Kruf, J.P. (2012). Ecosystem City® Component Colour Basic Wheel with connection lines.
The colour wheel – first designed in 1666 by Isaac Newton, is a way of illustrating hues related to types of organisations, which are active in the city. This can be useful if you consider the fact that a city have hundreds, sometimes even thousands of active organisations within their borders. How to order them and keep track of drivers and backgrounds or find out positions in the perspective of the governance of the city? Colours can visualise the network of the city landscape.
Based on the city – forest analogy in the Ecosystem City® as well as on the triangle for main types of organisations – government, business and civil society (Meijer, 2018) – active in the city, the first draft of a (city) component colour wheel was designed by me. I believe that linking colours to types can be helpful in understanding and readability in the process of diagnosing the state of the city. I consider organisations in this approach as the basic components of the city, like organisms in a forest. Quite an analogy.
Mintzberg (2016) talks about species of organisations, in the way they are managed and focused. He elaborated this idea from his earlier publication Structure in Fives (Mintzberg, 1983). Adding the scope of organisations on content and value approach is a challenging step. Introduction of these types – taxonomically in analogy with that of the classification of species within genera and accordingly within families – is an exploration in itself. The starting point is the basic wheel.
All colours are from the palette of the Pantone Color Matching System, for reasons of standardisation, print and reproduction.
The basic wheel
The colour red (Pantone® Poppy Red) symbolises the civil society and as a metaphor the ecosystem of city life. The colour green (Pantone® Forest Green) symbolises the natural environment or better: nature as a whole. Following the triangle the colour blue (Pantone® Imperial Blue) symbolises government, the colour yellow (Pantone® Vibrant Yellow) symbolises business.
Directly related is the colour orange (Pantone® Carrot Curl) symbolising the true non-governmental side of civil society.Because of the political convictions and their influence on the management of the city – I added political organisations to the basic wheel, represented by the colour purple (Pantone® Royal Purple). Politics is often considered as a part of government in the triangle by underlying democratic principles, but the direct influence on the city landscape justifies a place in the basic wheel. It is connected with blue via election or nomination processes.
Kruf, J.P. (2016). Ecosystem City® Component Colour Wheel extended.
The extended wheel
Clockwise, starting at 12:00, the components are described and explained. The extended colour wheel regards a limited selection of extra types of organisations – the components of the Ecosystem City® – which from the perspective of city management play on average a major role in discussions, debates and decisions.
Civil society (Pantone® Poppy Red) can be understood as the “third sector” of society, distinct from government and business, and including the family and the private sphere.
Non-governmental organisations (Pantone® Carrot Curl), are an essental part of civil society, representing relevant public values and interests in a wide diversity, independent and non-profit or not-for-profit.
Education organisations (Pantone® Gold Fusion). They come in a variety of form, steered by government, founded independently or as business. The colour has been chosen because education is the golden lining of human and social development. Education is about improvement and development.
Religion & Thought organisations (Pantone® Lunar Rock) is the functional component concerning spiritual and belief and its organisations and institutions. Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, morals, world views, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. Thought on the other hand encompasses an aim-oriented flow of ideas and associations that can lead to a reality-oriented conclusion. The colour has been chosen because the moon has a special place in all religion and thought. Beside that it is linked with quietness and its associations and synonyms like peacefulness, peace and quiet, restfulness, calmness, tranquillity and serenity.
Finance organisations (Pantone® Silver) enable the flow of money. Financing is their main function, i.e. accepting deposits from the public, creating credit, lending and investing, performed either directly or indirectly through capital markets. Banks and investors belong to this component. The emerge as cooperation, state-owned or privately owned.
The system world (Pantone®Jet Black) is the world of election, governance, rules and regulation, taxes, performance, services, the system and its mechanisms. The colour is linked with the mineraloid Jet, which has an organic origin, being derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure. So the colour has it roots in the living world but because of its structure is now symbolising the system world. Frozen life.
