Considering Appropriate Technologies within an Arcology

While I am here in Long Island, I am taking some time to think about communications in relation to laying the architecture for building a sustainable Arcosanti. I know it sounds ambitious, but I feel like we need to begin to talk about this. Especially as we consider the reality of a new president of Cosanti Foundation – Jeffrey Stein – is talking about the need for a five year strategy plan.

The key elements for any future that Arcosanti is going to have a real and meaningful impact in making will be be centered on sustainability and appropriate technology. So my hope is that front and center of this new Strategy Plan for Arcosanti is to consider not only the philosophical underpinnings of Arcology but also that of Appropriate Technology and its key role in helping us to bridge the gap between the Arcosanti reality of Now and the Arcology vision of the future.

To consider Arcosanti as a Living Museum is not enough – it has to be a model for living a more sustainable lifestyle and a showcase for Appropriate Technology.

Thus as a Arcosanti community member, I am taking the initiative to put forward what I see as the rationale for the key components in this process:

  1. Sustainable Food Production and Preparation
  2. Waste Recycling
  3. Water Collection and Erosion Control
  4. Renewable Energy and Passive Solar Design
  5. Sustainable Building Materials
  6. Localization of Culture and Autonomous Governance/Management

To me Arcology is not about monolithic megacities towering above the landscape or going on for miles and miles in a linear expansion of the city. I see Arcology as a expansion and further development of the powerful aesthetic messaging that Soleri created at Cosanti over 40 years ago as the antithesis to sprawl. To me the expansion of that entails the simple of goal of living as sustainably as possible in a compact and integrated built environment.

The advantages of this form of integrated habitat construction: include less reliance on complicated supply chains that has spread and encouraged massively unsustainable global practices, led to the creation of products and services that are toxic to people and the planet, manifested massively wasteful infrastructure development to supply highly segmented and isolated habitats. What this all implies is the need for a massive and well thought out severing of the links to the corporate and commercial culture.

Bottom line: we need to produce more of our own homegrown energy, food and culture. When we do rely on external inputs, they should be carefully thought out and planned so that they are not simply part of the Better Kind of Wrongness Paradigm that Soleri relentlessly rails about in his School of Thought Discussions and writings.

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