Richard Register Discusses “Ecocities”

Richard Register recently appeared on The Stark Truth podcast to discuss the concept of ecocities with Robert Stark. I did not appear on this episode, but Robert asked me if I had ever been to Arcosanti, since I’m from Arizona. The answer is no. I’ve never been there. It’s kind of far and an out of the way drive to get to Arcosanti from where I live. I believe my mother has been to the place once about 10 years ago when she was in town, but it was purely due to a recommendation from someone. I don’t believe she has any interest in this sort of thing.

Interview is available here

Richard Register is a theorist in ecology and urban design, the author of several books on the topic of ecologically sustainable cities, and founder and President of Ecocity World.

Topics Include:

Richard’s concept of an Ecocity
Paolo Soleri’s concept of an Arcology and his project Arcosanti in Arizona

The Ecosa Institute which is doing what Soleri intended on a smaller scale

Ancient examples of the Arcology go back to Ur in Mesopotamia and Çatalhöyük in Turkey

The city as a complex living organism

Horizontal vs. three dimensional cities

Implementing an ecocity on a large scale as an Ecotropolis

Why density is more ecologically sustainable

Ecocity Zoning

The goal of creating a car free city

The use of bridges between structures

John C. Portman’s Embarcadero Center in San Francisco which has aspects of an Arcology

Exterior glass elevators

Richard’s book Ecocity Berkeley and NIMBY imposed barriers to change in Berkeley

Opening up the creek systems in urban areas

Creating Ecocity village cores in the suburbs and how to retrofit aesthetically pleasing suburbs (ex. Santa Barbara, Marin County, and wealthy East Bay suburbs)

Reducing the foot print of cities and suburbs and opening up new land to agriculture and wilderness

Richard’s illustrations and the importance of aesthetics in urbanism

New Urbanism as a step in the right direction but too rigid in height and density

Richard’s trip to the Galapagos Islands and observations of how architecture coexists with nature

Ecocities in China

Robert’s observation that Las Vegas despite being an ecological catastrophe has many aspects of the Arcology

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