In 2007, Ecocity Builders spent several days with town planners and architects in Auroville, India, consulting with community members in regards to their efforts to revisit and potentially revise their experimental city’s master plan, called the “Galaxy Plan”.
Launched in the 1960s as a project dedicated to humanity evolving toward a compassionate and creative higher state of being the world, Auroville seeks to be a universal city where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.
However, like many other worthy experimental city efforts, the residents of Auroville have not been able to maintain the momentum, focus and funding needed to build out the Galaxy Plan. To date, Auroville is largely undeveloped and is represented by several very small clusters scattered throughout the forest. The Auroville citizens themselves, who we met, consider it a real problem that they have to drive long distances on motorcycles, cars, or less generally bicycles due to the long distances involved given the scattered pattern that has resulted.
Ecocity Builders suggested creating a small number of centers and modifying the “Galaxy Plan” in some ways that would preserve much of its intent while serving a much more livable and easily accessed community with far less demand on energy for transport. We pointed out that galaxies have concentrated clusters of stars that go by the not-too-poetic name of “globular clusters” and their galaxy could gain by creating a couple, by finding and reinforcing a location and turning it into a real town center. Using the same approach with one or a small number of more functional neighborhood centers than those rudimentary ones that currently exist could be developed.
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