Where have all the arcologists gone...?
- Sorry to interrupt the silence: but if there was ever, ever any time
when arcology thinking was needed and relevant, it is now.
The flood and hurricane catastrophy in New Orleans is a first taste
of things to come; even if humanity manages to reverse global warming
and reduce the disatrsous tendencies, for decades we will have to
live with extraodinary anomalies.
Beside its overall positive impact on the environment and on the
intensity of human culture, arcology also might prove the only
solution to shelter us in the dark decades to come.
A very insightful paper on the city of New Orleans, its crucial role
for the economy and its strategic importance is circulating through
the mailing lists and through the blogosphere - please read this:
New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize
By George Friedman
"The American political system was founded in Philadelphia, but the
American nation was built on the vast farmlands that stretch from the
Alleghenies to the Rockies. That farmland produced the wealth that
funded American industrialization: It permitted the formation of a
class of small landholders who, amazingly, could produce more than
they could consume. They could sell their excess crops in the east
and in Europe and save that money, which eventually became the
founding capital of American industry.
But it was not the extraordinary land nor the farmers and ranchers
who alone set the process in motion. Rather, it was geography -- the
extraordinary system of rivers that flowed through the Midwest and
allowed them to ship their surplus to the rest of the world. All of
the rivers flowed into one -- the Mississippi -- and the Mississippi
flowed to the ports in and around one city: New Orleans. It was in
New Orleans that the barges from upstream were unloaded and their
cargos stored, sold and reloaded on ocean-going vessels. Until last
Sunday, New Orleans was, in many ways, the pivot of the American
On the base of analysis like this, arcologists all over the world
should enter in lively discussion about the "how to" of New Orleans
rebirth. Of course that would require not only deep technological
changes, but also social, political and institutional ones.
Maybe this idle group can be revitalized by a discussion on this