1st Edition

Deeper City Collective Intelligence and the Pathways from Smart to Wise

By Joe Ravetz Copyright 2020
    418 Pages 326 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    418 Pages 326 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Deeper City is the first major application of new thinking on ‘deeper complexity’, applied to grand challenges such as runaway urbanization, climate change and rising inequality. The author provides a new framework for the collective intelligence – the capacity for learning and synergy – in many-layered cities, technologies, economies, ecologies and political systems.

    The key is in synergistic mapping and design, which can move beyond smart ‘winner-takes-all’ competition, towards wiser human systems of cooperation where ‘winners-are-all’. Forty distinct pathways ‘from smart to wise’ are mapped in Deeper City and presented for strategic action, ranging from local neighbourhoods to global finance.

    As an atlas of the future, and resource library of pathway mappings, this book expands on the author’s previous work, City-Region 2020. From a decade of development and testing, Deeper City combines visual thinking with a narrative style and practical guidance. This book will be indispensable for those seeking a sustainable future – students, politicians, planners, systems designers, activists, engineers and researchers.

    A new postscript looks at how these methods can work with respect to the 2020 pandemic, and asks, ‘How can we turn crisis towards transformation?'

    1.1 What’s the big idea? Deeper questions 

    1.2 What’s the big picture? Wider visions 

    1.3 What’s a Deeper City? Concepts and FAQs

    1.4 Where to start? Book-in-use


    2. PROSPECTS  

    2.1 Here there be dragons: Think-onomics-III

    2.2 The future starts now: Nexus-connexus  

    2.3 Cases and places: City-state-planet



    3.1 Where to start: Synergistics-Landscape 

    3.2 What’s the problem: System-Mapping

    3.3 What’s coming up: Scenario-Mapping 

    3.4 What’s the vision: Synergy-Mapping

    3.5 What’s to be done: Strategy-Mapping 

    3.6 What next: Toolkits-III


    4. CITIES

    4.1 What problem: Cities-Landscape 

    4.2 Where to live: Neighbourhood-III

    4.3 How to build: Housing-III 

    4.4 How to renew: Retrofit-III

    4.5 Where to build: City-region-III 

    4.6 Where not to build: Anti-city-region-III

    4.7 How to plan: Civic-design-III 

    4.8 Pathways: Cities-III



    5.1 What problem: Economies-Landscape 

    5.2 Where to work: Local-onomics-III

    5.3 Which resources: Circul-onomics-III 

    5.4 How to create value: Enterprise-III

    5.5 How to invest: Finance-III  

    5.6 How to grow and why: Prosperity-III

    5.7 Pathways: Economies-III



    6.1 What problem: Ecologies-Landscape

    6.2 How to be green: Eco-Urban-III 

    6.3 How to be cool: Climate-III

    6.4 How to thrive: Adaptation-III 

    6.5 How to grow and eat: Food-III

    6.6 Pathways: Ecologies-III



    7.1 What problem: Technologies-Landscape

    7.2 On the frontier: Informatics-III 

    7.3 On the value-chain: Smart-Services-III

    7.4 On the platform: Smart-Communities-III  

    7.5 How to learn: Education-III

    7.6 How to know: Science-III 

    7.7 Pathways: Tech-Knowledges-III



    8.1 What problem: Political-Landscape

    8.2 Where to take control: Multi-level-III  

    8.3 How to manage: Organizations-III

    8.4 How to be well-fair: Public-Service-III 

    8.5 Who gets what: Equalities-III

    8.6 The state to come: Co-opolism-III  

    8.7 Pathways for a Politics-III



    9.1 How to think: Deeper-Mind-III  

    9.2 How to decide: E/Valuation-III

    9.3 How to thrive: Resilience-III  

    9.4 How to look ahead: Foresight-III



    10.1 From personal to political: Societal-III 

    10.2 Where and when: Developmental-III

    10.3 All in the mind: Global-III 

    10.4 What next: Multi-versity-III


    11. MIND-GAMES

    Postscript: From crisis to transformation


    12. ANNEX 

    121 Glossary and abbreviations

    12.2 Summary tables  






    Joe Ravetz is Co-Director of the Collaboratory for Urban Resilience & Energy at the University of Manchester. He works on sustainable cities and regions, with a unique perspective on collective intelligence for urban and environmental issues. He is a systems designer, academic, visual thinker, practitioner and process facilitator for complex inter-connected problems. His previous publications include City-Region 2020 and Environment and City.

    Collective intelligence combined with collaborative action are, for me, the hallmarks of a society determined to adapt with hope…

    —Pam Warhurst, CBE, Chair of Incredible Edible Network, Chair of Pennine Prospects, former Chair of the Forestry Commission Great Britain, former Co-chair of the Countryside Agency, etc

    Some of the most fascinating work underway worldwide is exploring the frontiers of collective intelligence and collective wisdom - how communities and cities can think together and get beyond the often banal promise of ‘smart cities’. This book is packed with frameworks and ideas applying these ideas to the future evolution of cities: literally, a mind-expanding book.

