purpose, or sense of direction, and as a specific purpose, a specific destination. Destination is both alive and adrift in us, for we know where we are going and we don’t know where we are going.  In city life, the intrinsic value of each citizen is instrumental to the city. The purpose of the city is to allow us each to reach our full potentials as citizens, but that only happens when each citizen is pursuing the improvements we long to see.

At every turn, on our way to a destination, thresholds emerge, challenging our understanding of the world and our interaction with it. Each threshold is a piece of the learning journey. Our exploration of thresholds allows us to emerge to new destinations.

The never-ending journey to create cities that serve their inhabitants well is evident. We focus on what we want to achieve and we learn about how to get there and we learn along the way. We learn how things work ‘out’ in the world as well as ‘within’ us, and at every turn thresholds emerge to challenge our assumptions, our path, our very focus. In this dance, we revisit everything: our focus, what we are learning and what is emerging within and around us.

This is the dance – FOCUS, LEARN and EMERGE.

And this dance is dancing with the habitat that is both given to us, created by us, and forever in relationship with us. As we engage as individuals and collectives with in this dance, our nests change with us to meet our needs. The result of this dance is wonderful possibilities, both known and unknown. How well we dance, with self, other and our city nests, has an impact on the quality of the possibilities we create.

This next round of posts will conclude Part 2 – Organizing for Emergence with pieces of Chapter 7 – Unknown Possibilities. These coming posts will knit together destination, journey and emergence to illuminate how we can unleash the possibilities that surround us – for ourselves and our cities.

What possibilities do you see for your self, others and your city?

Focus learn and emerge nest 2.044


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As I begin sharing parts Chapter 7 – (Un)known Possibilities, here are some plot helpers of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, the book I am sharing here while I search for a publisher:

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