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Arcosanti - an arcology in Arizona

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posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 05:19 PM
This is my first new topic here, and I used the ATS search to look for this, and found nothing, so I hope it's not a repeat topic.

I first heard about this project in my history of science & technology course. Paolo Soleri is an architect with some interesting ideas. He has made it his life's goal to build an arcology, which is basically a self-sustaining city. This one is meant to hold 5000 people and is being built in Arizona. Construction was started in 1970. Basically, the idea is to build a city that through extensive pre-planning, is more energy efficient and less wasteful of space.

An arcology would need about two percent as much land as a typical city of similar population. Today’s typical city devotes more than sixty percent of its land to roads and automobile services. Arcology eliminates the automobile from within the city. The multi-use nature of arcology design would put living, working and public spaces within easy reach of each other and walking would be the main form of transportation within the city.

While I think Soleri may be overoptimistic about eliminating cars from cities, if cities used 2% as much land as now, everything would be 50x closer, and people would take less time to drive somewhere, and more places would be within walking distance. Obviously, this is a huge advantage in many ways. Travel times would be lessened. Less fossil fuels would be needed, resulting in less pollution and buys us more time before the energy crisis hits.

A couple of problems, however, also come to mind. The project was started in 1970, and it's not done yet. Of course, it's primarily being funded by volunteer labor and donations, but how long would it take to build an arcology if, say, government or corporations started funding these? Obviously less time, but how much less? There are buildings on my university campus that have been under construction for as long as 2 years, and that's a single building. How long will a whole city take? How many people will be required, and how much will it cost?

Another issue raised by my prof is that of adaptability. People don't use space in their homes in the same way as they did in the past. If an arcology was built, say, 100 years ago, you can be pretty sure it won't have cable internet. Given how close together everything is, it would be extremely difficult to install the infrastructure for something like cable internet in a structure that hadn't considered it in the planning. What if we started building all these arcologies, and then something was invented/developed that everyone would need/want in their home? People living in standard (ie today's style) cities would for the most part have little problem refitting their houses for this. Houses are built to be able to be altered, at least to a certain degree, by their owners as preference dictates. In an arcology, it is extremely difficult to alter the design once it has been completed.

Let me know what you all think of this concept. I'm not really sure whether arcologies are good ideas or not, but I think they are really cool, so I posted it here for general debate and discussion.

posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 07:48 PM
I don't know if I would want to live in a community of modern art seashells.

The site while interesting is very short on actual data. It's interesting though...


posted on Mar, 27 2005 @ 03:11 AM
is this anything like a huge biodome ?

posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 12:50 AM

Originally posted by pao
is this anything like a huge biodome ?

No, it's open to the sky like a regular city, it's just a lot more compact in area.

posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 01:11 AM
ive always thought that if we compacted and consoldated our cities in a more managable fashion things would be entirely more adaquat. i mean whats wrong with singular housing, and commercial structures??? then perhaps drive the car off to somewhere to work like the industrial are where all of the r&d and production infrastrucure resides. if we all worked on a singular time scale, then cars would be almost obsolete, you wouldnt even need them, you could have giant rows of mono rails, or the new magnetic trains they have. its going to take a very large upheavel in social outlook in order to stir about one of these changes however. plus i dont see how eager everyone is right now to throw away our current way of living. with the resource wars looming however we may have no choice.


posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 01:58 AM
I like the concept. I would have no problem living in this type of city structure, as long as I was able to still get out and see nature when I wanted.

posted on Mar, 28 2005 @ 02:05 AM
oh yes, and with the consoldation of assets we could create expansive natural fields, and perpetuate a newfound eco-expansion.

this would be a marvulous feat!

[edit on 28-3-2005 by sturod84]

posted on Apr, 13 2005 @ 12:45 PM
Reminds me of Midgard in Final Fantasy VII.

I think that a lot of people would want to get back in touch with nature after a couple hours in such an urban sprawl. Definitely cool, but suddenly I think everyone would be yearning to get out and smell the flowers. It sure would be a cool monument after humanity dies out.


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