Auroville near Pondicherri in southern India is ‘a universal township in the making for a population of up t0 50,000 people’. Currently, the population is about 1,700 people. Established in 1968 with a spirally radial zoning plan with a spiritual hub, surrounded by a green belt, Auroville is ‘an experiment in human unity’, for instance by providing ‘as much as possible free of charge to its residents’, such as food, health care, education, entertainment.

If I remember correctly, EPCOT, Walt Disney’s ‘experimental prototype community of tomorrow’, would have had a maximum population of 50,000, then spawning another EPCOT instead of growing. It would have a radial plan, heavily zoned, with residental areas separated from commercial and industrial areas.

Auroville was featured on Swedish TV program Kobra the other week.1 I was surprised that it is so heavily zoned, à la Le Corbusier, Ebenezer Howard. As I understand it, the master plan, metaphorically based on the galaxy, was the idea of ‘The Mother’, who originally conceived the idea of Auroville, but the planners behind the township seem convinced that zoning is the Answer. But on the program I watched, there seemed to be some disagreement as to whether let the town evolve organically or to proceed in the controlled manner.

Except for an experiment in human unity and urban planning, it also seems to be an experiment in architecture.

1 The episode can be found in their archives.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on October 27, 2005. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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