Recently a good friend passed down a video where the “city of the future” was presented; it’s a placed called Arcosanti, located in the Arizona dessert. The place features an urbanistic design that created a perfect balance between architecture and ecology, making it an extremely sustainable city, functioning on only one fifth of the regular energy consumption of a common one. The city merges seamlessly with its environment making it really walkable and its residents perform tasks like pottery and attend building workshops to support the local economy and growth of the infrastructure of their home and to make it sort of self-sustaining.
The entire placed is based in the philosophy (¨Arcology¨), of late Paolo Soleri who was an architect/urbanist who created this city as a urban laboratory to test his idea of the ideal society and city that is Arcosanti.
"… a city should function as a living system. Arcology, architecture and ecology as one integral process, is capable of demonstrating positive response to the many problems of urban civilization, population, pollution, energy and natural resource depletion, food scarcity and quality of life. Arcology recognizes the necessity of the radical reorganization of the sprawling urban landscape into dense, integrated, three-dimensional cities in order to support the complex activities that sustain human culture. The city is the necessary instrument for the evolution of humankind."
As stated, the term Arcology is the mixture of architecture and ecology, creating extremely sustainable structures. The amazing thing about it is that its not a retreat where people go to scape from society, it actually tries to be part of society, it just tries to have a better approach to solving tomorrows problems that are relevant today.
Knowing that more people are migrating to the city centers, these type of developments are really interesting to me as I think that they're the right way to take advantage of isolated areas and to create urban cores in parts of the world where this would be unthinkable, like Arcosanti in the Arizona dessert, it’s a way to expand the number of urban cores to keep up with demand and to actually do it without heavily increasing our footprint and reducing our quality of life.
We should definitely keep an eye on this human experiment gone right since it might actually dictate how we will be living if the future if we want to be a sustainable society, as what we think is the right path to sustainability might just be replacing a wrong with a less-bad approach.
"We put solar panels on a single family home but can’t change the impact of inefficient construction or the consumption inherent to moving around the suburbs. We buy hybrid cars but must drive in the gridlocks of daily commutes. We buy “green washed” products but continue the same hyper consumption that sprawl mandates. These improvements produce a “better kind of wrongness.”
To learn more about Arcosanti watch the following video