Arcologies are often intended to house self-sufficient communities containing residential, industrial, agricultural, and commercial structures all in one struture, providing all conceptually desirable services to its inhabitants to include public transport, sanitation, medical, vocational, educational, and all other conceptual needs. Arcologies do not have a predefined form, but the poster child for them is "Cityscraper" or Megascraper. Most Arcologies are not the impressive Megascraper but more of the "City Block", utilitarian buildings of approximately 250m in height. Arcologies are often the intent of Megascrapers, Floating Cities, Underground Cities, Undersea Cities, Colony Domes, Grav Cities, Hostile Environment Cities, and Deep Space Habitats.
To house everything needed to be self-sufficient, many private features of less crowded societies must become shared and/or public. Leisure and recreation spaces become parks, public pools, public gyms, etc. Being contained in a single structure, transportation becomes more walking, glideways, elevators, and mass transit. In such close quarters, happiness is key to maintaining the entire system, political, social, and economic systems must work together to provide for the needs of the citizens. Communication through all levels must be maintained, requiring a responsive government. Social stratification minimized, equitable access vocational, medical, educational, recreational facilities. This does not mean equal, the upper echelons can still have preferred seating or days at events, but all would have access. Many political systems can work for this, but most would get a descriptor of "benevolent" (see Oath of Fealty for an Arcology with a Feudal Technocracy).
The term was invented by Terran architect Paolo Soleri as a portmanteau of architecture and ecology. Paolo Soleri intended the term to mean a self contained human ecology. This was to include living, working, recreation, food production, and waste recycle for the entire human population, minimizing the effects on the outside ecology. To accomplish this human and society needs must be taken into account. Thus political, social, and economic systems must work together to minimize the stresses caused by the close quarters and support productivity to keep the ecology sustained.
Arcologies are generally advocated as solutions to the problems of overpopulation and environmental degradation, as they reduce the ecological footprint of cities. Most cities spread across the Planet's surface horizontally — covering more and more land and reducing arable farmland. Arcologies, on the other hand, are more three-dimensional, extending into a vertical element and thus leaving more of a planet's surface in pristine, original condition.
Failure of the Political, Social, and/or Economic Systems can send an Arcology into a dystopian nightmare. Symptoms include overpopulation/crowding, excessive social stratification, lack of access to necessities, lack of political access for example.
Many known Arcologies and near Acrcologies in the known universe.
- ArcologySelf contained Sophont Ecology
- Underground Cities (TL-4+)
- Domed Cities (TL-7+) (Sealed City)
- Hyperstructures (TL-9+)
- Megacity (TL-10+)
- Habitation Dome or Dome/hab (TL-10+) (Protected Environment)
- The Hab Domes of Namidshur (world) (TL-10+)
- Megascrapers (TL-10+)
- Megaships (Seagoing Cities) (TL-10+)
- Under-ice Cities (TL-10+)
- The Ice Cities of Geka (TL-13+)
- Undersea Cities (TL-10+)
- The Colony Domes of Sarrad/Drexilthar (Reaver's Deep 2129) (TL-10+)
- The Domed Arcologies of Maelstrom (De 2522) (TL-10+)
- Karrigashu Undersea Habitat of Shudusham (Core 2214) (TL-10+)
- The Sea-bottom Complexes of Bellerophon (TL-10+)
- The Shoal Ocean Metroplexes of Vincennes (De 1122) (world) (TL-10+)
- The Undersea City of Zlodh on Darrian (world) (TL-10+)
- Floating Cities (TL-13+)
Expected Arcology Development Sequence
- Ziggurat → Pyramid → Skyscraper → Underground City → Arcology → Undersea Habitat → Colony Dome → Megacity → Grav City → Deep Space Habitat → Hostile Environment City → Portal City
- Caravanserai → Airport → Rocketport → Spaceport → Planetary Transit System → Highport → Beanstalk → Hyperloop → Gravity Train → Portal Network
Technological Overview of Computers
Epochal Technological Development: Architecture is the art of providing structures that modify the environment, provide shelter against the elements, and mitigate the dangers of the environment in its most basic form. Structures eventually grow into megastructures and arcologies are a development of this sequence of technological development.
