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HungryGuy's avatar

Do any true arcologies exist in the world?

Asked by HungryGuy (15956 points ) March 16th, 2012

An “arcology” is a science fiction premise of a small civilization living inside a single large building. Everyone there lives and works in the same building, and all services are provided within the building that everyone needs. That’s not to say the building is totally self-sufficient. Mail comes and goes. As do consumer products that residents order from beyond. But all services are provided such that there is no need to ever exit the building for any reason.

(Of course, you may go outside if you wish, but most science fiction scenarios present a situation where venturing outside the building is either dangerous, unhealthy, etc.)

Does anything like this really exist in the world (big cities like NYC where all or most buildings are interconnected via subway stations don’t count)?

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6 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

This seems to fit the prison population.

Although, they cannot come and go as they wish.

HungryGuy's avatar

@john65pennington – Good observation. Prisons never crossed my mind.

wundayatta's avatar

Actually, I think the arcology concept was developed by the architect Paolo Solieri. He has been building an arcology out in the desert North of Phoenix. It is called Arcosanti, and it is a work in progress. You can see how the concept of work and living and play are all intertwined, but it has a long way to go to be anything approaching self sufficient.

The concept, as I understand it, is not so much self-sufficiency as it is a way of minimizing the amount of the earth’s surface that is taken up with roads and houses. If we build in three dimensions, we can live more efficiently. We live closer to work and stores and entertainment and everything, and as a result, we are also closer to open space and nature. If a million people live in a square mile, you don’t have to go more than half a mile to read open space, and not much further to reach natural space.

Nothing is like that in the real world that I know of. If it did exist, I bet it would be somewhere in Asis—like Japan or Singapore. Or Maybe in Arabia—like Dubai.

Frankly, I’m not sure it could exist. I think humans live in response to so many environmental conditions and that our way of living is a natural outgrowth of that. An arcology is a planned community and it requires so much funding and so many people to change the way they think of living that I doubt it would get funding. It’s not economically viable—not yet, anyway.

TexasDude's avatar

Ever since I first played SimCity 2000, I have wondered this myself.

DaphneT's avatar

You know, those cities that have buildings connected by tunnels, subways, anything that isolates and protects the people from adverse weather are the foundations of arcologies. It is this comfortable protection from the adverse weather that will change people’s way of thinking and living. It can be very seductive. We now have the push to create green spaces on roofs and other abandoned spaces, and when people learn to garden and realize they want the fresh veggies year round, when the transport costs go through the roof, when these people connect glassed-in buildings and electric lights with gardening successes and lack of discomfort from frigid temperatures or from constant heat. All of this is the foundation for arcologies.

dabbler's avatar

Arcosanti tried to get a start on that.
Oh, hey, @wundayatta is way ahead of me on that!
Some of Paolo Soleri’s designs were far grander than Arcosanti but none of them ever got built.
Some of his bigger designs would have a better chance of approaching self-contained/ self-sufficiency.

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