Sep 10, 2010

Arcosanti: the green sustainable future that doesn't work - revisited

From a report in the Washington Examiner:

In the high desert of central Arizona, more than five thousand miles from the global-warming summit in Copenhagen, sits an aging and unfinished vision of the enviro-friendly, sustainable life that some climate change activists foresee for us all.

It's called Arcosanti, created in 1970 by the Italian architect Paolo Soleri, and it is the prototype of a green community of the future.

The only problem is, it doesn't work. And it never did.

The photos below were taken at Arcosanti, the failed experimental green town in the desert of Arizona, built to express Paolo Soleri's concept of arcology (the fusion of architecture and ecology).

(click on aerial photo above to enlarge)

After nearly 40 years there are only a few buildings. They are “gray, leaky and crumbling.”




The writer continues:

On the chilly December day when I visited recently, there were maybe 50 people there, and there are never, even in good weather, more than 100 or 150 inhabitants, mostly students who come to learn about Soleri's radical environmental and architectural ideas.

In one of the common areas, there were piles of empty cardboard boxes, an empty Mountain Dew carton, a couple of children's bikes with training wheels, and pools of water from the previous day's rain.

When I took a look at the "Sky Suite," a spare and minimally furnished apartment with a lovely view of the canyon, the man staying there had put a towel under the door in an attempt to keep the water out.

It didn't work; on the floor was a soaked towel and a pool of water. Everyone was cold, despite Arcosanti's vaunted solar heating system.

The Paolo Soleri plan was to prohibit cars, yet dozens of cars are scattered about the property.

The title of this report sums up this failure rather nicely. It’s “the green future that doesn't work.”


Did Arcosanti sink this low?

The photo of this decrepit bus was taken at Arcosanti. It appears to be in use. Not as a vehicle for transportation but as a dwelling!