Rethinking what it means to Build and Promote Arcology


The Food is great here and I am cooking stuff too at my flat which is located in Central Taipei. The subway system is quite good, although the main Taoyan International does not have a direct rail link. You have to take a bus to the High Speed Transit or the Central MRT Rapid Transit station. However when I came in the ride on the bus provided a nice intro to the city with its many medium sized buildings. The view of Taipei is defined by Taipei 101 which goes far higher than the rest of the city-scape.

Interesting living in a society that has compact living, great design of products, very good mass transit, lively urban environment and friendly people.

I guess I am moving away from this large scale Arcology vision like Linear City (i dont see how this would create a lively city with its austere repepitive design that goes on forever in both directions) but I still see relevance to this idea of small er scale Arcology like at the scale planned for say “Critical Mass” at Arcosanti.

I don’t think that Arcology is not about remaking the city in one mans vision. However, because Soleri has designed many large scale Arcologies that is the implication put forward. City in the Image of Man his 1971 book which helped finance Arcosanti in the early days definitely created that idea that a city could be designed as one, unitary monolithic form. Soleri continues to design such urban spaces with the implication that Arcology = City. However, I challenge the idea that an entire city can be housed in one building on that we would even want to do that even if we could. Arcology and Arcosanti to me is about rethinking the city to make it more liveable with a more integrated neighborhood and community design process that might include large scale building within buildings situations in certain applications.

Coming here to Taipei and seeing the attractive urban spaces, I really see the value to the diversity of design that comes from the evolution of the city and the proliferation of people as an ecosystem of collaboration. Because the Chinese never completely lost this idea of living in harmony with the ecology, I think they are better positioned for the challenges ahead and it really shows in the design of their cities and products and the way they interact with each other.

This is not to say that I like everything about Taiwan as I had a conversation with a Chinese woman the other day who referred to the society as conservative and repressive because she says it limits free thought. Yet its nice for someone who has really been affected by the dismal characteristics of the American built environment to go somewhere space is valued, land is valued, people appeared to be valued within urban settings and culture is valued as well, rather than seeing all these things as deemed secondary to the imperative of the marketplace to maximize short term profit at all costs.

Alot of theory but the trip has been good and it reminds that I can always figure out how to live in someplace like this if I really want to – at least for a little while and see how it goes…

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3 thoughts on “Rethinking what it means to Build and Promote Arcology

  1. Hello there Basac:

    I am currently preparing to participate in the Arcosanti project with prospects of learning the depth, function, and complexity of the urban model – Arcology. I believe, just as you do, that the renderings and plans for Linear City lack the value and true vision of urban diversity and interest seemingly aparent in Arcosanti. I have my own theories about the future and promise of arcology as urban model, which I hope to develop further through my experiences at Arcosanti.

    I too believe there is a far greater premise in considering the arcology model as an opportunity for architectural and cultural diversity, working together structurally toward developing an ideology of urban and ecological unity. I dream of the opportunity of experiencing Taipei and including it in my analysis. You seem like you really enjoyed it…

    I am a landscape designer, currently in the process of redirecting the path of my company to focus on the further development and evolution of our urban environments. Although I do believe in all I do with my landscaping, I feel there is a greater purpose for the path of my life. I am 28 and hope to eventually find my way to MIT for the further development of my concepts.

    Please let me know what you thought of Arcosanti…and where your experiences with the arcology model/theory are leading you? Would love to get a good dialogue going…

    Respectfully,

    Joseph A. Rivera-Ramos

    • Joseph, great to hear from you. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply and would love to discuss further and possibly work together on some level. I think there is a need for some deep well thought out research to consider various options for Soleri’s work in a fundamentally different way that ha been pursued in the past by his supporters.

      About Arcosanti it is great and unique place to experience and I highly recommend it. Just be clear in the idea that it is really not about practical sustainability but more about considering the long term view of what a sustainable city should or could look like and in that context, keeping a discussion alive about the theoretical aspect of human cultural, social and economic development in relation to both the problematic aspects of current urban design and the more idealistic vision of Arcology.

      Look forward to your thoughts.

      Jeff Buderer

  2. Jeff…

    Thanks for your reply. I am so anxious to get started and head to Arcosanti. My hopes are to take that experience and help promote the core ideology of planning arcologies and take part in developing a better system for their production. I feel as though there is such great value in understanding the workings of its core system in order to truly develop them so they work for society. I believe the concept will play a major role in the evolution of our urban futures, and there must be enlightened, sensible, and non-ego-centric people to lead them toward the responsible path. I feel as though the concept may become bastardized once production for profit and personal gain enters into the formula.

    Please email: Archidrondesign@gmail.com

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