Michael E. Arth

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Michael Edward Arth[1]
.Michael E Arth 2020 presidential campaign-1.jpg
Michael E. Arth in 2019
Born (1953-04-27) 27 April 1953 (age 66)
Burtonwood US Army Air Force base, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Known forArt, film, photography, architecture, landscape design, urban design, political science, community organizing, futurism
Partner(s)Shasta Solis (since 2017)
Awards"Michael E. Arth Day" (both City of DeLand, and Volusia County, FL, 2012)
WebsiteOfficial website

Michael Edward Arth is an American artist, builder, architectural and urban designer, and political scientist.[2][3]

In 2018, Arth became a declared Democratic candidate in the 2020 United States presidential election.[4] On his campaign website, Arth states that he is a "reality-based" candidate who wants a social democratic system "that works for everyone." His issues include Universal Basic Income, Medicare for All, universal post-secondary education or retraining, and ending the War on Drugs (beginning with legalization of cannabis and any non-addictive entheogen). He proposes to end the two-party system, and the associated polarization, through a series of democratic reforms that includes Instant Runoff Voting for single member elections, Proportional Representation for Congress, campaign finance reform, staggered, 18-year term limits for the Supreme Court of the United States, and nullifying the Electoral College through a Constitutional Amendment, or with the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.[5][6]

Arth previously ran for Governor of Florida in the 2010 election.

Early life[edit]

According to his web site, Arth was born on a United States Air Force base in England, where his father was serving as a noncommissioned officer, and both his parents were U.S. citizens.[7]


Michael E. Arth has worked with a wide range of media; from rock concert posters in the early 1970s, to original prints like etchings, serigraphs, and lithographs, to paintings, and photography. A large format book of his work, Michael E. Arth: Introspective 1972-1982, was published in 1983.[8] He shifted focus in 1986 to home and urban design.


In 2007, in collaboration with filmmaker Blake Wiers, he produced his first feature-length documentary. This was followed by two other feature documentaries in 2012. Gov'nor: A Man on a Bicycle, With no Money, Takes on the Fat Cats, Special Interests (and His Wife) to Run for Governor of Florida is about his run for governor.[9][10]

Out of the Woods: Life and Death in Dirty Dave's Homeless Camp follows the life and death struggles of homeless people living in a camp in the woods for four years. Arth directed, shot and edited Out of the Woods by himself.[9][11]

At least two more films are forthcoming, Midwives, and The Labors of Hercules: Modern Solutions to 12 Herculean Problems. Midwives follow Arth's two midwife sisters, one of whom was apprenticing under the other. The Labors of Hercules will compare the mythological labors of Hercules to 12 modern problems and offers solutions.[9]

Building and urban design[edit]

Arth designed, built, and landscaped a small number of private residences in Southern California from 1986 to 2000, most notably "Casa de Lila," a seven-story Spanish style villa integrated into a mountain ridge in the Hollywood Hills.[12][13][14]

In 1999, Arth founded a more pedestrian and ecology-oriented version of New urbanism called New pedestrianism.[15] His new approach calls for very compact new towns and neighborhoods where tree-shaded, pedestrian and bike lanes are in front of all residences and businesses, with tree-lined automobile streets at the rear. While the pedestrian lane idea is not entirely original (examples of rear loading garages with front sidewalks that replace streets were built in Venice, California, as early as 1910), his fervent emphasis on this as a panacea makes his work distinctive.

Arth asserts that living in what he calls a pedestrian village, coupled with a compact, mixed-use neighborhood or village center, will ameliorate a wide range of problems related to urban living. Having such a development built near a downtown area or newly created village center reduces the amount of travel time that would normally be spent in an automobile, thus increasing the physical activity of the homeowner and saving energy. In more densely built new towns or developments, he claims that this new form of housing would greatly reduce the dependency on the automobile and the resulting village-like towns would vastly increase both aesthetics and quality of life. He also promotes the creation of similar pedestrian amenities that can be retrofitted to existing towns. Arth's design and development company, Pedestrian Villages Inc., develops projects that follow the principles of New pedestrianism.[16]

The Garden District[edit]

In 2000, while working on a book and documentary, The Labors of Hercules: Modern Solutions to 12 Herculean Problems,[17] Arth found a small slum in DeLand, Florida, where he could try out some of his ideas. Subsequently, he purchased 32 dilapidated homes and businesses, which he restored over a seven-year period. Running out the drug dealers and rebuilding the downtown neighborhood won him the support of the community and a number of awards. He changed the name of "Crack Town" to Downtown DeLand's Historic Garden District. Arth enhanced the existing infrastructure by planting trees and by building pedestrian lanes, gardens, courtyards, and bike facilities in the district.[18]

Solution to homelessness[edit]

