Thursday, 25 November 2010


FROM OUR WASTEFUL, ISOLATED, IGNORANT SELVES? -----I THINK IT CAN!!! Come with me to Cordes Junction, Arizona. We will visit a prototype city-of-the-future envisioned by Italian Architect Paolo Solari--constructed by his supporters. Behind this sign a few miles out in the desert, perched on a canyon's edge is ARCOSANTI---the exact opposite of SunCity, only 60 miles away---where everyone has his own separate plot of land and house. Here, people live more or less pueblo style--in cubicles stacked atop one another--tastefully and interestingly of course, but compressed and "vertical" as opposed to horizonal (urban sprawl) .About 40 souls live here, including the famous architect himself--now 90 yrs young. If you are tempted to jump to the conclusion that spacy "sprawl" is the better way to live----Solari would have you think again. I've been here many times--this bold experiment interest me. Today I come to refresh my understanding.
Slowly, Slowly, it grows--concrete, steel and glass. A word of warning--It is not wheelchair accessible---stairs only and they are not apologetic for this---pointing out that much of the world cannot be efficiently made so.

See what I mean by vertical. I really meant to ask: How vertical? Like skyscrapers? Or only walkably vertical--6 or 7 floors? What I'm most interested to learn is whether pueblo style living is more conducive to peaceful, efficient, creative living than urban sprawl living? Now that I think about it we have clear examples of both styles from the American Indians---the plains indians sprawled out in teepee villages and the pueblo dwellers living atop one another. I'm guessing the Pueblo people were more peaceful and harmonious than the warlike Comanches. But were they more creative? I don't know. Have to learn more.

Meet Jeff--long time dweller at Arcosanti---builder and thinker. I lucked out--catching him at lunchtime and he graciously gave me an hour of his time.

I hope I used my opportunity wisely. Jeff was good natured and amazingly open. Told me that Solari has been hired to design a new bridge somewhere in the Phoenix area. (details later) Will try to reflect what I learned in my philosophizing bit.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Urban sprawl like Sun City is horrendously wasteful of resources, destructive of the environment and not conducive to cross pollination of ideas. Vertical living is obviously more efficient and when well designed promotes stimulating interaction. Solari in one of his books says that civilization began when, after agriculture, people built defensive city walls and lived within them---forcing folks to interact more as they came and went ----and this interaction--exchange of greetings and ideas set humanity off on its glorious advance into technology and art. I think this is true---I believe we all yearn to be creatively connected with others. The advanced personalities that I know are people who CONNECT. (not compulsively--desperately, controllingly or idley---but like Einstein, Darwin and others of their ilk--connect with intent, focus, sporatically, constructively---then DISCONNECT to think solitarily.
Outside my Trailer this thanksgiving day are 100 of my friends in a hundred mobile houses--clustered in the desert--within shouting distance--all about to share a meal together in one hour. They make me rich with their sharing. Perhaps we are an optimum blend of both lifestyles.

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