I learned about Arcosanti from Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog. In the early 80’s, the Cosanti Foundation hired me to write a development plan to use conventional metrics to fund the entire build out of the self-sustained ecological community. Through the collaborative efforts of Dino DeConcini, Stewart A. Sagar, Art Allsworth, Esq., and Langdon Morris, the plan was well received on Wall Street.
The original development plan can be found here. Much of what we take for granted today in terms of information technology did not exist back then. Personal computers were a novelty, CAD was in its infancy and computer assisted project management was non-existent.
Although funding was available, Soleri shrewdly balked claiming that Arcosanti was just an “urban laboratory.” As an experiment, Arcosanti could explore ongoing theory into sustainability, ever evolving. Once built, any mistake could be construed as a cardinal sin. Although Soleri’s sculpture is stunning, critics called it sterile in contrast to The Timeless Way of Building or A Pattern Language.
Talk of Arcosanti as an eco-city still merits ink:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/garden/an-early-eco-city-faces-the-future.html?pagewanted=all Although the Times quotes Arcologists doubting the viability of an arts centered city, The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida paints a much different picture where a community needs art in order to attract knowledge workers and flourish.
To address a project as complex as building a city from scratch required a more comprehensive understanding of governance which began an exploration of cybernetics and systems thinking. For more information on Cybernetics, visit:
or the American Society for Cybernetics.
The use of cybernetics for change and leadership can be found here:
For information on systems thinking, visit:
Another approach to wellness of being of which our environment is key can be addressed through Apithology.
My solution to counter Kunstler’s apt observations was to build authentic homes with timeless materials. The Cave Creek property was to be an artists enclave of adobe pueblos. Rather than well being, Cave Creek opted for a form of corruption based on borderline personality disorder where leaders denied local entrepreneurs entitlements in favor of Wal Mart.