Arcology /
The Case For Arcology In Todays World


Humanity faces many problems today.

Population pressures in developing nations and around the world threaten entire regions with overcrowding and resource exhaustion.

Environmental degradation decreases the ability of the ecosystem to maintain stability or provide for human needs.

Urban sprawl, once incorrectly regarded as a phenomenon of the American middle class, has become a worldwide epidemic which involves many nations and all classes. Many of the most productive farming regions in the world are being paved over, and all major ecosystem types are under some degree of pressure from this process.

Social disintegration threatens the roots of society. Social, professional, racial, cultural and national groups self-segregate, reducing the opportunity for positive interaction between them.

Human infrastructure is not designed (in a manner practiced by some pre-modern societies) to return much if any of the nutrients and other materials removed by humans from their natural environments.

Human society worldwide has become economically, socially and politically dependant to a great degree on nonrenewable and polluting energy sources such as fossil fuels such as petroleum, natural gas and coal.

In response to these concerns, various narrow and directed reforms have been proposed – some more reasonable than others. One possibility that addresses each of these concerns and holistically contributes to the incremental amelioration of all of them is Arcology – urban ecology – a “city in the image of man.”

High density, low pollution, naturally harmonious, socially cohesive and economically stable, the fully realized arcology has been little more than a pipe dream. The worsening of the problematic factors that lead to its conceptualization may encourage or compel it into reality – whether today or far into tomorrow.

Arcology is no panacea – architecture can only socially engineer so far, and human society is an unpredictable and complex subject as can be conceived. Yet, an arcology offers a hope of improving on a swath of problems all simultaneously at their root and core without requiring many of the more extreme sacrifices called for by zealots and various lunatic fringe elements to hope to eliminate any one of them.

The high density of arcology promises a dramatic improvement in productivity with the elimination of long travel time and expenses.

Arcology promises improved access through proximaty to cultural and social institutions.

Arcology promises a dramatic reduction in energy use through an energy efficient structure, the inherent savings of density, the lesser use of energy for transportation, the common walls, floors and ceilings etc.

Arcology makes possible close social interactions with proximity to neighbors of all types and varieties and a genuine sense of community with them.

Arcology could dramatically improve service businesses through proximity to customers.

Fewer workers would be required, as idle time could be used to serve the larger population – going hand in hand with improved productivity.

Arcology could reduce crime with a renewed sense of community and with greater proximity to others, as well as potentially a new sense of shared space.

Arcology could increase civic engagement by making it more convinient to contibute socially by choice. The greater time available could be used for this purpose.

It’s a start.

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