Located in the high desert of Arizona, 90 miles north of Phoenix, the town of Arcosanti offers an alternative approach to urban living. Started in the 1970’s by Paolo Soleri, an architect, planner, and artist, envisioned a living environment with urban density that offered connection with the landscape and with the greater community.
Soleri’s concept of arcology (architecture+ecology) has been the major driving force behind the design of the town. Which is evident when looking at it’s organic form and natural building materials. Local silt has been used in making concrete for the structures which helps it blend into its landscape. Moving away from the standard grid pattern of the rest of urban America, the pathways meander between buildings, creating opportunities for public and private spaces.
Like any viable town, there needs to be some sort of industry or work besides just providing for daily living. Arcosanti has been largely funded by it’s bronze bell casting business, as well as hosting workshops that focus on Soleri’s ideas of arcology and alternative building methods.
Soleri’s vision was to create an urban village for 5,000 inhabitants. While current infrastructure is home to 150, the master plan with a 5,000 inhabitant capacity is slowly being implemented. Thousands of guests visit every year to learn more about this alternative form to urban living.