July 24 2013 08:30 AM

Our readers tell us what they think

A recent article by Kinsee Morlan ["Art & Culture," June 12] makes multiple references to Arcosanti while failing to distinguish clearly between Arcosanti as a setting for an art film and Arcosanti as it actually is. I would therefore like to clarify a number of misleading and/or inaccurate statements:

"Arcosanti was supposed to be an example of what a smartly designed, environmentally conscious town could be."

Arcosanti still exists, quite actively, and still represents a significant alternative to suburban sprawl. The live-work integration, ecological responsiveness and responsibility and elimination of automobile dependency Soleri envisioned more than 40 years ago is perhaps more salient now than ever and far better actualized at Arcosanti than in any of our neighboring cities.

"Soleri always envisioned Arcosanti as somewhat dense— about 5,000 people on a 25-acre swath of land—with tall, vertical buildings constructed using ecologically sustainable materials and techniques."

It is a common fallacy to judge Arcosanti-as-it-is against the various visions of it. Arcosanti 5000 is perhaps the most famous model of the town, but it's only one of many. In fact, Soleri's vision for Arcosanti changed frequently. It is the density and building principles, and not the overall population, that are the common and critical features across all the models.

"‘It feels both utopian and dystopian,' says San Diego artist Victoria Fu...."

Utopia was never a goal and never a word Paolo Soleri felt applied to the project. That people come here expecting such a thing is largely an effect of persistent media misrepresentation.

"The town definitely encapsulated both sides. It was kind of sad, but hopeful—desolate, but it wasn't completely giving up."

Again, the use of the past tense suggests that Arcosanti no longer exists. We are very much here, holding workshops every five weeks and open to visitors seven days a week. Website: arcosanti.org. Twitter: @arcosanti. Facebook: Arcosanti.

"[C]aptures Arcosanti's otherworldliness by following a woman wandering through the empty town's extraordinary buildings and the surrounding desert."

Arcosanti is never empty. It is inhabited year-round by a population of 60 to 100 people, attracting tens of thousands of visitors annually and hosting numerous arts and cultural events that attract hundreds of attendees.

Kate Bemesderfer, Arcosanti, Mayer, Ariz

Not equal to slavery

I'm not sure where Michael Lueras hangs out ["Letters," June 12], but I remember Mitchy Slick's hood ["Music," May 15] from the days before the gang injunctions. As a patrol cop and gang detective, I spent years serving the people in that community.

I think it's safe to say one is much less likely to get shot now than they were then. Of course, the inability for gangsters to hang out puts a crimp on their moneymaking abilities, selling dope, stealing, vandalism, prostitution—the beat goes on. Comparing injunctions to slavery is simply a bunch of crap. Injunctions keep groups engaged in criminal behavior from associating, not regular folks from hanging out. Lueras should also remember gangsters come in all colors, not just black.

Woody DuBois, San Carlos

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