In 2007 Arth proposed a national solution for homelessness that would involve building nearly car-free Pedestrian Villages in place of what he terms "the current band-aid approach to the problem."[19] A prototype, Tiger Bay Village, was proposed for near Daytona Beach, and the ground was broken on a scaled down version of his plan in 2017. He claims that a holistic, transformational campus of services would be superior for treating the psychological as well as psychiatric needs of homeless adults, and would cost less than the current approach. It would also provide a lower cost alternative to jail, and provide a half-way station for those getting out of prison. It could also provide a community for those in drug treatment and the non-violent mentally ill who are either incarcerated or living on the street. Work opportunities, including construction and maintenance of the villages, as well as the creation of work force agencies would help make the villages financially and socially viable.[20][permanent dead link][21][22] An extensive website explains the village concept in detail.[23][24][permanent dead link]

New Urban Cowboy[edit]

New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism, a feature-length documentary, was released in April 2008. The film chronicles Arth's rehabilitation of DeLand's Garden District and explains the philosophy behind New Pedestrianism.[25][26][27]

Democracy and the Common Wealth[edit]

Democracy and the Common Wealth: Breaking the Stranglehold of the Special Interests is a wide-ranging, 480 page book published in 2010 that exposes what Arth calls the “dirty secrets” of America's electoral system. Arth proposes solutions to fix the electoral system, and then gives a long list of solutions to failed policies that could result from having a truly representative democracy led by effective, trustworthy leaders, who would be elected by a majority, and who would not have to spend their time raising campaign funds, or catering to paid lobbyists.

It also tells the story of the first year of Florida's 2010 gubernatorial race. In the main text, and in the postscript, Arth writes about how he became an independent candidate for governor after being “frozen out” of the "undemocratic" Florida Democratic Party for not having millions of dollars, and for suggesting that campaigns be about issues instead of money.[28]

The first sixteen chapters are about how to break up the oligarchy and make "a more perfect union" that creates what Abraham Lincoln called a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." To do this would require trading the winner-takes-all voting system for ranked choice voting in single member elections, and replacing single-member congressional districts for multi-member congressional districts, which would use proportional representation and a form of ranked choice voting called single transferable voting. It would also require doing away with private campaign financing, paid lobbyists, and most campaign advertising; and replacing influence-buying and propaganda with highly regulated public campaign financing that would cost a tiny fraction of what is spent now. "Pre-voting," by the electorate, with publicly financed micro-payments during the campaign, would determine both placement and ranking on the ballot in order to simplify the process and get voters more involved in thinking about the issues.

Futurist and environmentalist[edit]

Self-driving vehicles[edit]

He writes that the use of shared, electric, driverless cars, combined with the increased use of virtual reality for work, travel, and pleasure, could reduce the world's 1.5 billion cars to half a billion within a few decades. Arth believes it should be the aim of public policy for various environmental, safety, and economic reasons.[29]

Zero population growth[edit]

Arth sees most of mankind's problems as being severely impacted by the 220,000 people being added to the planet every day. In 2015 the United Nations projected that, in this century, Africa would quadruple in population and that Asia would add another billion, while the developed countries would maintain zero or negative population growth.[30] He proposes a "marketable birth-license plan" or birth credits that would protect both individual choice and the rights held in common to both allow people to have as many children as they want while still establishing sustainable population levels in all countries.[31]

Florida Governor campaign[edit]

Arth with supporters at a campaign event in 2009.

Arth began running for Florida Governor as a Democrat in June 2009. On the first day of the 2009 Democratic Conference, held in October 2009, Arth was prohibited from having an exhibit table.[32][33][34] As a result of being frozen out of the Democratic Party, and believing that reform would have to come from outside the two-party system, Arth switched to independent status.[35][36]

Campaign message[edit]

His campaign emphasized the importance of radical transparency and better representation through voting rights reform. He disdained the private campaign financing system which he says elects fundraisers in the place of good leaders and marginalizes the issues. He wanted to do away with the winner-take-all voting scheme and replace it with Instant Runoff Voting and Proportional Representation. He called the War on Drugs "a war on the poor," and pointed out that Florida's incarceration is 8 times higher than Canada's. He said that Florida prisons are growing faster than any other state because of de-institutionalization of the mentally disabled, drug prohibition, and minimum sentencing laws.[37]

"Biking Mike"[edit]

In late November 2009, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Arth would be taking his grassroots campaign on the road, and touring the state by bicycle beginning in Spring 2010. This was a nod to former Florida governor, Lawton Chiles, who walked the state of Florida in 1970 in successful pursuit of a U.S. Senate Seat. Regarding this trip, from Key West to Pensacola, he said, "There are always creative ways to get around the power elite, for justice and democracy to persist."[38]


Republican candidate Rick Scott won the gubernatorial election in a close election. As a result of switching from Democrat to Independent, Arth only received 18,644 votes, approximately 0.35% of the total cast in the general election.[39][40]


