On January 24, during a meeting with the Yavapai County Development services director and associated staff, the planning department was encouraged to reapply for construction permits on several projects that began their initial phases over a decade ago. This meeting was spearheaded by Kevin Papa, the Cosanti Foundation Director of Site Management, and Scott Riley in his new role as Vice President of Planning and Development.

Years ago, YCDS prevented any additional construction prior to the completion of road improvements. This effectively put a stop to any new construction projects as the cost of road improvements was economically not feasible.

With confirmation from the director of development services that the Cosanti Foundation can indeed apply for permits for projects like the 3rd floor of East Crescent Phase 5, ground floor conversions of EC5 into temporary dormitory housing, construction yard storage buildings, and even major improvements in the amphitheater, we are all very busy and eager for construction progress in the year ahead.

This not only serves as a huge stride forward in master plan completion but also a boost to the morale of employees and an optimistic outreach to the public. Conceptual planning has already begun on logistics for programming, funding, the feasibility of design with ADA accessibility at the forefront of our attention.


  • I welcome this transparency as to what has been going on at Arcosanti. I tried several times over the last decades to find an answer to the question: What is going on at Arcosanti and why did the project not keep advancing along the schedule that we were preparing for back in 1974 when I attended a workshop?

    Now I know at least part of the story, and wonder how none of the information in the newsletters I read between February 2016 and April 2018, gave me any insight into the most basic information, such as having been denied building permits, encroaching supervision from the outside, and problems with capital needed for maintaining infrastructure and roads needed to advance the original plan.

    I assumed internal politics or outside interference had turned the only viable solution I had discovered for the future of humanity into an art and performance type enclave/tourist destination. I understood that this might have been an inherant weakness in the original Cosanti/Soleri DNA. I always knew that any project commited to the ideas of just one man would not be able to sustain and evolve those plans and designs. That is the work of hundreds of minds at the very least. I assume there are many who realized this was a team approach that would be the first requirement for success. An yes, even in 1974 I sensed there was an organizational structre present that could discourage this. Where were the organizers interviewing every workshop participant to note interest, skills, and possible recruitment over the decades?

    Later, I wondered how there was no coherent effort to harness the accumulated wealth of the aging boomer population that filled those workshops. Then I concluded there was no desire to move forward and that the project had evolved into a small community that was satisfied with their own self contained culture.

    I was not looking for a few dozen, but for a small city or large town project. I had been looking to develop an art culture as powerful as Florence, Venice, or Bruges. A musical culture as powerful as Vienna in the early 1800s. As federal agencies shed their most experienced and imaginative members with encroaching corporate fascism in the last two decades of the twentieth century, this could have been a magnet for that treasure. Perhaps it needed to restart the effort elsewhere with lessons learned? The same project but with intentional attraction for entrepreneurs, organic agriculture, academia, inventors, journalists, and a small college to attract new personalities. Would there not be great museums, scientific research labs, libraries, art schools, social justice institutions, and more at Arcosanti?

    So, we are now well into the era we were preparing for. I write assuming there were hundreds of others like me and that they may still be looking to connect and move forward with the skills and resources we have deloped individually. If you share that determination you may contact me at jimfellows210@yahoo.com with the subject heading “Arcosanti”.

    Jim Fellows

  • Hello Jim,

    We welcome your comments and appreciate the sentiments you have expressed here in favor of more transparency and deeper engagement with both our alumni network and the world at large.

    Progress at Arcosanti has sometimes been measured in leaps, other times measured in nudges, but I want to assure you on behalf of the leadership of and community that currently fills out the ranks of the Cosanti Foundation that we are still committed to the vision of a radically reenvisioned urban environment.


    Timothy Bell
    Cosanti Foundation Director of Community Engagement

  • I’d like to echo the comments of Jim Fellows above. As a ’73 and ’75 alum, I’ve often wondered (and fretted over) the lack of progress at the site and the emphasis on building an expensive road. I’m happy to know that the county is now being more flexible and supportive of the project.

    I also share Mr. Fellow’s concern about the lack of transparency in the past and hope that in the future the Foundation will be more open with the people around the world who support it’s mission.

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