- ‘The Inner Dimension of Globalisation & Potential Role of a City’: Auroville - The City the Earth Needs – an evolving global city   click here to open paper content637 kb
by    Bhati, Lalit Kishor | lalit@auroville.org.in   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Globalisation symbolysis evolution. More than what, the question is how planners’ community can contribute to the ever changing and evolving values of human society. Integration is the Key. To comprehend the nature and scale of this integration would essentially be one of the right initiatives to be able to play more useful and leading role. There are not many successful examples of such comprehensive diversity that could share the ingredients of this much-desired approach. Auroville – an International Township in South India is one such acknowledged case study. The emerging global city, based on the ideas of Human Unity, has people from 40 countries is constantly and consciously engaged in almost all forms & activities of life – experimenting and bringing out innovative solutions not only in Integrated Urban Planning for future but for life as whole.

‘All the problems of humanity are essentially the problem of harmony’ – Sri Aurobindo.

The core theme of the conference very strongly relates to the base aspect of harmony and truly an apt and very timely attempt to create a much needed awareness and further device & share the ways and means towards becoming ‘global citizens’ and discover its trickling down effects to shape up city planning.

I wish to elaborate the aspects of emerging values of conscious evolving society of which cities are reflecting mirrors. The paper deliberately highlights the ‘human’ aspects and its evolutionary crisis which will lead towards creation of a new order. The paper finally presents a concurrent, innovative and inspiring case study by sharing the vision and experience of ‘Auroville Universal Township’ in South India where I have been working not only as just a town planner for last 4 years but feel a strong part of growing universal brotherhood.

‘We can not solve the problem by the same mind which created it’. The type of cities planned, spaces created & facilities provided have always, obviously, been a reflecting mirror of the cumulative aspiration of that society in any given point in time. Today’s time in that line, as unique as ever, rightly poses the deep question of what kind of society are we envisioning which can make cities sustainable and how can it be achieved!

Changing Society & its values - It has been adequately realised and sufficiently mentioned that we, humans, being the core unit of whole society/city and playing the leading role in all the activities of the planet, have to be sustainable first from within & then only any conscious thought or activity undertaken by them would lead towards creation of a sustainable environment. At this conference, we are talking about the society of planners and related professions being more conscious in visioning the societies and cities of the future. It is a change of perception of scale as to what we consider local and global and when these two become one.

Globalisation symbolysis evolution. The real effectivity of the connection begins with the cities and citizens – realizing the ultimate goal of becoming the ‘united citizens of the united world’ & from this perspective we see and determine what and how planners’ community can contribute to this unfolding vision. It is all about developing a new mind set towards the harmonious co-existence of all. One highly relevant example for our planners’ community to inspire, in this line, is of Auroville.

Origins of Auroville – The Vision - Auroville started with a Vision. In 1954 The Mother, the founder of Auroville, had envisioned that ''there should be somewhere upon earth a place that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all human beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world, obeying one single authority, that of the supreme Truth. Auroville, established in 1968, is a Universal Township near Pondicherry, South India. Auroville’s ideals, innovative approaches & experiments in various fields of life have earned it a name synonymous to sustainable community living. It was completely barren land that has been transformed into a lush green forest within a small period of 20 years thus recharging the ground water table and creating a habitable environment for all.

The Town has a proposed population of 50,000 in a circular form (total diameter 2.5 kms) surrounded by the Green Belt covering 20 sq kms. The Green cover within the urban part is envisioned as 55% with rest of the areas to be as permeable as possible. The whole town being planned as pedestrian and cycle oriented with interlinked green corridors. The Green belt integrates 6 native villages and aims to act as an interface with its bioregion and experiment for food and other related sufficiency and site of natural resources management. Today, it has about 1700 Aurovilian residents representing over 40 nationalities from all over the world.

Auroville has UNESCO’s endorsement 4 times in the past. In 1988, the Government of India passed the Auroville Foundation Act to safeguard its desired development. Auroville has a pioneering and adventures status in innovations & wide use of appropriate building & other eco technologies including renewable energy applications. It is also termed as a living laboratory. It has a very innovative and challenging built form for planning and urban design while development is guided by human and ecological principles. The cities world over have reaslied and making visions for themselves in order to have a bond and a sense of commonness. It is interesting to note that Auroville began in 1968, with an outstanding vision of Human Unity and efforts since than have been there to realise this vision/dream. It brings enormous challange for Integrated Planning and Development which has been responded with innovative practices.

More on Auroville could be gathered from its website at www.auroville.org
Integrated Urban Planning & Development
click here to open paper content  Click to open the full paper as pdf document
click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper  Click to send an email to the author(s) of this paper