Fred may be a naive observer in that he has no direct experience of Arcosanti, the place. But there is common ground between him and Arcosanti insofar as he, like Paolo before him, professes little respect for organized religious observance.
I could not help but wonder if that has any bearing on how Fred's pithy epithet, an oddly apt riff about what he saw in the visual images of Arcosanti I'd brought back with me, was a take that is right "on the money" - as some moguls say. My suspicion is, Fred's impression will have relative meaning for quite a few people: "Right on" because it echoes an impression of Arcosanti that at least a few people have taken away with them,
Me, I imagine if people go away with such an impression, it's because they came with preconceptions or expectations about what they would find. Perhaps they believed Arcosanti would simply, neatly demonstrate a contextualized economy of scale that cogently incorporates a vision of sustainability concomitant with profitability. After all, wasn't that the model for arcology envisioned by the late Paolo Soleri?
Perhaps they presumed they would encounter a fully realized complementary physical habitat that illustrates how arcology has a unique economy of scale, the realization of which demonstrates it conceptually as a realizable construction. After all, surely that is how Arcosanti is meant to function as an "urban laboratory" and "prototyype for arcology" - yes?
Likely they could be quite bewildered by the absence of Edible Landscape @ a Macro Scale. How awful not to be growing a garden when you could do so!
I myself see Arcosanti as a kind of naturally whimsical undertaking, one that is always underway since evolution - which naturally is ongoing - is fundamental to the core idea of arcology. This may be why it happened that in a recent chat on the phone with a friend who was working in the Crafts III Gallery, I was reminded of the January 2016 Textile Retreat, a group of Phoenix-based artisans who work with natural fibers and dyes.
In the course of that conversation - Wow! - I had a stone-flash image of Arcosanti's disabled old antique automobile collection, most of which are now scattered up on the hill, serving as planters!
Arrive at the Old Town, elevated above the Camp (center for farm-to-table enterprises including food grown year-round for all who will thereby survive and thrive) ... and most everything you see that's planted is edible except for what is in all those OLD CARS!
In that stone flash, there they were, all those old heaps, unique planters containing samplings of textile-production food plants: flax, hemp, jute; as well as a rainbow of dye-producing plants: marigold, yarrow, wild indigo, prairie bluets, stinging nettle, canaigre dock - Rumex hymenosepalus, a Southwest desert native plant containing toxic oxalate, used to make yellow, gray, or green dye, noted for its medicinal, and edible, and social uses. (Warning: Its needlelike crystals will produce pain and edema when touched by lips, tongue or skin!)
The signage appearing in my stone flash was in the form of a slogan: "People who cook together, stay together" plastered on signs hanging above the heads of the cashiers in charge of all the hands-on handling required for representational involvement with all those services (and goods) needed to deliver arcology-mindedness as a lifestyle. ("Meals On Legs," for example - thank you, Laura Banks Bochinski!)
All of which got me to the point of asking: What lasting impressions must Arcosanti leave with people if it is to demonstrate just what it means to be a model of urban-oriented delineated difference? How will it show its bark as well as its bite?
Can orchards replenish themselves overnight? "Start where you are" (as Buddhist teacher Ani Pema Chodron put it) means - what? What makes transformation possible?
IMO: Ya gotta synchronize how ya move.
That said, the world, she can move oddly. Sometimes she even does it "Backwards and in high heels," as was notably stated by that noble lady Ginger Rogers when asked about her partner Fred Astaire: Everything he did, she did; but only ...
Vive la difference!