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WHAT AN AMAZING PROJECT! I can see a project of such magnitude had better get started immediately - like, right now! - given how timely it is to rectify its absence. Can it happen in smart time for 2019, the year that would have been the 100th birthday of Paolo Soleri? .
My first thoughts about this unexpected challenge were all tumbled together. I'm sorting them out as I go but high on my list of what I'd like to see happen is that carrying out this essential task will assure that Arcosanti will get to hold the world's title for disability accommodation, *the* place in North America to experience the most disability-aware, disability-friendly design.
Working out the design algorhythms is an ambitious underaking: There are a zillion (well, probably I exaggerate, but really quite a few) elements to factor into this project. It'll be an ongoing process, examining all of them. The importance of incorporating EVIDENCE-BASED DESIGN into the architectural plan can't be under-stated. Won't it be fun to expand the possibility of a design competition which architecture schools, all around the world, can participate in?
- I've been putting ideas into a durable basket (arconaut-designed, ya know, which BTW is holding up OK so far) but getting the process underway is taking mucho dipping in. pulling out, wiggling, waving, putting back in.
FYI, Here are some ideas I'm keeping as a PLACE TO SHARE PLACE TO START:
IT WOULD BE GOOD TO HAVE A WORK GROUP, PEOPLE WHO LIVE WITH DISABILITY THEMSELVES, PEOPLE WHO ARE "INSIDERS." An important book about this is Nothing About Us Without Us - Oppression and Empowerment - Disability Oppression and Empowerment, by James I. Charlton. The promo bumph says it's "a ringing indictment of disability oppression, which is rooted in degradation, dependency, and powerlessness and is experienced in some form by five hundred million persons throughout the world who have physical, sensory, cognitive, or developmental disabilities....the first book in the literature on disability to provide a theoretical overview of disability oppression that shows its similarities to, and differences from, racism, sexism, and colonialism....[an] analysis ... illuminated by interviews conducted over a ten-year period with disability rights activists throughout the Third World, Europe, and the USA. Charlton finds an antidote for dependency and powerlessness in the resistance to disability oppression that is emerging worldwide. His interviews contain striking stories of self-reliance and empowerment evoking the new consciousness of disability rights activists. As a latecomer among the world's liberation movements, the disability rights movement will gain visibility and momentum from Charlton's elucidation of its history and its political philosophy of self-determination, which is captured in the title of his book. Nothing About Us Without Us expresses the conviction of people with disabilities that they know what is best for them. Charlton's combination of personal involvement and theoretical awareness assures greater understanding of the disability rights movement." (There's a Kindle edition, as well as a print one.)
THE STATEMENT OF INTENT downloadable from this page is my response to a request for one from Mary Hoadley. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE to respond with comments and suggestions.
IMPORTANT CAVEAT: WITHOUT THE APPROVAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE BACKING OF THE COSANTI FOUNDATION, NOT EVEN AN INITIATIVE AS POTENT AS THIS ONE CAN HAPPEN.
A GRAPHIC TO ADEQUATELY CONVEY THE POWER OF WHAT I'M SEEING IS A CHALLENGE. The photo of a woman with one leg is evocative of disability - wheelchair-safe, wheelchaire-friendly, is the Gold Standard for accessibility - but my choosing that particular image came out of mulling over "repetition:"
I started asking myself, "What if repetition games are not different from each other? Do they, as we watch them, evoke one another? What if there is only a 'one game'? What about a 'meta-game'?"
WHAT INSPIRED THIS LINE OF THOUGHT WAS A DISNEY MOVIE "The Jungle Book," a brilliantly made film. Although I've not seen everything Disney Studios ever made, I was inspired by that one to rush to <Gutenberg.org> for a pdf of all of Rudyard Kipling's writing. Living in a post-colonial world as we all do, the mentality of the British Raj has already begun to take on new meaning.
THE REPETITIVE GAME OF DOING WHAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN DONE is a comfort zone of its own. But what struck me square as I started contemplating what gets Arcosanti to show off its capabilities in its approach to RETROFIT DESIGN - was coming to grips with how DO AS YOU ALWAYS HAVE DONE games don't have to end just because a THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE game is also being played. Think
- COMPRESSION AND TENSION
- MARRIAGES OF OPPOSITES
COMFORT ZONES CAN BE ADJUSTED. HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR THERMOSTAT RECENTLY?
There is a touch of anthropological thinking here, obviously. But to fathom human behavior, surely we need to parse out its roots in how we react to personal cultural conventions. How do those elements, taken together, dictate to humans in groups? Isn't reception of what's dictated often quite different from what is actually dictated?
How I got to this was Dr. Spock, as played by Leonard Nimoy on Star Trek, who well knew how to put dissociation to use as an actor. What caught my attention was how Nimoy also requisitioned dissociation beyond that recognized public persona display, how he used it to gain precious insight into the character he was building/developing: a male Vulcan who was half-human, a being from another planetary system..
THE DISCONNECT PUT ME IN MIND OF WHAT DISABILITY AND SAFETY MEAN FOR ARCOSANTI but it took my New Denver pal Burgin Jacobs just a few split-seconds to identify the bottom line when it comes to safety. Burgin is especially sensitive to talk about material matters, having been raised in Toronto by architect Bob and urban analyst Jane. What she identified as the starting point for thinking about safety is SUICIDE-PROOF.
As injunctions go, that one reminded me immediately of what the NYC MTA has to deal with, Surely worth emulating: 24/7/365, umpteen millions of riders, gigantic quantities of trash, hardly any accidents. Ever
MARY HOADLEY ALSO REMINDED ME THAT PAOLO SOLERI BELIEVED ARCOSANTI WOULD FUNCTION AS A COOPERATIVE. Which made it no great leap to envision ArCoop administering the Arcosanti Workshop Program that will be needed for perfecto handicap-access retrofitting.
ERGO: OYEZ, OYEZ! HEAR YE, HEAR YE! CALLING ALL ARCONAUTS! There should be multiple work-fronts available for an Arco-op launch of a 2-year startoff phase for such a workshop project. Teams of designers, please talk among yourselves! Come together. all ye like-minded souls!
KEEP IN MIND, THOUGH, THE DESIGN IMPERATIVE IS EVIDENCE-BASED DECISION-MAKING : We want all our teams well-informed by consultation with populations of all sorts of folks who are themselves managing all manner of disabilities, with folks who are - for any reason at all - concerned about accommodation for accessibility and safety at Arcosanti.
PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. You can leave a note on this blog or use the contact page on this website to reach me directly.