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 city as a whole and can be considered as the umbrella colour for the total ecosystem of city life, including all components of the system, being players, actors and organisations. The colour green (Pantone® Forest Green) symbolises the natural environment or better: nature as a whole. City and Nature in complementary.
Following the triangle the colour blue (Pantone® Imperial Blue) symbolises government, the colour yellow (Pantone® Vibrant Yellow) symbolises business and the colour orange (Pantone® Carrot Curl) symbolises the true non-governmental side of civil society. It is via red connected with the 3 basic colours triangle.
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.
The extended wheel
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. They are positioned alongside the government, business and civil society triangle.
From top and clockwise the wheel is extended with education organisations (Pantone® Flame). They come in a variety of form, steered by government, founded independently or as business.
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.
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.
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.
Parastatals/mandated government 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.
The 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.
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’.
Semipublic organisations ((Pantone® Quartz Pink) have a mix of features of a public institutions, maintained as a public service, but have elements of by a private nonprofit organization. Care, cure, housing, public transport and energy organisations are examples.
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