It actually distresses me, as an Arcosanti docent, to witness the reactions of first-time visitors when they are confronted with how little attention has been paid to handicap-aware, handicap-sensitive, handicap-friendly design. Observing their discomfort, I find it quite understandable, which is why it probably comes as no surprise that I have been harping on and on about how how pressing I feel it is it is for Arcosanti to take on the project of ADA-compliance.
IMO, which I admit is not always humble, it will be not only of immediate physical benefit for all of Arcosanti's guests, it will, I predict, enrich the idea of arcology considerably, provide short and long-term economic benefits as well as reasonable moral satisfaction,
When I first proposed that the Arcosanti Workshop Program drill down to meet this genuine challenge, my suggestion was met with what I thought was a fairly peculiar combination of incredulity, dismay and resistance. To which I had to respond...
"Where will we get the money?" doesn't cut it as a rational response because the primary responsibility of any non-profit's Board is to raise money. "We've been doing the best we can" does not change the situation circumstantially since whatever effort has been made clearly hasn't been global enough, or even site-wide enough.
Taking it personally (which I'm allowed to do because I earned myself a "handicapped" label/placard a fair while ago), it seems to me perfectly fair to ask: Who among us, dear readers, has not even one handicapped friend, family member, or acquaintance?
ADA-compliance/compatibility is a project that will resonate with architecture and engineering educators all over the world. In fact, an international competition will be a very good way to kick it off: "Start Where You Are" - always!
To go back to Square One: If Paolo Soleri's idea of arcology is as good for all the world as he believed it was, as good for all the world as many people still believe it is, surely it has to be as inclusive as it can possibly be. Which means - does it not? - that it has to be good for an ethically, culturally, linguistically, mentally, emotionally - and physically! - diverse population. Right?
What's it worth? How about starting with what it's cost Arcosanti, so far, to be out of compliance? The medical costs, the physical pain, grief and suffering of those injured - never mind their mental anguish or the high liability insurance costs Arcosanti has to bear.
At the very least, surely it's an idea worth considering.