Welcome to Deeper City & Urban-3.0  – a forum and demo site for the upcoming generation of cities, economies, ecologies and societies.

This site has work in progress on the book – ‘Deeper City: collective intelligence and the pathways from smart to wise’ – also known as –  ‘Urban 3.0′ – to be published by Earthscan / Routledge


here is an overview and a manual for navigating the future…. centred on the 12-step Synergistic Toolkit, and the Synergistic Mind-Lab in context… complete with pictures & conversations…

Synergistics – overview

Synergistics – practical guide


take 15 seconds for an elevator pitch(9mb)

Cities are the hubs and shapers of economies and societies from local to global… but they are too often divided and dysfunctional.  There is a huge challenge, in how to foster our cities – i.e. communities, city-regions, city-states, urban systems or any kind of settlement pattern – to ensure survival and prosperity for 9 billion people, on one small planet.  So we explore how cities and urban systems work, with 3 different models:

The “City-I” (and all its social or economic systems) is basically a mechanical model of how cities work. It’s based on a linear throughput of materials and energy, from extraction to production to dumping of waste and pollution. A City-I might be a very complex and ‘clever’ city, but it works only on the functions it was programmed for.

The “City-II” is a more biological kind of system, well suited to capitalist enterprises and markets.  This city can be more entrepreneurial and creative, but basically the winners take all, while outsourcing their problems to communities or ecologies, local or global.  A City-II might be very ‘smart’, but smart systems too often bring ‘un-smart’ side-effects.

The “City-III” is a more human model of conscious synergy, self-organizing collaboration and networked intelligence.  This kind of synergy can then respond to complex inter-connected problems – climate change, social exclusion, economic fragility and others. It can co-design systems of economics, technologies or urban planning, with collective intelligence. A City-III is basically a ‘wise’ city.  A wise City-III looks for wider synergies between all its actors: for ‘deeper’ synergies between different values: and it looks for ‘further’ synergies of collective intelligence.


This journey began after a decade of the Sustainable City-Region program at CURE (Centre for Urban Resilience & Energy).  This was all about the inter-connectedness of things.   We created future visions, analysed models and projections, presented reports and ran workshop events… and nearly always found gaps, barriers and blockages to real progress.  We began to realize that the key was not only about things, but about the inter-connectedness of thinking.   Some people do this intuitively – great leaders, artists or entrepreneurs, carers or teachers – but many don’t – and meanwhile the global challenges escalate (climate change, water, obesity, unemployment, expropriation, etc).  This calls for rapid learning on interconnected thinking, and rapid R&D on methods and tools to help.

download: Town & Country Planning special issue on the anniversary of CURE and the inter-connectedness of thinking:   TCP – special issue

This site is a snapshot in progress of that journey of learning and R&D: it’s not a final statement or theory, and not a 10-point checklist, but there is enough in progress to share.

It’s a working site, with content going up as soon as the Book is signed off…. contributions or feedback are welcome.