Arcology ”The city in the image of man”(Paolo Soleri)


It is based on closed system sustainability and urban planning. Also, it is entirely self-sufficient.

As the population increases and becomes more diverse and skilled it leads to a situation where a resident of a city can no longer access all the resources the city offers, due to congestion. This leads to proposing the concept of combining architecture and ecology.

Physical aspects of Arcology:

  • Has sections for environmental, residential and commercial use. Cars will be banned(This may suffer opposition from a large group of people).
  • Power will be provided by solar plants, wind farms and geothermal energy(renewable sources). Biological waste will be turned into fertiliser and used as a power source and industrial waste will be recycled. This drastically cuts the need for roads and the pollution, congestion hazards that go with them.
  • There are floors dedicated to take care of the inner workings of the floors above it, called a deck. The deck level will house all power lines, plumbing mains and other works for a residence or commercial buildings.
  • Most importantly it provides its inhabitants a sense of belonging to a community.

Reality check! Most proposals to build real arcologies have failed due to financial, structural or conceptual shortcomings. Arcologies are therefore found mostly in fictional works.

One of the real life examples that came very close to this idea is Chartier Dalix Architects winning proposal for a competition to design a primary school and sport hall in Boulogne Billancourt, a commune in the western suburbs of Paris.

Image result for chartier dalix boulogne

(   PC: http://chartier-dalix.com/portfolio/gs-18classes/)

Like any other scientific proposal, this one too has its advantages and drawbacks.

Every site has it own ecological limiting capacity, which if overburdened will get damaged due to soil erosion and destruction of local biodiversity. Also, there are chances of increase in the spread of infectious diseases at such population density. At the local level, it increases sociopathic behaviour due to the size of population.

On the other hand main advantage on health grounds is that the spread of a disease would be contained within that structure since it is self-sustained.

A revolutionary idea in contrast to the conventional way of living. It is a society that relies less on transportation, goods, shipped food and non-renewable energy. It can be considered as a ‘last resort ‘ in slowing down the degradation our planet Earth.

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