What is required? What needs to be done? What steps must be taken?
From an organizational development perspective, what has to happen is relatively simple: Take it as a valid mission, a vitalizing strategic mandate, and focus attention on it. Begin by striving immediately to broadcast Arcosanti's disability-savvy, handicap-aware retrofit. Identify it as the most architecturally intriguing, cost-beneficial challenge imaginable. Start seeking new workshop participants for the initiative by promoting it as concerted demonstration of collective commitment to realization of cooperative development of Arcosanti, as it appears in Cosanti Foundation's statement of intent (see document below). Integrate this essential strategy into Cosanti Foundation's identity as a 'Vocational School' (see link on this page).
The bottom line is clear: Policy of this kind (i.e., focused planning along with vigilant execution of a safety-aware habitat, as conscientious in its own way as that of, say, NYC's MTA, which safely conducts millions of people 24/7 x 365) will not only help to maintain moderate insurance premiums, it will benefit all those interested in the ideas of arcology - aka "architectural ecology" - including everyone who visits.
By "everyone who visits," I am actually referring to all the people of Arcosanti. I say "all" because it is an inescapable truth that no matter what part you may play in either the local or the global community of Arcosanti, no matter how short or long is your stay, in a larger sense - in a global sense - you are a visitor. As are we all! On this planet, in the absolute sense, we are all visitors.
Make no mistake about this meta-view: it underlies the universal philosophic thesis which Paolo Soleri, in his own unique way, posited: We are all (and will always remain) passers-through on this watery planet Earth we call "home."
This ephemeral identity is one we all share. It is our universal bottom-line as well as our universal birthright, a truth that should serve to fuel our collective responsibility for this salty speck hurling through space - on which we are all bound, as Chief Sitting Bull said, "to see what kind of life we can make for the children."
To base development of a "living model" intended for the study of arcology on our identity as ephemeral beings can bring only honor and respect to Soleri's ideological notion of arcology. It also - not incidentally! - accords respect and honor to the energies of every individual who participates in any arcology project. Even casual participation:
You never know what a casual encounter may lead to, right?
Integrating this mandate will serve to exponentially increase the organization's assets since you don't have to be handicapped to appreciate the subtle niceties (much less the obvious ones) of disability-sensitive design. For example:
Because most people with a handicap are extra-sensitive to cold (with almost any impairment, particularly any motor-function impairment, generally speaking your interior thermostat is off-kilter) one improvement project that can be taken on pretty well instantly is to better heat Arcosanti's interior spaces.
Heat in winter?! Site-wide weatherization? Oh, yes, thank you!? In fact, given the fact that Paolo Soleri, whenever he was asked if he'd have done anything differently if he were to start over again, building Arcosanti from scratch, responded immediately with one word: "Insulation;" how can it not be of benefit to honor his simple acknowledgement of his own mistake by placing correction of it at the top of an Arcosanti-wide "to-do-now" list?
Ergo: after consulting with a number of technically-savvy Arconauts I have a suggestion, pace completion of the elaborate plans for the long-anticipated greenhouse with heat-duct tunnels to conduct its hot air into all the Old Town's various apartments, classrooms, work and social spaces:
Why not heat them with solar-powered devices after upgrading Arcosanti's existing electrical system to allow for solar power?
Upgrading the existing electrical system to accommodate a new solar array surely can help revitalize the workshop program by attracting people looking to receive credit hours towards their trade certifications: Supervision by AZ-licensed electricians can be arranged by the Workshop Coordinator's team. Ditto would-be plumbers, should use of hot water heat in under-the-floor pipes be elected. In fact, I don't doubt the array of opportunities will be considerable since all manner of would-be tradespeople will profit from such modest expansion of the experiential learning opportunities that Arcosanti has long championed.
This will be a meaningful addition of learning opportunities for the array of engineering and architecture students whose schools will love to afford their students such hands-on experience with what it means to implement disability-aware design, whose professors will welcome such an unprecedented challenge to flex their own design muscle!
Solar cells are readily available commercially. Nowadays they can even be home-built/locally manufactured. Develop a new business for Arcosanti? Capitalize on its talent? Develop an administrative system for ongoing material investment returns for "sweat equity"?
Surely taking such a step will enhance the model for arcology that Arcosanti is meant to prototype, yes?
Plus, here's a super-bonus: Retrofitting existing structures will not necessarily require a host of official permits for new construction, right? Therefore, postponing the challenge of having to pave the road from the Junction and upgrade the septic system is side-stepped, Wouldn't we rather have that than "Aw shucks, do we still gotta wait?"
Just sayin' - ya know? - is all I'm doin' here, folks. That's all. It's easy to get caught up in what didn't happen, what hasn't worked. It's easy to get caught up in spinning your wheels, trying to reinvent the wheel. But you don't have to stay stuck, as the Nearling thesis says. The strategy I'm proposing here can give new life to the Arcosanti Workshop program. Its cost-benefit will be both immediate and compelling.
One challenge at a time, friends. One challenge at a time.
"START WHERE YOU ARE."