Arcology: Solution to Overpopulation?

Written by Mike Awada on . Posted in Social Media, Technology


Overpopulation and energy consumption are two of the biggest dilemmas facing mankind today. The planet’s population is growing exponentially, and at a rate unlike any other time in human history. How are we going to feed these people, where are they going to live? There’s a few projects underway that address this dire issue.

If you’ve never heard of an arcology, you’re not alone. An arcology is a futuristic, green living structure where thousands and thousands of people can live together on a plot of land under 10 square miles. Within the arcology will be everything a population of people would need to survive. The word arcology is a combination of architecture and ecology. In a typical arcology, you will find residential living quarters, commercial establishments such as shopping, and agricultural regions for growing food from within. Arcologies are being designed to minimize the human impact on the Earth.

Arcologies were originally dreamt up by architect Paolo Soleri. For a long time, they were only a thing of science fiction, but they are now making their way into the real world. What makes an arcology so amazing is that it is completely self-sustaining. People would be able to fulfill all of their needs to live without ever having to leave the structure. These projects rely heavily on solar, wind and geothermal energy, as well as renewable resources and other green forms of technology. Arcologies sound great, but have been amazingly difficult to construct over time. In the 21st century, we are making progress towards Soleri’s dream. Here’s a few examples of arcologies popping up around the globe.

Arcosanti- This is the arcology that started it all. Soleri himself has a direct hand in it’s development and implementation. It is based in the AZ desert north of Phoenix. The project has been a joint effort from a number of people that have passed through over the years. Initially started in 1970, 13 major structures have been built into it. The project has slowed, and no major developments have taken place since the late 80′s. Soleris is planning a future design know as the Arcosanti 5,000.


Masdar City- It’s seems like the United Arab Emirates are always on the cutting edge when it comes to insane architecture and technology, and arcologies are no exception. It only covers six square kilometers, but is built to house 50,000 people and over 1,000 businesses. It’s based on the principle of having zero carbon emissions and zero waste. There will be built in elevators and mass transit systems. 80% of the water used in Masdar city will be recycled, with biological and industrial waste reused to fertilize crops. Construction began in 2006, but the project is no expected to be completed for at least another decade.

masdar city

Lady Landfill Skyscraper- This is the most fascinating project as it is water-based, and will clean up the ocean, while sustaining a population. This arcology will be designed like an iceberg, with most of it’s body submergered in the water. Waste from the ocean will be collected and stored in the bottom floors. From there, it would be converted into energy, recycled, and reused. Immense amounts of waste will be stored securely and out of plain sight. Waste can be heated internally to create a gas that can be used in batteries.

lady landfill skyscraper

New Orleans Arcology Habitat- This domestic project is based in New Orleans, LA. The region is extremely suceptible to high winds and unpredictable waters and the project dubbed NOAH will be prepared to cope with anything mother nature can throw at it. Sky gardens, electric trains, and moving sidewalks will be commonplace. The goal is to be carbon neutral with river based turbines, along with solar and geothermal power. It’s a long way from completion, but the technology is feasible, and the desire is there.

New Orleans

While it may not be time to panic yet, it doesn’t hurt to try out some new things and see what the true potential for these projects is. We may learn some things by embarking on a few test runs that can be applied on a micro-level to our current lives.



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