Plan & Design
The township boundary, in the form of a circle of 1.55 mile (2.5 km) radius, is comprised of three concentric circles: the outer for greenbelt; inner for city; and a center. The greenbelt functions as a fertile zone for applied research in the sectors of organic food production, forestry, soil conservation, water management, waste management, alternative energy, village outreach programs and other areas essential for sustainable development.
A French architect, Roger Anger, developed the model for the future City of Auroville to serve as the container for its activities. The town plan layout seen from above looks like a spiral galaxy with four radiating sectors (the international, cultural, industrial, and residential zones) leading out to a surrounding greenbelt. These four sectors are focused on the Matrimandir, a globe-like structure that is the geographical heart and soul of the township.
Auroville has secured 91.6% of the land in the City area and 38.1% of the Greenbelt area. Overall this is only 52.6% of the total lands in the planning area. While honoring the planned vision of the future city, the reality is that village growth, speculative demand, and land prices are growing much faster than funds available for Auroville land purchases. Auroville must now think differently and act strategically seeking the preservation of lands that best protects its culture.
Land prices within the Auroville Township have increased by almost 500% over the past 10 years. The rapid escalation is not only a reality for land within the designated Auroville Township, but also for other areas in the surrounding region as there is a great migration of people moving off the land and into cities. There has been a slight pause to this appreciation due to an India demonetization program that has temporarily deferred speculators and a drought that has impacted farmers. This has created a brief opportunity that makes it all the more important that the most critical parcels be acquired now.
Given limited resources available for land purchases, there are priorities to purchases. Land is required to consolidate land boundaries, (bridge stranded property, and fill-in where needed for effective land management including road, utilities, and access control. Priorities also include watershed and farm lands outside of the Master Plan needed to secure Auroville’s future sustainability.
Planning evolves in three stages:
- Master Plan – Incorporates long-term planning policies and general structure of land use, transportation and scale of amenities (proposed by Auroville and approved by Indian government);
- Development Plan – Presents current grounded realities in detail with data, information and collaboration from the community; and
- Annual Plan (Implementation Plan) – Conceived within the framework of the Development Plan, this plan contains the details of new and ongoing projects to be implemented during the financial year.
Auroville’s town planning and development research organization, L’Avenir (Town Development Council), addresses urban design, planning, architecture, topography, mapping, GIS, model making, infrastructure, data bank, etc. Under its umbrella falls everything concerning the conceptual planning, design, architecture and execution of the physical township and its surroundings in terms of the galaxy concept and Master Plan. It encompasses environmental matters, integration of services and infrastructure, non-polluting traffic, water harvesting and conservation, cultural heritage conservation, interaction with organic farming and afforestation projects, as well as integration of villages and regional development needs.