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Re: Arcology size

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  • Randall Hunt
    ... It s a perceptive question. I ve wondered myself how consideration of size enters the equation. Without question a town of 500 population does not need a
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 2, 2000
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      Daniel DeLorme wrote:

      >I've been thinking about what size an arcology should be... instinctively,
      >I tend to think an arcology is supposed to house MILLIONS (if not billions)
      >of people. But Arcosanti is only for 5000 people, and Soleri seems to be an
      >advocate of small arcologies in general. Doesn't that defeat the purpose?
      >With this little population, there can't be much of a difference with a
      >"normal" town. By having 100 stories, an arcology would reduce distances
      >(and thus waste) up to a factor of 10. But with a small arcology, you can't
      >have this many stories and so the economy of time and energy becomes trivial.
      >
      >Any thoughts?

      It's a perceptive question. I've wondered myself how consideration of size
      enters the equation. Without question a town of 500 population does not
      need a megastructure in order to have a good life--conventional
      architectural forms are adequate. Urban historians judge cities (before the
      modern age) of 20,000 to 40,000 thereabouts as offering relatively clear
      benefits without many of the drawbacks of a growing urb. This size can also
      be successfully pedestrian by conventional means, without resorting to
      megastructure. Arcology in such a case would undoubtedly yield operating
      economies and enhance the urban effect (which is the explicit purpose). The
      other thing is that arcology does absolutely is to contain sprawl. A flat
      city of any size must rely on social agreement to resist sprawl, whereas
      arcology limits it physically. Population growth issues within an arcology
      are then stressed and must ultimately be resolved by creating another
      arcology (with perhaps a different target population). This can be
      problematic but is eminently resolvable. Arcologies for large target
      populations (range approaching and exceeding 100,000 pop.) may or may not
      be within a viable operating range depending on how well the structure is
      able to assuage social pressures from increased urban density. Ultimately,
      the entire question is theoretical and both an optimum operating range and
      a practical operating range must be determined empirically.

      I agree with your suggestion that arcologies have a practical lower size
      limit (notwithstanding their increased benefits in harsh climates). I
      suspect there are upper limits to effective population size for an
      arcology. Hopefully that figure runs into hundreds of thousands. It does us
      little good to create an expensive structure only to find that we solve one
      problem but introduce others and offset gains.

      In any case, it is a human-scaled urban environment we are after.
      Consideration of arcology housing millions of people seems patently absurd
      because in such cases human scale will be difficult to maintain no matter
      how you cut it. If a person cannot emotionally and psychically embrace the
      entire city, then that city is too big. That goes for arcologies, too.
    • DadWorld@aol.com
      In a message dated 06/01/2000 4:12:07 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Da ... I ... of ... (and ... I know there has been some discussion here about
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 3, 2000
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        In a message dated 06/01/2000 4:12:07 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Da
        niel DeLorme <deld2608@...> writes:

        > I've been thinking about what size an arcology should be... instinctively,
        I
        > tend to think an arcology is supposed to house MILLIONS (if not billions)
        of
        > people. But Arcosanti is only for 5000 people, and Soleri seems to be an
        > advocate of small arcologies in general. Doesn't that defeat the purpose?
        > With this little population, there can't be much of a difference with a "
        > normal" town. By having 100 stories, an arcology would reduce distances
        (and
        > thus waste) up to a factor of 10. But with a small arcology, you can't have
        > this many stories and so the economy of time and energy becomes trivial.

        I know there has been some discussion here about whether Arcosanti should be
        called an arcology at all, but I've always believed it to be a prototype
        arcology - something that one man and a small organizaton could do as a demo
        project without government and/or corporate control, but just large enough to
        embody the basics of arcology. I don't know where you got the idea that
        Paolo advocates "small" arcologies, unless you consider hundreds of thousands
        of people a small town. I don't have it in front of me, but I'm pretty sure
        all the designs in his big book were for at least a half-million people.

        Incidentally, I think 100 stories would reduce distances by a factor far
        greater than 10. I guesss is depends on where you start from. If the
        average building in a large city is 10 stories, all else being equal, you
        could say you can increase density by 10. But perhaps one-third of a city's
        surface area is devoted to cars - think of all streets, highways, garages,
        parking lots, gas and service stations. So an arcology should be even more
        compressed.

        Jim
        "Every day, computers are making people easier to use"
        "Corporations are on a collision course with democracy, and democracy is
        losing" - Ralph Nader
      • Joshua Kane
        To solve the problem of growth, couldn t they just build more stories? Some arcology plans are 500 stories.
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 3, 2000
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          To solve the problem of growth, couldn't they just build more stories?
          Some arcology plans are 500 stories.
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