I've long had a fascination with the idea of future cities ever since I was a young child. I spent many childhood hours playing a variety of video games - and playing construction sims like SimCity; developing and managing towns one could eventually reach the seemingly pinnacle of conceivable civilizations development; the construction of the Arcology tower. Little did I know at the time, that this concept was based upon one Paulo Soleri's real world project - although his real world project were a far fetch from Sim City's futuristic residential towers that held hundreds of thousands in self sustainable habitats, it would indeed be their foundation, conceptually.
Arcosanti, was only capable of housing a few thousand at its maximum size but inspired countless other projects, and the realization hit me early that one day these Arcologies could be a very real, big deal. Likely ending up like today's mega cities, becoming very powerful engine's of change in the world; and seemingly with great power - there must come responsibility. How might they operate? Who will control them and what will be their purpose? What types of technologies might they use and what would life in these places - be like the times ahead? Would they all be the same or would they wield different ideologies that would compete, or cooperate? We stand with these times on the horizon, and the choices we make in this regard - will shape the future of our cities for generations to come.
For many years, I have reflected upon these questions, sifted through mountains of research on the topic; and sought to organize the Toronto Arcology Cooperative Project as a means of championing a campaign to construct an Arcology in Toronto, that will advocate an improved form of localized technological democratic governance of these cities of the future; and to pro-actively engage in encouraging their development across Canada and the world. More recently, large Multi-national Corporate entities have sought to develop a few. In the far East, smart cities are now rising by the hundreds. Recently Google has proposed building a development Center to turn Toronto into a 'Smarter' City; but it's not quite an Arcology. It's a midway step though, as the technologies they develop and encourage throughout the city will likely benefit the future development of the Arcology Cooperatives.
Arcology development will require a multitude of technologies but used in collaboration in the right way, life will change but be vastly easier. This will give us more time to pursue our goals, skill development, or developing new ideas and/or products. Automation could assist in managing; vertical farming, manufacturing, and multiple sectors of industry. AI, & personal robotics will be able to vastly enhance the human experience, multi-directional transportation could allow for inner city travel to any part of the city. 3d printing, nanotechnology, new battery technologies, solar power technologies, transhumanism factories and medical Center's will transform the way our reality is forged, including ourselves. The use of exoskeletons, more development of brain machine interfaces, personal flight devices and vehicles, as well as smart furniture will grow. Built in computers in hundreds of products; using technology like the Raspberry pi is already upon us, and surely the holographic and VR gaming arcades we're seeing now are the NES's of the New Gaming Race; just the beginning.
Along with Arcosanti, in Arizona, several Arcology projects exist around the world in various stages of construction. Canada has a small community that almost qualifies in Montreal, called Habitat 67 built in the aforementioned year. Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates, Dongtan in China, and Crystal Island in Russia, are examples of large scale projects that seek to house thousands. The Begic towers operate like a small arcology in Whittier, Alaska. McMurdo Station and some other Antarctic stations operate as self sustainable micro communities in the distant south.
We've got a few options available going forward in terms of governing these large self sustainable cities, one of which might see the adoption of a municipal government determined by the classic democratic 4 year voting system, which might be a bit outdated for a city of tomorrow. Some Corporations are proposing that private entities could operate these types of smart cities or mega cities, and on the other side of the world governments like China and India are building dozens of smart cities operated by federal governments. Should Canada follow through developing one of these systems, or build one more custom suited to Canadian needs? I believe that a Cooperatively managed democratic Arcologies, would be most suitable - managed digitally by residents in an updated model of municipal democracy that puts more leverage power in the hands of the people.
Seasteading has grown in popularity over the last several years, which is a concept essentially founded on the concept of Arcology with mobility that floats on the Ocean. I kind of like this idea as it allows a city to have mobility, on a lake or on the Ocean - acting as a mobile trading outpost. Toronto could build a new Island, a micro city that's a technologically, and scientifically advanced and it could sail back and forth between the US and Canadian ports as a Special Economic Zone that encourages Canadian and US Trade. Eventually, such Arcologies could even become Airborne, Aircologies; traversing longer distances and not being restricted to water passage. At this point, these flying cities will be the essential foundation of a Mobile Colony that will be useful in Space (Starcologies), or on other planets - allowing us to hover over a planet's surface like District 9.
We'll be there in no time; so if we ponder a course heading the public can encourage that benefits us all in their development - it might be an idea to start applying pressure in that direction, lest, less preferable alternatives become the accepted norm. We can inspire greater times ahead, if we seek to be - the change we seek.
Toronto Arcology Coop Project
RETURN TO BLOG MENU