2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Interdisciplinary

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: the Relevance of Paolo Soleri's Experimental City, Arcosanti
Shaine A. Griggs
Dr. Michael I. Kelrick, Faculty Mentor

Italian-born architect Paolo Soleri envisioned his foremost project, an "urban laboratory" which he calls Arcosanti, almost 40 years ago. Tested against Soleri's original ambitions, today’s Arcosanti can only be considered a colossal failure. Instead of revolutionizing urban design throughout the US, construction of Arcosanti proceeds at snail's pace and the so-called city lacks social durability. Most US cities have followed the sprawling, resource-intensive models of development exemplified by Los Angeles and Phoenix. Despite its shortcomings, Arcosanti matters because its principles offer a powerful critique of common American ways of urban life. Arcosanti suggests how US cities might proceed in another direction, to dwell in better harmony with the ecosystems on which they depend. In particular, Soleri’s Arcosanti underscores the significance of mixed-use development, curtailed automobile dependence, rejection of material affluence in favor of frugality, and forums for sociopolitical participation.

Keywords: Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri, American way of life, urban design, automobile, urban development, urban sprawl

Topic(s):Environmental Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 14-5
Location: OP 2115
Time: 9:15

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