May 27, Saturday
11:30 – 13:30
Budapest (CEST)

Urbanism & the Integral Lens of Patrick Geddes

IEC Conference: 2023

Urbanization is one of the great trends in the history of homo-sapiens and planet Earth itself, and by the end of this century some three-quarters of all people are expected to be living in cities. This has potentially profound implications for the evolution of humans and the biosphere. As such, urbanization is a rich topic for integral inquiry. An early pioneer of urban planning, Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932), developed a school of thought that held striking similarities to integral theory, but he did not have the benefit of drawing upon the integral synthesis that would emerge roughly a century later. Drawing upon a paper published in mainstream scholarly literature, this presentation provides an introductory primer to some of Geddes’ noteworthy “thinking machines,” while assessing correspondence between his work and four important integral themes: Interdisciplinary Holism; Evolution, Development and Complex Systems; Human Agency and Ethics; and Spirituality. In so doing, this presentation hopes to revalorize the work of a somewhat forgotten urban thinker, while elevating urbanism as an important topic for integral inquiry.

EISENMAN, Theodore

Sweden / United States

I have been engaging with integral theory and evolutionary spirituality since 2005, and this perspective infuses virtually every aspect of my life. In my professional work as a university professor in city planning and landscape architecture, my scholarship concerns the historical, scientific, cultural, and design bases of urban greening, which I define as a social practice of organized or semi-organized efforts to introduce, conserve, or maintain outdoor vegetation in urban areas. This research encompasses urban tree planting initiatives (TPIs), urban ecosystem services and disservices, human health and wellbeing links with urban flora, design and planning norms, equity, and governance. I believe that design is a powerful tool for enhancing human and ecological potentials, and this informs my approach to urban planning and design. Raised in Sweden and the U.S. and having traveled extensively including work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, I am also interested in international and transcultural perspectives on urban greening, meaning making, and creating a livable and sustainable future.