Architectural Students Visit Arcosanti

Recently architect Mattias Hollwich of New York based HollwickKushner (HWKN) toured Arcosanti with several architectural students from the East Coast. At the end of the tour he mentioned one of his projects Architizer; a social networking site for architects.

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Health Care and Arcology

Its clear that current health care approaches are not working. With health care spending such a high proportion of GDP, we need to do better through to emphasize that we are trying to get the cost down because we are not currently getting a very good value for the dollar. A comprehensive approach is needed. Why is the mainstream political establishment so lacking in its ability to articulate this? Maybe because at its roots it is shocking indictment of how we have evolved as Americans. And as we have uncritically accepted what was packaged to us as the American Dream with its conspicuous consumption and unintended global consequences, we are saddled with a huge debt. So rather than continuing to treat the symptoms, we need to isolate the cause which is a bloated health care apparatus that is living off the fat, bloated cancer of the American Dream that we Americans have become. So the challenges is how do we address the fact that the cancer/disease industry is not just about curing cancer but also causing and perpetuating cancer causing behaviors and lifestyles? The fact that many of our biggest corporations are behind this is more challenging because that means that reformist politicians understandably want to keep the focus on a more bite size piece of corrupt nation state pie – the health care sector. What if the real problem is not health care, but the very nature of what we evolved to become as Americans dependent on a corporate state apparatus that is not concerned with our best interests as human beings?

Is Conservatism Brain-Dead?

Steven Hayward recently wrote in the Washington Post an article titledIs Conservatism Brain-Dead?“.

I found it interesting because it both sought to understand some of the superficiality of the conservative movement and also why such a movement is counterproductive to evolved human development. The legitimate question to me is about how flaws in both extremes of contemporary ideological thinking are leading to irreconcilable differences in terms of how we see reality. I would argue that at the foundational level of each polarity the differences are not as great as some people play them up to be. These groups and individuals are the ones who have the most to gain in terms of playing up the difference for political, economic and social gain.

Glenn Beck is a figure that many might see as going into this category as well. However according to Hayward, his work although appearing flaky in many respects does have at its roots some understanding of contemporary conservative philosophy. Even in seeing his tweets Beck appears to be seeking some sort of new middle ground between liberals and conservatives.

I explore further in my response to Hayward’s essay the idea of not only redefining and questioning existing assumptions about contemporary ideology. but also expanding on it. I explore the issue of how the built environment we create, based on various historical and cultural factors, reinforces certain assumptions about reality that we have based on our socioeconomic and cultural background.  Also pivotal to this process is the design of the built environment and the social architecture in terms of how it supports real market interactions at the community level. So therefore to say Taiwan has strong government support of industrial development and also social programs such as government supported health care does not necessarily imply it is less market friendly. Thus the difference often overlooked in the mainstream media between pro market and pro capitalism is emphasized in this paper.

To create a human scale social architecture that is ecologically and socially responsible, we need to invest in green technologies and sustainable development that promote conscious living and the wise use of land and natural resources (which may include high density development to minimize sprawl and auto use). Thus we may have something to learn in terms of the success in Asian societies in terms of how they have adapted to the modern world, conserving valuable farm lands while creating a dynamic and thriving urban environment.

We can conclude from this the idea that any ideology or worldview should be based on its actual success in ensuring the development of a sustainable society. How we measure this is the challenge.

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