I moved to Arcosanti after completing my doctorate dissertation on the need for building a new archetype in architecture. Wishing to be a scholar who lived the talk, I thought that living at Arcosanti, Soleri's prototype arcology, would allow me to be an example of a person who was living in a way the 21 st Century demanded of us: frugal, collective, car-free, preserving land and water resources, and living with local organically grown foods. So when I read on the Arcosanti web site that a new program was opening up at Arcosanti, the Paradox Project, I signed up and was accepted into its pilot course.
After arriving at Arcosanti, I soon realized that the community development or the social architecture of the project was not something the Arcosanti hierarchy wanted to address. Soleri's focus was on architectural development. He taught us that first you have to build the piano before you could play the music, his metaphor for the relationship between architecture and people. But I thought the ecocity-making process is about people. Thus, the social architectural design is just as important to the success of the project as the physical structure. Without using a holistic approach to building arcology that fuses together social and physical architecture could be one of the reasons why Arcosanti has not been able to reach the critical mass of 5,000.
While at Arcosanti, I wrote and distributed an essay about this community verses architecture debate. After Soleri read it, he fired me from the project. Being fired from a project that I loved and wanted to help succeed made me take a deeper look at systems of power, the creation of healthy cultural models, and arcology. I have come to realize that the only kind of arcology I want any part of is one based on democratic values of free speech, human rights, and a holistic spirituality that allows humans to connect with Gaia in new harmonious ways that create peace and self-actualization.
The one thing that I feel that I accomplish during my stay at Arcosanti was that as the onsite coordinator of the Paradox Project, I helped push forward the effort of getting a T-1 line so that Arcosanti could move into the age of the Internet. Since leaving Arcosanti I have continued to advocate arcology over the Internet and through my local TV show, Lovolution Village in Tucson. My website is devoted to exploring the divine nature of arcology based on sacred geometry and live foods.
The above paragraphs were written as a submission to Soleri's call to alumni to write a paragraph or two about your memories of Arcosanti to be included in his "Builders of Arcosanti" quaderno. I have no illusions that my paragraphs will be included which is why I am posting them here.