Business organisations (Pantone® Vibrant Yellow) come in a wide variety and abundance. All organisation represent the essence and vibrancy of entrepreneurschip. Yellow is the colour of innovation, brightness, power, hope and and positivity.
Media organisations (Pantone® Desert Dust) can be defined as the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, that reach or influence people widely.organisations come in a variety of organisational forms. They mostly are close to business oriented starting points and constraints. The deserve a separate place at the table, because of their essential roles in information dissemination as well in governmental checks and balances.
Science organisations (Pantone® Lime Green) can be defined as a systematic enterprise that builds and organises knowledge in the form of testable and verifiable explanations and predictions about the universe. Universities and research institutes belong to this group. They emerge in a variety of forms.
Nature (Pantone® Forest Green) is the functional component representing all natural ecosystems and the organisations related. The colour is an obvious association.
Governmental organisations (Pantone® Process Blue) concern the executive and performing domain of government, most of the time without an elected but a mandate structure in governance. The involved organisations serve the state, province, region or municipality directly and indirectly. They have a mandate to act related to government responsibilities Agencies and parastatals are part of this function.
Governmental councils (Pantone® Imperial Blue) are key components by which a state, region, city or community is controlled. They in fact are in charge of the public governance of society as well as of the natural environment. It serves its citizens and companies. It can be the (elected) governing council with its management such as a municipality, region, province or specific organisation. The associated colour is Pantone® Imperial Blue. It links with the Latin imperium, meaning ‘rule over large territories’.
Elected councils (Pantone® Royal Purple) are representing the people, the citizens through a process of election (in democracies). The colour speaks for itself, because the representation is widely considered as the highest in its forms. They are considered as an elementary and strategic part of government, interacting wit governmental councils and organisations. Their composition is based on formal elected representing members of political organisations.
Political organisations (Pantone® Violet Tulip) are related to ‘a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group’ (Hague et al., 2013). They refer in essence to the representation of ideas for achieving and exercising positions of governance-organized control over a human community. Machiavelli described politics as the world of ‘power and influence’. The associated colour is Pantone® Violet Tulip. Violet is the colour at the beginning of the visible spectrum, at the place where ideas become tangible and show themselves. And of course there are flowers for voters during election time.
Judiciary organisations (Pantone® Pottery Clay) is the governmental type of organisation which interprets and applies the law in a country, state or an international community. Courts belong to this component. They focus on the process of study, reduction, deduction and interpretations from laws, rules and regulations and accordingly on the formulation and dictation of decisions and enforcement. They are state-owned, but formally indecently operating.
Indicator organisations (Pantone® Natural) are related to natural expressions in art and culture, contributing to re-creation and renaissance.They are marked as a separate family of components because of their signing related to the state of society and its intrinsic indicating value. They come in a wide variety of organisational forms and appearances, but all indicate the state of the heart of people, groups, society and ecosystems. The chosen colour natural has its own value.
Citizen (Pantone® Prism Pink) has a separate colour. It is the prism through which we consider the world. It is symbolising youth, good health, and playfulness. It stand for femininity and romance, sensitivity and tenderness. It’s inherently sweet, cute and charming. It is all the good humans represent.
In the center of the colour wheel, the Living World (Pantone® Snow White) has been situated. This colour symbolises the virginity, dynamics, creativity, self expression, consciousness, love and life. What is stronger than seeing one’s own footprints in the purity of the driven snow. Proof of life in it’s simplest form.
Hague, R. and M. Harrop ( 2013) Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan International Higher Education.
Meijer, A. (2018). Datapolis: A Public Governance Perspective on “Smart Cities”, Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, Volume 1, Issue 3, September 2018, Pages 195–206, https://doi.org/10.1093/ppmgov/gvx017
Mintzberg, H. (1985). Structure in Fives: Designing effective organisations. London: Pearson Education.
Mintzberg, H. (2016). Species of Organizations. Mintzberg.org. https://mintzberg.org/blog/organization-species, Seen on the 10th of October 2020