Insiders Guide: Arcosanti, an architectural experiment in the Arizona desert

This is Arcosanti, an architectural in the Arizona desert (State Department Photo)

“Welcome to the Arcosanti urban laboratory” proclaims the sign that welcomes visitors to this unusual experimental town located in the heart of Arizona.

Architect Paolo Soleri envisioned Arcosanti in the early 70s based on the principles of “arcology” – the fusion of architecture with ecology. The city is a continuous live experiment: Seven thousand people from around the world have participated in its construction over the past 46 years.

As Jeff Steiner, co-director of the foundation which runs Arcosanti, remarked: “Cities are newer forms of life on the planet. They are only 7,000 years old, and did not have time to be planned right. When I say “right,” I mean designed like every other form of life, within limits. Part of this is learning is how to build cities that make sense. We believe that some of these ideas are coming from Arcosanti now.”

* Insider’s Guide is a  series of short documentaries produced by the U.S. EMBASSY ATHENS, offering an insight to the Western United States. These videos show the entrepreneurial energy, public-private sector cooperation, and community involvement happening at unique destinations in the American west.