The World’s First Arcology Prototype
Arcology is a set of design principles conceived of by the late theoretical architect, Paolo Soleri. The term is a blending of “architecture” and “ecology” and is the antithesis of urban sprawl. Sensing the growing reliance on cars, the increasing appropriation of natural spaces for housing developments, and the negative impact of both on the human spirit and the planet, Soleri conceived of Arcosanti as a proof of concept of arcology. Begun in 1970 and based on an arcology-minded design theory, Arcosanti, dubbed “The Urban Laboratory,” one of the modern world’s first attempt at creating an urban living experience that is vertical, densely integrated with mixed uses, and environmentally-conscious.
Today, Arcosanti is considered an important and early example of a radical urban plan that enables conservation of land, energy, and natural resources. Over 8,000 sustainability-minded volunteers have contributed to the building of Arcosanti over the past 50 years, gaining valuable experience in construction, passive solar energy concepts, and responsible urban design, simply by contributing to the project and “learning by doing.”
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