Information Age Societies (Calculative Computers)
|Technological Period: TL:1-9 and Tech-Name: Ur-Tech|
|Common Characteristics: Digital Networks, High scarcity, Prototype Nanotech, Calculative ("Calculating Machines"), Automatons, Low Autonomous Robots, etc.|
|Tool Making Epoch||TL:1-3||STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: Ur-tech megastructures include pyramids, ziggurats, and an array of early stone-based structures of immense size for their epoch. Other materials have been used, but stone is the most common. Many later societies erect giant libraries, light houses, mausoleums, statues, and even massive cathedrals.|
|Division of Labor Epoch||TL:4-6||STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: The first cities grow into even larger into metroplexes. Some of these metroplexes become known as mega-cities. A few span entire seaboards or even continents. Using better materials and engineering practices, buildings tend to grow in height and size. Refined and hardened metals are often used for the internal structures of these immense buildings. The first skyscrapers are born. TL:4-6 megastructures often include vast hydroelectric dams, long bridges, giant statues dedicated to philosophical triumphs, and a variety of other, very large and impressive structures.|
|Processor Epoch||TL:7-9||STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: Metropolises continue to grow in size, sometimes covering entire seaboards greatly proliferating. Giant skyscraper jungles dominate many urban environments, and some of the more advanced societies develop the first prototype arcologies. Megacities go from being isolated examples to becoming commonplace. Cities can be built in tougher environments such as jungles, permafrost plains, underwater, and rougher terrain.|
Bright Age Societies (Bright Computers)
|Technological Period: TL:10-18 and Tech-Name: Stell-Tech|
|Common Characteristics: Intelligent Networks, Low Scarcity, Weak nanotech, Synaptic processors, Positronic Brains, Cognitive ("Thinking Machines"), High Autonomous Robots, etc.|
|Gravitics Epoch||TL:10-12||STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: The Arcology reaches its stride and allows denser and denser concentrations of population to be achieved, freeing up more of a planet’s surface for agriculture and the preservation of pristine native environments. Metropolises or Metroplexes often include sophisticated processor nets, called City Minds, capable of coordinating traffic, production, and resources to greater and greater efficiencies. Underwater domes and floating cities become economical, opening up colonization of worlds previously thought undesirable. The first large scale orbital habitats become viable and more and more of the population expands throughout the star system.|
|Biologicals Epoch||TL:13-15||STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: Arcologies are extremely commonplace on high-population worlds and domed cities are becoming quite common in underwater and hostile environments. Integrated world processor nets and worldnets are part of the background expectations for worlds at this stage of development. Processor nets known as City Minds run recycling nets, maintain environmental systems, traffic grids, and nearly every other urban function as part of a comprehensive and cooperative city system.|
|Artificials Epoch||TL:16-18||STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: Larger and larger spacebourne habitats become possible. Larger planets can harbor densely packed populations in the trillions and even quadrillions. Arcologies are becoming even more sophisticated and increasingly diverse sophont populations are learning to cohabitate. Artificial persons soon form a new kind of under society.|
Brilliant Age Societies (Brilliant Computers)
|Technological Period: TL:19-27 and Tech-Name: Ultra-Tech|
|Common Characteristics: Delegative Rule (AI), Post-Scarcity, Strong nanotech, Emotive ("Dreaming or Feeling Machines"), Self-Aware Robots, etc.|
|Matter Transport Epoch, Transformations Epoch, and Psionics Epoch||TL:19-21, TL:22-24, and TL:25-27||STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: Larger and far more sophisticated space environment residences are projected to become possible including the "Capsule Environment" (Dyson Spheres) and the ability to create Ringworlds. Access to pocket universes may become possible.|
|Technological Period: TL:28-30 & TL:31-33 and Tech-Name: Dei-Tech & Omni-Tech|
|Common Characteristics: Mass Minds, Delegative Rule (AI), Zero-Scarcity, Very Strong nanotech, Omni-Heuristic ("Deific Machines"), etc.|
& Ascendant Epoch
|TL:28-30 & TL:31-33||STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: All variety of Sphereworlds may become possible including the truly complex and demanding rigid Dyson Spheres. Some sophont societies are projected to develop [Tesseract]]s and Portals allowing for residences that span worlds, star systems, galaxies, and even dimensions. The Criswell Structure, a residence of unimaginable density, and the Topopolis, a galaxy-spanning urban residence, become achievable realities. Pocket Universes are mastered including the creation and destruction of such technological miracles. Shkadov Thrusters allow stars to be moved and rearranged.|