Introducing ArcoPedia: an Alternative Approach to Arcology Theory


I have set up a wiki that I call ArcoPedia. The idea is to consider an alternative perspective of Arcosanti in terms of how it could be contributing more effectively to current best practices in the ecological design movement as it is increasingly impacting the mainstream society.

My most recent addition to the wiki was a page on Green Roof an ecological design concept that has long intrigued me. The page/article is titled: Why Green Roofs are more than Just about Keeping Buildings Dry

This is related to the upcoming discussion on School of Thought today in terms of my thinking about the need for a comprehsive approach to rethinking existing and prevailing urban design and development practices. Actually most of the planning community has been extremely disguisted with current “best practices” that perpetuate sprawl and the commercially dominated aesthetic of urban/suburban spaces that is of course a key driver to the consumption/consumer driven economy.

Thus the idea is to consider the possibility of

  1. limits to growth of the city and the urban effect – in that a point is reached where the urban no longer can create a positive aspect of urban life called the urban effect. So then at what level might an Arcology be too big?
  2. design of cities with the Arcology model that considers diversity of density in terms of thinking about different gradations of density as the city goes from core to periphery.

Also in relation to the above is the idea of building urban spaces that balance and combine the best of urban and rural life rather than simply saying that Urban is BEST. Complementary to this is the idea of seeing the suburban as a flawed but possibly well intentioned way to do this. Also important is seeing suburbs as a way to naturally transition urban life with rural. So for example in permaculture theory we are taught to promote this idea of gradations between human habitat and pristine nature. The key consideration is to think about what is most appropriate for zonal gradation. One thing that is stressed in this school of thought is locating food as close to the human habitat as possible. Of course for permaculturalists,  food production systems are most ideally integrated with the built environment/habitat itself.

Thus the core goal is to consider how to remake the suburban so that it undergoes a process of densification and at the same time offers a menu of choices for people to consider in terms of density and lifestyles. Possibly the Linear City model that Soleri puts forward can be seen as a way to combine that densification of suburbia by offering nodes of convergence at key mass transit stops within each of the concentric rings that typically define the evolution of suburbia in metropolitian areas.

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