    —Geoff Mulgan, Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation, University College London, and author of ‘Big Mind’

    Powerful and poignant. If there were ever a time to foreground a plurality of knowledges from all over the world for common purpose, it would be now - to advance Deeper City’s proposition of shifting crisis towards transformation. The combination of traditional foresight techniques with gaming, wordplays and Ravetz’s ever-evocative visualisations, is rich and compelling. Just what is needed to invite the collective to participate in growing new wisdoms in troubling and uncertain times. A valuable resource for all re-imaginers, re-educators and re-makers.

    —Professor Geci Karuri-Sebina, South African Cities Network / African Centre for Cities, Johannesburg, South Africa

    This is a truly brilliant book. And the cherry on top is that it easy to read, and packed with wonderful images. A true contribution in helping create a deeper transformative Gaian polity. We are all indebted to Ravetz.

    —Professor Sohail Inayatullah, Inauguaral Unesco Chair in Futures Studies, Metafuture.org, Professor at Tamkang University

    Inspirational, imaginative, wise – and – deep… One of the most visionary and creative works on cities and human co-evolution I have ever encountered. Joe Ravetz takes us on a profound journey into collaborative learning, thinking and exploring.

    —Dr Cristina Garzillo Leemhuis, Senior Coordinator, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, Germany

    Systemic crises demand systemic responses. In a world deeply amiss, we can’t tweak our way to livable cities and a decent future. We need to nurture the collective intelligence and action for transformative change, and this book is an essential guide for that journey.

    —Paul Raskin, Ph.D, President, Tellus Institute: Director, Great Transition Initiative, USA

    We face unprecedented times of stress, with large global shocks like pandemics, a rapid move towards urbanization, and climate change which all impact human society in deep, profoundly unequal ways. Systemic thinking is needed to find ways out of this crisis. Drawing on deep experience from diverse geographies, and varied contexts from urban finance to ecology, politics, technology and culture, Deeper City provides ideas to spur our imagination. This book is important reading for all those who wish to understand how to design a future urban world that is sustainable and just"

    —Professor Harini Nagendra, Director of Research, Azim Premji University, Bangalore

    ‘Deep structure’ is an idea originating in the theory of language, which enables us to dig below what we see on the surface to more fundamental meanings. It also applies to cities, the crucibles of collective intelligence, far beyond our current obsession with ‘smart cities’. This calls for synergistic insights from many perspectives. Joe Ravetz has not only produced a roadmap of multiple pathways for the future of cities, but also an atlas of the terrain that we need to navigate, with its many layers of politics, economics, technologies, and ecologies. Essential reading for anyone interested in how we might grapple with the huge challenges that future cities bring, from climate change to the current Pandemic.

    —Professor Michael Batty, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), University College London

    I have been a fan of Joe’s for many years. The post-script to Deeper City on a Pandemic-III is particularly timely as cities everywhere are looking to rethink themselves. At Ethical Reading, for example, we are working with business and community organisations on pathways to tackle multiple social and economic challenges. I can recommend the ideas of Deeper City – and the graphics!

    —Gill Ringland, SAMI Fellow Emeritus: Director, Ethical Reading: Council Member of the Economic and Social Research Council: Fellow of British Computing Society

    The economic crash, global pandemic, looming climate emergency and growing inequality, all show that new ways of thinking and acting are urgently needed. Joe Ravetz sets out in both words and pictures clear pathways for this emerging reality. He demonstrates that overcoming these problems is possible, and that opportunities for a wiser and more peaceful society lie in wait...

    —Alex Smith, Founding Director of Alara Wholefoods, Chair of Camley St Neighbourhood Forum, Chair of Food & Drink Federation Organics Group

    By the middle of the century about three quarters of the world’s people will live in cities. This makes what cities think and do about climate change, central to any chance we have of climate policy success. We cannot succeed unless top down policies by governments are complemented by bottom up policies in cities, and communities or networks of all kinds, whose leaders are much more likely to be trusted by voters.

    —Tom Burke, CBE, Chairman and Founding Director of E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism): Visiting Professor at University College & Imperial College London.

    This book is the culmination of ideas developed over a long period of time and shared with numerous collaborators, including a research team in which I was a member. In mapping the pathways for the future, Ravetz offers a comprehensive and thoughtful treatment of how ‘synergistic thinking’ may become possible. Enriched with examples from across the world, and beautifully illustrated by Ravetz’ superb drawings, the book provides an engaging and accessible volume for a wide range of readers who are interested in the future of cities and everything within them.

    —Professor Simin Davoudi, Director of Global Urban Research Unit (GURU), Co-Director of NU Centre for Cities, Newcastle University

    As Joe Ravetz sets out in Deeper City – we, that is all of us and all societies, are in the middle of a ‘massive act of self-harm’. We are faced with global existential threats, despite global connectivity to anywhere and everywhere. We face increasing radical uncertainty, despite there being more information than ever before about anything and everything. And we face growing divisions and isolation in society, despite the revolution of social media to communicate instantly to anyone and everyone. There has been no more critical time than now for change. Ravetz challenges us to do this, starting with the language we use. The range of ideas and styles used to illustrate them is vast and itself challenging. In many ways, reading this book is like entering a great art gallery with so many rooms , painters, exhibitions , shops , cafes ... One needs to go back, time and again, to really absorb the wealth of ideas. Like the gallery, where some artists will resonate more than others, this book says something to all of us about how we can all change, whatever our role in shaping the future of our cities.

    —Professor Vincent Goodstadt, Honorary President, European Council of Spatial Planners