Re: [arcology] Frugality ERRATUM
- Randall Hunt writes:
>>Humans finally can aply the laws of nature by building augmented"Biotopes" are, in ecological terms, finite systems of landscape, climate,
>Perhaps I've been out of the loop. I guess "biotope" means "life-place"?
and societies of animals, plants etc. which can be described in relation
to the "natural" properties of a species. It is close to the term
"ecosystem", but applied to places where a species lives.
Thus, (traditional, not deep) ecology often ends up in the ideological
construction of a natural state of things from which human activities
should possibly refrain to protect natures diversity. Humans with their
potential of adapting environments to their owns needs are regarded a
disturbing factor vis a vis biotopes.
This ideological construction has not much practical value. Humans by
their very "nature" are anticipating beings who change environments
actively. As well as most likely nature is a process which is progressing
dynamically, evolutionary. Traditional Ecology has therefore more the
character of a political justification than of rational foundation of
human activity. Nevertheless it has made us aware of the incredible
interrelatedness of processes in natural systems - especially when we
think we can change a part and are confronted with reactions of the whole.
By talking of "Augmented Biotopes" I refer to the enormous balance-seeking
qualities of natural systems; I am advocating that human activity should
be increasingly considered "managing a system" than "fighting and
Permaculture for me is a fine, but very limited way of making this
transition. We are using very little effort by letting hundreds of
processes work together. The Permaculturalist farmer needs not a large
machine - parc to seed, prepare the soil, protect the plants, fertilize,
harvest etc. Most of these tasks are done by nature itself - in a way
humans can make enormous use of, but cannot directly control. Yet this
process works without technology and has intrinsic limits.
By embedding "teleological" qualities into our technology (creating
organisms), we are, like Kevin Kelly argues, making the transition to a
"neo-biological civilisation". We might end up with finding ourselves the
initiators of a balance-seeking process which is too complex to be
"The aggregate capacity of millions of "biological machines" may someday
match our own skill of innovation. Ours may always be a flashy type of
creativity, but there is something to be said for a slow, wide creativity
of many dim parts working ceaselessly."
The result could be disaster, the result could be "augmented biotopes".
In any case, the interaction of our own creations with the creative
potential of biological processes leads to a whole new arena of
possibilities in the construction of living environments.
>>They are not mere species, but the engineers of the planet. But with
>>capabilities growing, their mindset has to change.
>Of course you mean WE, not they.
>>The idea of self-contained frugality is outdated. Frugality in the sense
>>of turning cities and villages into meta-plants and building augmented
>>bioshperes with open communication to each other is the requirement of
>You're starting to lose me, Franz. Meta-plants? And are you suggesting
>open communication doesn't currently exist between what we have in place
>"augmented biospheres" (namely, cities)?
"Meta Plants" was my thought at my first excursion to Arcosanti when I was
reminded by a speech how the city as an Arcology would react as a living
organism, harvests the sun, opens on warmth, closes on heat, to all the
wonderful things I learned about plant behaviour in biology. And by
studying plant behaviour in its seemless integration with the outside
world, I was impressed about the long way we have to go in construction
and technolöogy to rech similar perfection in our Habitat.
I think, sometimes the big is really the repetition of the small in
another dimension. And biology is full of the most elegant examples how we
can solve physical problems and constraints in baeuty and with the lowest
The communication between cities as well as the communication between
cities and their environment is far from that effortlessness.
>>In this , and only in this sense, Bioshere2 was a dialectical answer to
>Arcology (if not Arcosanti itself) proposes to demonstrate a more
>ecologically coherent urban form; Biosphere intended to demonstrate an
>ability to recreate a whole ecosystem. Where is the dialectic?
The most ecologically coherent form is an ecosystem.
Biosphere tried to create a closed ecosystem. This is, as theoretical
biology (Prigosine) argues, equal to gradual death. This is why I am
talking of arcology (in coherence with the greenhouses, the fishtanks, the
hydrocultures, the reactors and all that beautiful stuff that maybe John
Todd would build into an arcology) as a model of a relatively closed
(complexity - miniaturisation -. duration) ecosystem which nevertheless is
open to use the wind, the sun and the earth like a plant.
Arcology is not yet fully conceptualised as an ecosystem, although there
are elements within. But the last 30 years have seen so much progress in
the gradual beginning of system thoughts that I would like to see arcology
as a movement react on this.
