Archive for April, 2013

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 8.10.31 PMPALOLO SOLERI (June 21, 1919 – April 9, 2013).  Now, with only his legacy and futuristic forms in our memory, Paolo Soleri’s contributions will be live on internationally.  His concepts will be  moved forward by new generations of Architects and Planners.   His work is an important force in the shape of future human settlements.  He was known for bold ecological forms and a revolutionary design concept he called Arcology His legacy will be impacting as futuristic minded planners seek the right answers to what sustainable urban habitat is.  27 years ago I attended one of several weekend  seminars at Arcosanti  to further understand arcology.  An account of one of Soleri’s seminars was published in Solar Earth Builder Magazine:  Arcosanti Solar Greenhouse, A Hope for The Future.  

A polar opposite of modern building and planning stereotypes, Arcosanti was known as “philosophy in action”.   It soared beyond a pure philosophical proposalArcosanti and Soleri’s nearby residence compound at Cosanti gave architectural substance to his ideas.  Soleri perfected the notion of sustainability before it was a household buzzword.  He is the Frank Lloyd Wright of sustainable urban form.  His work will guide future studies of habitat in a challenging era of global warming and critical urban design problems.

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Main GateLast May 2012, the Main Gate Urban Overlay District (UOD) saw its first major building permit, a 35 million dollar high-rise student housing project. That set the path for the Main Gate overlay district and painted a disappointing picture of what a UOD looks like to neighborhood sustainability.  Overlays aren’t new.  Tucson has been using zoning overlays as planning tools for decades.  An original overlay, the Historic Preservation Zone is well liked.  The newest one, the Main Gate Urban Overlay District became an icon to mistrust in public process.  City planners passed a UOD fast track enabling ordinance in 2010.  Its reasons were mixed.  Infill conditions for a 63 million dollar federal streetcar grant was one.  Other reasons are downtown infill, a needed warehouse district, a desire to add density along arterial edges and the fallout of the deepest real estate recession since 1929.  Click here to view the rest of the article.

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