What is Arcology? How and Why is it Central?
Arcology is the word devised by the Italian-born architect Paolo Soleri to describe his idea of melding architecture and ecology. It was 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."
The dictionary's definition is elaborated upon in Wikipedia with a few examples of urban places that can demonstrate arcology's core principle: bipedal locomotion, a pedestrian economy of scale. Note is taken by Wikipedia of the popularity of arcology in utopian fiction, especially science fiction.
The unwritten subtext of that relegation is surely related to the political and social climate in which Wikipedia itself gets built and grows. That's not a front page issue for <ArcologyCentral.net> alhough it may on occasion crop up in the blog. This website is my personal construction, grown out of my experiential and existential life. It is individual journalism based upon my observation and my recollection, a notebook-as-exploration. All those are rolled into this one gated entryway into a WiFi'd puzzle-house of my own pursuits. It serves as pivoting point for me, a way for me to anchor a topical opportunities that can lead to restful development of an analytic study of arcology.
The study is deserved because the ethos of the people who've contributed to the unique material culture of the "urban laboratory" (so-called by NYTimes architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable) is as much a part of Arcosanti as its unique construction. And while its significance as a cultural phenomenon has been relatively unexplored, I believe it worth our systematic examination.
Your comments, concerns, criticisms, co-operative spirit, and your own experiences, assumptions, fantasies, reflections, perceptions, and concerns are important not only because they are important to you but because it is important to identify what the essential spirit of arcology itself is. What has been its attraction? Its integrity? How has it mattered? What does it mean or maintain? How constructive have relationships with it been? How does the "frugality" of arcology as an economic imperative.find application in our lives - if it does at all?
Experience of Arcosanti has presented opportunities to increase self-awareness. That will continue to occur in a 'dream-context' if its relegation to genre fiction is truly the best that can be made of it, which I don't believe is necessary or what it's best suited to do.
What I do believe is that if we want to increase consciousness of evolution, 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 hurtling through space at rates most of us are mostly schooled not to notice, we ought to take no task for granted.
One 'reality-check' must be the fact that 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 may be at least 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 as we become aware of our opportunities.
In all our endeavors may this be of benefit to all sentient beings.