"Arcology is an architectural design approach that unites various part of the city into an integrated whole system. It is an energy efficient, pedestrian-centered development that integrates the living, working, social, commercial, industrial, and artistic aspects. In a car-free arcology, transportation networks connect parts of the city as easily as blood vessels and arteries circulate blood throughout a healthy human body. Natural landscapes are accessible within a walkable distance. Arcological design saves natural resources used in traditional transportation, heating/cooling and land use schemes because it brings biological and social systems together under one roof, a new realistic model of sustainable development for the world.
The practicality of building arcology is integrated yoga or union in that it fuses all societal disciplines together into a coherent whole. It is a framework in which intellectual disciplines merge in a way that creates harmony with the global ecology. Arcologies are designed into the watersheds and ecosystems within a particular bioregion. Each arcology is uniquely suited to its particular climate and surrounding landscape.
Using agricultural greenhouses as part of the heating and cooling "energy apron," arcology localizes food production. The energy apron envisioned as part of an arcology has a step-down terrace topography draped around the habitat. "Tree columns" support a taut membrane structure to cause a usable green-house effect. It delivers energy in three forms: warm air, hot water, and green food." (http://www.realitysandwich.com/12th_hour_arcology)
"Experiments in arcology are being conducted in places around the world like in the United Arab Emirates which is building Masdar City, a $22 billion zero-waste, zero-carbon community. Another low-carbon city being built is Dongtan, an island off Shanghai.
Arcology not only disrupts the American Dream of life in suburbia, it replaces it with a new form of city design, a "biomorphic" city designed as a living entity based upon molecular structure.
Architect Vincent Callebaut, is using a similar approach to Soleri's arcology model to design in his visionary architectural drawings. He calls his urban designs "Ecopolis." His Lily Pad series shows the evolution of a seafaring ecopolis that integrates all renewable energies such as solar, geothermal, tidal, wind, and biomass within the infrastructure of the ecopolis. He writes that the metabolism of the city "would be in perfect symbiosis with the cycles of nature," and that ecopolis would be a "true biotope entirely recyclable."
Another project proposal describes how this new archetype might work is the Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid, to be built in the Tokyo Bay, Japan. Shimizu is designed to house 750,000 people. The mega-infrastructure will use super-strong, light-weight building materials -- carbon nanotubes -- that are being developed now to construct the 6,575 feet high city. The plan calls for the trusses to be coated with a photovoltaic film that will generate electricity for the city. The truss structure will be assembled by large robots. The trusses will also work as transportation nodes. Italian architect Dante Bini has proposed a construction process that uses air bladders to elevate the trusses into place. The Shimizu proposal not only gives us a glimpse into a completely new approach to urban life, but a fundamentally new construction process using robotics. Such an approach using robots as laborers frees humanity of the master/serf economy that built our present day oppressive civilization.
The geometry of Shimizu's pyramid exoskeleton is similar to the designs of Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes in that it biomimics crystalline structures. Fuller writes, "architecture of compression is replace by an architecture of tension, or equal stress, whereby the stress on the structure is carried equally across the entire form." What this means in terms of symbolism is that if we want to build a democratic city such a cooperative structure is necessary. The design of "equal stress" allows us to understand the function of the citizen or individual within the city. Each must carry her or his own weight to make the democracy work. With robots doing must of the construction labor, people will have time to become responsible, well-educated citizens able to wisely manage the planet." (http://www.realitysandwich.com/12th_hour_arcology)
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