Arcosanti


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Arcosanti is a place that Jim had heard of and wanted to visit, and it sounded interesting...and it was right on our way to Cottonwood. Jim has taken classes in urban planning and suggested this place, and we were up for something interesting!

Here is the description of Arcosanti from their own website, to be sure I'm getting it right:

Arcosanti is the prototype for architect Paolo Soleri's vision of an arcology. The idea of an arcology is the combination of architecture and ecology, a concept first conceived by Paolo Soleri in the 1950s. Within this urban laboratory students of all ages and backgrounds have come to participate in workshops where they learn about the theories of Paolo Soleri and gain hands-on experience in a variety of fields such as construction, archives, architecture and planning, facilities maintenance, or landscaping.

Over the past forty years people have come from all over the world to participate in this urban experiment. The top three nations represented, besides the United States, are Italy, Canada, and Japan. Since Arcosanti's inception in 1970, approximately 7,000 volunteers have participated in the construction of the site, some of which have stayed to become residents. Currently about 80 residents live permanently at Arcosanti. The population fluctuates, but continual growth is expected throughout the long term scale of the project.

So this sounds great...except that, as Jo Nell pointed out, this place has been here forty years, they have a hundred people at the most, they support it selling windchimes (no kidding) and they have only built a tenth of the proposed project...and what has been built is definitely showing its age.

For sure, I would not live here, waaaay too communal for me. So it's a nice idea/experiment, but it's not going to change how cities are built, no matter how much they claim that major cities are using them as a pattern...

Having said that, it was very interesting and the tour was cool.

The entrance and the view of Arcosanti as one drives in.
Pretty flower! These are the bronze bells and wind chimes they sell to fund the place. So this is a model of what the whole city is supposed to look like when/if it's ever finished. The white arches are the part that's not done...if you look at it full size, the bits of gray at the bottom are what's been built.. Spring, the Arcosanti Cat.
Jim in the cafe Me and Spring. What a sweetie! A pretty glass design by a door. We went out a door that said there was a visitor's trail, but it just led under an archway and stopped. This sculpture was there.
They did have a lot of nice plants around, though. And I love blooming cacti!

So that was Arcosanti. An interesting experiment, but not very realistic, in my opinion.