That cousin is very direct, details always interest her. But anyone who has come into contact w/ Paolo Soleri knows that when he first started musing aloud, writing about automobiles - back in the late 50s and early 60s - he, like Frank Lloyd Wright, his American teacher/mentor, grasped immediately how perilous is any society that is dominated by cars, by internal combustion machines. Not simply because of what they consume, the "shopping list for the automobile," as he put it - the waste, pollution, and noise they create, along with their inherent danger - but also because the economy of scale required to maintain them is exceptionally problematic.
Paolo's first envisioned solution, Mesa City, evolved in his drawings into sketches for mega-cities sans autos which he called 'arcologies' ('architectural ecology,' please, not 'ecological architecture' - the difference is important). Arcology made cars not a matter of necessity in an urban society.
The idea was more than a little radical in an already deeply car-crazed, car-dependent economy. But it turned Cosanti, already a magnet for artists, architects, craftsmen and poets, into a kind of Mecca for social critics, philosophers, architects, designers. It also attracted people in transition - students and scholars alike.
Some of them were activists. But oddly enough, the connection between arcology and transit did not galvanize even transient people into taking that particular bull by the horns, evincing the political will required to effect some collective change in transit policy.
This, it seems to me, was a flaw in the overall plan.