What is Arcology? How and Why is it Central?
Arcology, the word devised by Italian-born architect Paolo Soleri to encapsulate 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 together with whatever pedestrian economy of scale fits that core principle, but at the same time, it takes note of arcology's popularity in utopian fiction, especially genre sci-fi.
Such categorization is largely most likely due to the sociopolitical climate of Wikipedia itself. This is not a front page/title matter for this website although it may crop up in its blog at some point since the blog 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 composed of my own pursuits. As a pivoting point for me, <arcologycentral.net> serves to anchor whatever topical discussion opportunities become relevant in the course of ongoing development of an analytic study of how the human (and most likely eventually, the social) ecology of the idea of arcology at ArCosanti manifests.
Behind that backdrop are many intriguingly related questions, including: Does the "frugality" of arcology as an economic imperative find application in our lives? How does it do that, if it does at all?
Arcology at Arcosanti continues to evolve, an ongoing socio-cultural phenomenon that has been relatively unexplored in any systematic way. IMO such study is both needed and deserved: it has already been earned by virtue of the ethos of the people who continue to contribute to whatever unique material culture found in the "urban laboratory" (so-called by then-NYTimes architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable) appears at that most unique site exemplifying a uniquely significant architectural contribution to passive solar design and construction.
Your comments, concerns, criticisms, your co-operative spirit along with your own experiences, hopes, assumptions, reflections, your perceptions, fantasies and concerns are important! Not only are they meaningful for you, they are needed to contextualize a vital project validating, identifying, honoring 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.But will that continue to occur mainly in the "dream-context'" that its relegation to genre fiction has accorded it? Is that truly the best that can be made of it?
I question whether that is what's most necessary or what it's now suited to do. Soleri believed arcology must be a worthwhile pursuit if an increased consciousness of evolution is desirable. If the future of the planet depends upon the effort of each/every sentient being to live in harmony with the cosmos, if it is incumbent upon every one of us living on this watery rock hurtling through space (at rates most of us have been schooled not to notice), we had better take no task for granted.
Most especially we must not ignore an essential 'reality-check' fact,which is that the interdependence of all things binds us within all the forces that contain us. No matter how complex the challenge, we are just as bound to what we forget as to what we remember. Redisovery is important, just as discovery is.
If we take memory (or forgetting) for granted, we lose recognition of memory's great: paradox, which is that it presents us all with one of humanity's greatest opportunities, to LEARN TO DO GOOD.
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.