What is Arcology? How and Why is it Central?
Arcology, the word devised by Italian-born architect Paolo Soleri to describe his idea of melding architecture and ecology, has been defined in the online Oxford American Dictionary as follows:
"Arcology" (architectural ecology) is "An ideal integrated city, contained within a massive vertical structure allowing maximum conservation of its surrounding environment."
Wikipedia elaborates the dictionary's definition with examples of urban places seeking to demonstrate bipedal locomotion with the pedestrian economy of scale that is its core principle, taking note of arcology's popularity in utopian fiction, especially genre sci-fi.
That categorization is likely due to the sociopolitical climate of Wikipedia itself, which is not a front page/title matter for this website although it may crop up in its blog, which is a personal construction of my experiential and existential life: individual journalism, my observation-based recollection, personal notebook-as-exploration, gated entryway into a WiFi puzzle-house that is composed of my own pursuits. As a pivot point, arcologycentral.net serves to anchor topical opportunities relevant to my ongoing development of an analytic study of the human (and eventually, social) ecology of the idea of arcology at ArCosanti.
Behind that are many questions, beginning with:
How does the "frugality" of arcology as an economic imperative find application in our lives? Does it even do that at all?
IMO such study is deserved, having been earned by virtue of the ethos of the people who continue to contribute to a unique material culture found in the "urban laboratory" (so-called by Ada Louise Huxtable, once NYTimes architecture critic) that's been developing at a unique site which exemplifies a significant architectural construction. Arcology at Arcosanti is an ongoing socio-cultural phenomenon, relatively unexplored in any systematic way.
Your comments, concerns, criticisms, co-operative spirit along with your own experiences, assumptions, fantasies, reflections, your perceptions and concerns are important! Not only are they meaningful for you, they are uniquely useful in the context of a project seeking to identify the essential spirit of arcology itself.
How has the idea of arcology mattered? What has been its attraction? Its integrity? What does it mean and/or maintain? How constructive have relationships with it been?
Experience of Arcosanti has presented opportunities to increase self-awareness. Will that continue to occur mainly in the "dream-context'" accorded to it with its relegation to genre fiction? Is that truly the best that can be made of it?
I don't believe that is what's necessary; nor what it's best suited to do. But what I do believe is that if an increased consciousness of evolution is desirable, arcology is a pursuit that is very much worth our while. If the future of the planet depends, as it seems to, upon the effort of each/every sentient being to live in harmony with the planet, if it is incumbent upon all of us living on this watery rock (as it hurtles through space at rates most of us are mostly schooled not to notice), we ought to take no task for granted, especially an essential 'reality-check' fact: the interdependence of all things binds us within all the forces that contain us.
We are bound as much to rediscovery as to discovery. What we forget will be as important as what we remember. Even if we take forgetting for granted, we may come to recognize memory as a paradox that presents one of humanity's greatest opportunities.
It has been said the Chinese symbol for "CRISIS" demonstrates this, combining two roots into one to make a new word:
"DANGER" + "OPPORTUNITY" =s "CRISIS"
The definition is linguistically inaccurate but the idea captures an important sentiment: May we acknowledge every state of crisis we experience as we encounter it and learn to take heed of what we deem dangerous even as we become aware of our opportunities.
In all our endeavors may this be of benefit to all sentient beings.