Connected by a mutual devotion to innovative design and environmental accountability, seven thousand volunteers helped to build Arcosanti - an experimental city in the Arizona high desert, 70 miles north of Phoenix. During the 1970s this community of people dedicated their time, energy and skill set to realizing designer Paolo Soleri’s theory of a compact city; that architecture and ecology can coexist.

“Arcology recognizes the necessity of radical reorganization of the sprawling urban landscape into dense, integrated, three-dimensional cities in order to support the complex activities that sustain human culture. The compact city [Arcosanti] is the necessary instrument for the evolution of humankind." — Paolo Soleri

Built to human scale; which means you can walk everywhere, Arcosanti champions high-density; building up to avoid urban sprawl. Many of its spaces are designed to service multiple functions; amenities such as the kitchen and swimming pool are shared amoungst the community, all of this minimalising the environmental impact. Soleri's concepts live on, and city planners who now reside at Arcosanti often consult on new city developments and future planning.

Greta recalls while visiting, "there were people in the working areas casting bronze bells and ceramics. Someone was preparing for a concert; they regularly hold public events in the amphitheater. It was super lively and the community ranged from original members who had lived there since construction to new members who had moved in this time last year." 

PHOTOGRAPHER | Greta van der Star