The utopian village of Arcosanti (928/632-7135, www.arcosanti.org , 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily) was designed and built by Italian architect Paolo Soleri as the embodiment of his principles of “arcology”—a mixture of architecture and ecology. Soleri’s goal is to create a “lean alternative” to the wastefulness of modern cities by making them more compact and self-sustaining.
His real-world experiment began in 1970, more than two decades after Soleri first came to the Southwest to study with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West . Today, Arcosanti  is perched in rural splendor on a bluff in Arizona’s high desert and is home to just a few hundred people at any one time.
From a distance, it looks like an unlikely combination of Italian hill town and sci-fi movie. But up close, the small, hand-crafted details of its buildings and the community’s perfectly human scale make it a delight to visit, not to mention a pioneering example of urban sustainability. Guided tours are $10.
From Phoenix , drive north some 60 miles on I-17. Take Exit 262 for AZ-69 toward Prescott and turn right on Cordes Lakes Road. From there, signs for Arcosanti should direct you left on Stagecoach Trail, which is unpaved after a brief asphalt stretch, then onto Cross I Trail.
From Sedona , head south on AZ-279 to I-17. Take it 36 miles south to Exit 262, then follow the directions above.