Utopia Case Study #2: Arcosanti
The idea of arcology is to design massive habitats, or hyper-structures, to hold highly dense populations of people. Such structures would serve residential, commercial, and agricultural purposes while minimizing the actual footprint of human existence. By definition, they’d be self-contained environments, economically self-sufficient, and isolated from municipal or urban infrastructure.
Construction on Arcosanti began in 1970, and it has been built by hundreds of volunteers over the years. It’s still being built today. The population varies between 50 and 150 people — mostly students and volunteers — but ultimately the town will be able to hold 5,000 people, and serve as a functioning example of an arcology.
There are 13 major structures on the site, built out of an ecologically sensible, locally-sourced material: concrete panels that are cast in silt acquired from the surrounding area. Many of these panels are cast with embedded art. Soleri’s master plan, millions of dollars short of becoming reality, is for a massive arcological complex called Arcosanti 5000.
Visitors to Arcosanti can stay, inexpensively, in guest rooms facing the Agua Fria River Canyon.