  • Introspective: 1972-1982 (1983) Linnaea Graphics, ISBN 0912467002
  • Democracy and the Common Wealth: Breaking the Stranglehold of the Special Interests (2010) Golden Apples Media Inc., ISBN 0912467126

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Michael E. Arth BIO". Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Arth, Michael E., Democracy and the Common Wealth: Breaking the Stranglehold of the Special Interests, Golden Apples Media, 2010, ISBN 978-0-912467-12-2.
  3. ^ Arth, Michael. "FEC Form 1". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  4. ^ Arth, Michael. "FEC Form 1". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  5. ^ http://www.michaelearth.org
  6. ^ http://www.michaelearth.com
  7. ^ Arth, Michael E. "Where I'm Coming From" (PDF). Michael E. Arth for President. p. 3. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  8. ^ Michael E. Arth (1983). Michael E. Arth Introspective 1972-1982. Linnea Graphics. ISBN 0-912467-00-2.
  9. ^ a b c Light, Patti, Michael E. Arth: Local Filmmaker Brings Global Perspective, Floridian View, February 2013, pp. 32-35.
  10. ^ Documentary feature film of "Gov'nor: A Man on a Bicycle, With no Money, Takes on the Fat Cats, Dirty Politics (and His Wife) to Run for Governor of Florida" on YouTube
  11. ^ Out of the Woods: Life and Death in Dirty Dave's Homeless Camp on YouTube
  12. ^ Matt Sorum interview, "At home with Matt Sorum of Guns n' Roses," Metal Hammer Magazine, July 1996 pp. 24-28
  13. ^ Laura Meyers "Reality Check: Rocky Roads," Los Angeles Magazine, August 1998 pp. 36-37
  14. ^ Barbara Thornburg, "Collectibles kick off a mix 'n' match decor," Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2008.
  15. ^ J.H. Crawford. CarFree Cities. International Books, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2000. ISBN 90-5727-037-4.
  16. ^ Pedestrian Villages
  17. ^ "Labors of Hercules". 2009-02-21. Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  18. ^ Carolanne Griffith Roberts, "Saving a Neighborhood", Southern Living Magazine, April 2004, Florida Living pp. 22-25.
  19. ^ Michael E. Arth, "A National Solution to Homelessness That Begins Here," Orlando Sentinel, January 20, 2007
  20. ^ Tom Leonard, "Daytona may give vagrants their own resort." Telegraph.co.uk, January 24, 2007 link to article
  21. ^ Etan Horowitz, "Developer defends homeless-village concept," Orlando Sentinel, January 27, 2007
  22. ^ Rebbecca Mahoney, "Homeless village or leper colony?" Orlando Sentinel, January 20, 2007
  23. ^ Villages for the Homeless website
  24. ^ link to BBC World Update, BBC World Service interview with Michael E. Arth on programme about homelessness, December 23, 2010
  25. ^ Arth, Michael E. "Golden Apples Media". Archived from the original on December 2, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  26. ^ New Urban Cowboy trailer at YouTube.com
  27. ^ New Urban Cowboy high resolution trailer at blip.tv[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ Arth, Michael E. (2010). Democracy and the Common Wealth: Breaking the Stranglehold of the Special Interests. Golden Apples Media, ISBN 978-0-912467-12-2.
  29. ^ Alex Birch, "Most Cars Can Be Eliminated in 20 Years, Says Urban Designer Michael E. Arth" Corrupt.org 5/23/08
  30. ^ [1] Arth, Michael Time to Panic: UN says Africa's Population to Quadruple, June 18, 2015
  31. ^ [2] Joseph Cox, Will Charging People Money to Have Kids Save the World From Overpopulation, VICE United Kingdom, 24 June 2013
  32. ^ "Rob Field, "Because We Can" Rants of Bob". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
  33. ^ Michael E. Arth "The Tide Has Turned," October 13, 2009
  34. ^ Scottie Campbell, "Eight It Up: Eight Questions with someone interesting." [3]
  35. ^ name="news-journalonline.com">Catron, Derek, "DeLand Man Enters Race for Governor," Daytona Beach News-Journal, June 15, 2010 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2010-07-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ Documentary feature film of "Gov'nor: A Man on a Bicycle, With no Money, Takes on the Fat Cats, Dirty Politics (and His Wife) to Run for Governor of Florida" on YouTube
  37. ^ Michael E. Arth's campaign site
  38. ^ Ludmilla Lelis "Michael E. Arth: Dark Horse Candidate for Governor Has Eye on Reform," Orlando Sentinel. 11-24-09.
  39. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/03/AR2010110300781.html
  40. ^ Documentary feature film of "Gov'nor: A Man on a Bicycle, With no Money, Takes on the Fat Cats, Dirty Politics (and His Wife) to Run for Governor of Florida" on YouTube

External links[edit]