Towards the development of a space/nature syntax at Arcosanti

Karen Munro, David Grierson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


The world’s urban population is rapidly growing, now exceeding its rural population, and is expected to reach 70% of the world’s total by 2050. Research in environmental psychology increasingly supports the Biophilia Hypothesis which holds that our connection with Nature is innate. Thus, how do we maintain a human connection to Nature in an increasingly urbanising world? The research explores the boundary between built and natural environments, specifically how proximity, initially through visual connections, to Nature affects how people use social spaces. Case study work is being undertaken at Arcosanti urban laboratory in the Arizona desert. Arcosanti construction began in 1970 to test Paolo Soleri’s Arcology Theory , which proposes, in opposition to sprawling cities, a new form of urban setting which is compact with tightly restricted horizontal growth, leaving the surrounding natural environment as undeveloped “wilderness”. Through development of a space/nature syntax methodology applied within a uniquely compact urban form, this research attempts to understand how maintaining an instinctive bond with Nature can enhance social relations and inform future design choices within built environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages13
JournalOpen House International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • social spaces
  • Biophilia
  • environmental psychology
  • space syntax
  • urbanisation
  • wilderness



Research Output

  • 2 Citations
  • 2 Article
  • 1 Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Linking space and nature syntaxes: the influence of a natural view through observed behaviour at Arcosanti, Arizona, USA

Munro, K. & Grierson, D., 11 Nov 2016, Handbook of Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development in Higher Education. Leal Filho, W., Brandli, L., Castro, P. & Newman, J. (eds.). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, Vol. 1. p. 137-158 22 p. (World Sustainability Series).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    10 Downloads (Pure)

    Unfinished business at the urban laboratory: Paolo Soleri, Arcology, and Arcosanti

    Grierson, D., 1 Dec 2016, In : Open House International. 41, 4, p. 63-72 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Student Theses


    • 4 Visiting an external organisation
    • 1 Journal or guest editorship
    • 1 Oral presentation

    Linking Space and Nature Syntaxes: the Influence of a Natural View through observed behaviour at Arcosanti, Arizona, USA

    Karen Munro (Speaker)

    15 Oct 2016

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    Open House International (Journal)

    David Grierson (Guest editor)

    15 Jun 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesJournal or guest editorship

    Cosanti Foundation, Arizona, USA

    Karen Munro (Visiting researcher)

    2 Feb 201625 Feb 2016

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external organisation

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