Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fate of an Eco-City

The New York Times

To the editor:

I recently read Michael Tortorello’s article entitled “An Early Eco-City Faces the Future” and I was instantly enthralled by the story.  I was completely unaware that a place such as Arcosanti even existed, nonetheless, in the middle of an Arizona desert. 

Some might ask, “why is this story so interesting?"  Because, it is a futuristic concept, that was undertaken four decades ago, and now sits, unmoving and with an uncertain future.  It really is a vision of sustainable living, though it is still uncompleted.  A giant leap was taken to create a ecofriendly city, but was followed with not even the tiniest step.

Obviously, Tortorello took a lot of interest in Paul Soleri’s creation and crafted the story beautifully.  Arcosanti should be on the minds of every individual who expresses an interest in the environment.  It is both motivating and shameful.  Motivating, because such strides were taken to create such a place, but shameful that it has seen little progress after that great stride.

This story needs to be heard, and I hope that some day an article will be written about how successful Arcosanti has become and that their goal of having 5,000 residents and a completed city has been met, though it is difficult to imagine such events at this present time.

Still, though the project is looking like it will be difficult to raise the funds required to see some substantial push in the right direction, it is very inspiring how dedicated the people involved are—from the 92-year-old Paolo Soleri to the people living on the compound, such as Youngsoo Kim. 

Also, the article, in lesser detail, discusses the buildings' construction and how the concrete absorbs the heat during the day and releases it at night.  The green houses seem like an interesting idea, if they can actually be used to heat the building. 

If the eco-friendly city is going to be successful, there needs to be desirable living conditions.  The reason why people do not choose to live like that is because people, especially Americans, love the common comforts that are afforded us in unsustainable living conditions.  In order for people to embrace the sustainable way of life, those common comforts must be replicated using sustainable practices. 

I hope to hear more about Arcosanti and similar projects.

Richard Fetzer

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