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{theory, work, human}
{city, large, area}
{area, community, home}
{island, water, area}
{ship, engine, design}
{system, computer, user}
{work, book, publish}
{water, park, boat}
{food, make, wine}

Arcology, a portmanteau of the words "architecture" and "ecology",[1] is a set of architectural design principles aimed toward the design of enormous habitats (hyperstructures) of extremely high human population density. These largely hypothetical structures would contain a variety of residential, commercial, and agricultural facilities and minimize individual human environmental impact. They are often portrayed as self-contained or economically self-sufficient.

The concept has been primarily popularized, and the term itself coined, by architect Paolo Soleri, and appears commonly in science fiction.



An arcology is distinguished from a merely large building in that it is supposed to sustainably supply all or most of the resources for a comfortable life: power, climate control, food production, air and water purification, sewage treatment, etc.. It is supposed to supply these items for a large population. An arcology would need no connections to municipal or urban infrastructure in order to operate.

Arcologies were proposed to reduce human impacts on natural resources. Arcology designs often apply conventional building and civil engineering techniques in very large, but practical projects in order to achieve economies that are difficult to achieve in other ways. Frank Lloyd Wright proposed an early version[2] called Broadacre city. His plan described transportation, agriculture, and commerce systems that would support an economy. Critics said that Wright's solution failed to account for population growth, and assumed a more rigid democracy than the U.S. actually has.

Paolo Soleri proposed later solutions, and coined the term 'arcology'.[3] Soleri describes ways of compacting city structures in three dimensions to combat two-dimensional urban sprawl, and economize on transportation and other energy uses. Soleri's plans aren't just "human beehives." Like Wright, Soleri proposed important changes in transportation, agriculture, and commerce. Soleri explored reductions in resource consumption and duplication, land reclamation, and proposed to eliminate most private transportation. He favored greater use of shared social resources like public libraries.

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