>The result could be disaster, the result could be "augmented biotopes".You can say that again.
Yet, I'd rather hear you describe your physical conceptualization of arcology.
- Randall Hunt <randhunt@...>
>>The result could be disaster, the result could be "augmented biotopes".Thank you, Randall, for that question.
>You can say that again.
>Yet, I'd rather hear you describe your physical conceptualization of
I am not an architect, so I have no drawings, but for me there is some
very clear points of description:
let me put in a quick mental image for you and anybody who is interested:
1. Small Arcologies of <2000 are not exceptions, but a widespread
phenomenon. They are nested in the natural which they are part of. There
is, in a deeper sense, not a pure natural sphere. Human activities and
nature are intertwined. There is historical examples for that, mainly in
Europe: cultural landscape, with varying degrees of intensity of land use.
2. Shape of Arcology is always in dialogue with the shape and character of
landscape. But also in intense cohesion with the natural qualities of
climate, snow, ice, rain, floods. Mini-Arcology or Village Arcology is a
landship, protecting against forces of nature, at the same time giving
access and allowing dialogue with nature.
3. Flow of man and material: Also Village Arcologies are mostly situated
alongside mass transportation lines.
4. The hilltown as ideal form: As Justus Dahinden and Richard Lewine have
conceptualised, the urban hill is the most humane form of living.
Everybody is entitled to a view, a breathe, a small garden ten by ten
yards ten steps from the bed. The surface of Vilage Arcology is the
natural extension of the surface of the planet. The stomach of Village
Arcology holds the rest. Italian hilltowns and greek mountain villages are
great examples of surface management. Everything, including public -
private schemes, rain treatment, climatisation in micro - atria etc. The
human habitat is the skin, the skin is the center, but the skin is also
able to close and protect itself.
5. concentric circles: The village Arcology might be surrounded by a
suburban and farm-garden-hydroculture-ring, but this is limited in size
due to accessibility. Local choice of lifestyles is possible. It is
mandatory also that a short walk leads the individual to encounter with
nature beyond deep social influence.
6. Dissipation and osmosis: the size of Village Arcology is determined by
the optimum relation between production and reproduction, breathing in and
breathing out, fulfilling a partial role in a larger ecosystem. Village
Arcology is bioregional. Purification of water, food production, leisure,
sports, growing of raw material: lots of things happen outside village
arcologies. Forests are essential for the planatary climate balance.
Village Arcologies are guarding forests. Maybe the Pawlonia trees around
Arcosanti are a harbinger of that future.
7. Global spere: The "inner sun" of the arcology is not only provided by
local residents and travelling artists. Cyberspace means the constant
presence of the global virtual human metropolis in the "stomach" of the
Village Arcologies. Caves, virtual reality theatres, holographic study
rooms, supported by lightwells. They serve purposes of education,
entertainment, research, production, design, develoipment.
8. Cultural diversity. There is not one musical instrument for all human
cultures. There are many cultural ways incompatioble with each other. A
village Arcology might be a matter of choice of core values, which also
want to be acted out physically. The swiss writer P.M. has conceptualised
that as a multitude of "bolos", according to various "nimas". If we look
at Las Vegas, we see a perverted form of this "theme" aspect of building
in its gigantic hotels. So Village Arcologies can be unlike each other
simply by "theme". One theme might be "classic", another might be
"modern". One might be "natural, down to earth", another might be
"decadent and laissez faire". I personally like to share my Village
Arcology with bookmaniacs, and we want to share the largest library room
after the library of congress as the centerpiece of our arcology. Is there
anybody out there who wants to share that dream?
These are some essentials. I have not touched automation, circular
material fows within the Village Arcology, the structure of production and
many others. Nevertheless I find the eight points a pretty comprehensive
Thank you Randall, for giving me the incentive to write them down for the
first time. I would be very glad if this could be continued in some work
space and if some people interested would join. I have had a tremendous
good conversation with Jeff Buderer on these issues and I would like a
Wiki to hold an expanding and intensifying collective imagination
alongside these lines.
- email@example.com writes:
>we want to share the largest library roomwell that might be still too much to ask. but...spacious ;-)
>after the library of congress as the centerpiece of our arcology.