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monsoon

Arcosanti

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Pleasantly surprised to see this thread. I first read about this as a schoolboy over 20 years ago. I thought it was the coolest thing ever then, but now I have a much more realistic view of the project. It is still quite interesting, though. I hope I'm not stealing any thunder...

Website for the Arcosanti Project:

http://www.arcosanti.org/project/main.html

Paolo Soleri's Arcology Theory:

http://www.arcosanti.org/theory/arcology/intro.html

"Arcology, architecture and ecology as one integral process, is capable of demonstrating positive response to the many problems of urban civilization, population, pollution, energy and natural resource depletion, food scarcity and quality of life. Arcology recognizes the necessity of the radical reorganization of the sprawling urban landscape into dense, integrated, three-dimensional cities in order to support the complex activities that sustain human culture. The city is the necessary instrument for the evolution of humankind."

- Paolo Soleri

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This is something I find highly fascinating myself. I seem to have a hard time finding a lot of information out there with regards to arcology though. Living in the Bay Area, I'm also interested in the Califia project, but can't really find anything "good" about that either, though it appears that Soleri is a consultant to the project....

http://www.greencenturyinstitute.org/califia.htm

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this is so interesting - i was just reading a post above this one where a sample chapter from a book was linked:

http://www.citycomforts.com/BumpingIntoPeople.pdf

within the first two paragraphs, it reminded me so much of an arcosanti-esque mentality... i had a friend live at arcosanti for half a year. i remember from his letters and photos all his descriptions of the area, the people, everyones' lives...

it seemed to me (and i'm reading into his thoughts a bit and perhaps not fairly) that a disproportionate number of people who feel 'lost' went there - i suppose that makes it a bit more difficult to find oneself if you're swimming in a sea of others doing the same thing... or maybe it's a support network... not sure.

i wonder what such a place would be like if people who didn't feel 'lost' connected at such a community.

good stuff.

very cool.

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How was your friend's experience overall though? Are you able to discuss any positives or negatives?

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How was your friend's experience overall though? Are you able to discuss any positives or negatives?

He had a fantastic experience *i think* and had lovely pictures as well. I really should get him to sign up for urban planet and talk about it... and post some pictures! Let me see if I can do that before I start to put words in his mouth. Otherwise I shall go dig up some of his letters.

in general though - i think the thing that impressed him most was the way in which arcosanti was designed: he would be walking from one place to another and bump into people and he could tell that the layout was designed for that to happen.

i remember hearing about what i deemed to be an especially cool thing (because i'm more of an environmentalist than an urban planner at heart): their buildings are concrete and self-cool in the summer and self-heat in the winter... maybe i'm making this up now... but i think the way buildings face the sun and arc and provide shadows was very thoughtful in an energy conscious sort of way...

i'll post more when i a)find his letters, b) talk to him or c) get him to sign up

:D

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i'll post more when i a)find his letters, b) talk to him or c) get him to sign up

:D

Please do! Any or all of the options above would be awesome! :w00t:

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(This is my first time posting and I'm still trying to figure this out...)

I came across the Arcosanti web site and was very excited by the project. I am considering doing one of the workshops but would like to hear from any other folks who have attended- what the atmosphere, the people are like, does it live up to the hype... I'm an artist and designer with an interest in alternative architecture (particularly Chris Alexander), I'm in my 40's, well past "student" age and wondering if this would be a worthwhile experience/learning opportunity. Thanks for the feedback.

L

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okay so at first i thought i had lost all my friend's letters!! :( but then i found them stuffed away in a corner of my old room at my parents' house! :yahoo:

rockin'

okay so my friend went to arcosanti in the fall 2003 (he took some time off of school because he had accrued crazy amounts of credits and could do that) - he worked as a computer/network dude. now i am severely computer illiterate so i will stop there in my description of his actual job at arcosanti lest i completely misinterpret his day-to-day work.

it sounds like he worked quite hard though: "things are wonderful here, except that i have been working for 8 straight days without a day off. oh well. i get tomorrow completely off..."

oh then he talks about how glorious his day off was (getting all the little things done) - this letter was from his first few weeks there... - anyways he goes on to say how a group of Japanese people were there and that a few had been there for a long time. he said this inspired him to learn Japanese (okay me again: i'll have you know, my friend never really followed that dream... :blush: oh well - maybe someday he'll remember he wanted to learn it...) anyways moving right along - he learned some phrases so that was good i guess.

so then he goes on (the letter followed three or four days) - saying he learned to throw I Ching coins... now i'm not really going to explain this except to say that it's an ancient chinese divination system (or so he said) you apparently throw three coins six times to produce a hexagram which helps you deal with a problem or question... he was skeptical but he enjoyed the experience.

immediately following this thread he said:

"i can feel myself learning and growing so much here, almost daily. i think it's a really good time for me to take some time off for myself. though i think it's making me question school. it's going to be tough to go back." he goes on to quote thoreau ... he was clearly in a very philosophical mood at that point

but i will say - the concept of "it's a good time for me to take time off and think for myself" type mentality i remember him discussing with me on the phone... i think several residents of arcosanti felt the same way... a bit lost.

Ah speaking to my point in the same letter:

"it's nice to have so much time to myself to think and read and write and be alone with my thoughts, but sometimes it gets lonely. i'm having trouble connecting with people here, though i guess that's at least partly by choice. seems that a lot of the people here are lost in their lives and looking for direction. i guess in some ways i am too, but i came looking for direction and seeking guidance with the understanding that whether or not i found it or understood the things i came out here to think about, i would be going back east pretty soon. i'm not sure if or why that matters but i feel like there aren't many people here who can understand their own sh*t, let alone listen to me talk about mine. i wonder why i equate connecting with people with talking about the things that are bothering me. shouldn't all the good things i see in the world be as important?"...

he's a very cool smart friend - sorry his letter was not more about the architecture/layout of the little commune. as a self-proclaimed environmentalist i remember being very impressed with buildings that self-cooled in warm weather and self-warmed in cool weather based on their material/placement in relation to the sun...

okay another letter in another post! but for now, i hope this gets the discussion ball rolling.

;)

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Interesting! Thank you for sharing the information. I won't say for sure because I simply don't know, but I'd imagine that these independent types of communities often do attract the "lost" type of people, or perhaps not lost, but "searching"....I think a lot of these places have that reputation for being "hippie" hangouts, though probably not deserved or close to true in most cases.

I personally am more interested in the architecture/infrastructure and localized economics than the various philosophies that might be floating around. Interesting too about the Japanese group, I'd like to know more about that. Did your friend have anything to say about the day-to-day functioning of the community as a whole, and the perceived direction that things were going?

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