? SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCE ENGINEERING

Five students and two professors from Drexel University visited Arcosanti to prepare research materials for a class to be taught at Drexel this fall, entitled “Sustainable Water Resource Engineering”. The class, comprised of over 20 graduate and undergraduate students, will use Arcosanti as a case study and prepare design alternatives for “Critical Mass Arcosanti’, a population of approximately 500 people. Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, formed a new interdepartmental program, Drexel Engineering Cities Initiative (DECI) (http://www.drexel.edu/cities/), with a focus on “the engineering of cities, policy development, and the creation of environmentally sustainable urban habitats that function for people and society.”
[Photo from left clockwise] Dr. Franco Montalto, Nicholas Kuzmyak, Chad Carreras, Dr. Eugenia Ellis, Kimberly DiGiovanni, Mengling Shen, and Alisha Goldstein.


? The students studied many aspects of our water system, and attended presentations from Foundation staff. Cliff Hersted presented materials on water rights and the Agua Fria Watershed, Tomiaki Tamura discussed the Lean Alternative, Kim Young Soo presented the 3D site plan and renderings, and Scott Riley provided information on wells, the water distribution system, and Arcosanti water use. Several Arcosanti residents and workshoppers attended three evenings of activities: two lectures provided by Drexel professors Franco Montalto and Eugenia Ellis, and a Town Hall on Water Use. The Cosanti Foundation and Arcosanti residents will continue to work with Drexel staff and students throughout the 11-week class. Anyone interested in further information is welcome to contact Scott Riley at scottriley@usa.net.

Dr. Franco Montalto:
Five students enrolled in this term’s Sustainable Water Resource Engineering class travelled this September for a one week field visit to Arcosanti, an experimental city located in the desert, one hour north of Phoenix, Arizona. The city, with population of just under 100, was designed by Architect Paolo Soleri in the 1970’s to test out his theory of Arcology – an integration of ecology into architecture. Soleri’s goal was that the city expand to house 5000 people, yet achieving that goal has proven to be a challenge. One of the major constraints has been water availability which, in the US Southwest, is constrained by precipitation variability, climate change, population growth, and a legacy of water rights regulations, not all of which have been fully adjudicated. Students in this fall’s Sustainable Water Resource Engineering class will explore these issues and propose design strategies for Arcosanti at population 500 (known by Paolo Soleri as Critical Mass). The course, co-taught by Dr. Franco Montalto and Dr. Eugenia Ellis, will feature readings and discussions addressing various components of the contemporary global water crisis (water wars, water privatization, climate adaptation, urban water challenges, etc.) The design project will become the forum for students to articulate a practical response to the question: “How can engineers integrate lessons from around the world into their everyday work, and to the technical solutions they propose?”

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