In terms of physical development, Auroville aims at becoming a model of the ‘city of the future’ or ‘the city the earth needs’. It wants to show the world that future realisations in all fields of work will allow us to build beautiful cities where people sincerely looking towards a more harmonious future will want to live.
In her 1965 sketch of Auroville, the Mother laid down the basic concept for the city. This sketch delineated all the important activity areas that would fulfill the vision of making it a universal city. For other things she gave a free hand to Roger Anger, the French architect she had appointed to oversee the city’s physical development.
One of the most remarkable concepts of Auroville is its master plan, laid out in form of a galaxy – a galaxy in which several ‘arms’ or Lines of Force seem to unwind from a central region.
- At the centre stands the Matrimandir, the “soul of Auroville”, a place for individual silent concentration.
- Radiating out beyond the Matrimandir Gardens are four Zones, each focusing on an important aspect of the township’s life:
- Industrial (north)
- Cultural (north east),
- Residential (south/south west) and
- International (west)
- Surrounding the city area is a Green Belt consisting of forested areas, farms and sanctuaries with scattered settlements for those involved in green work.
In interviews with Auroville Today in 1988 and in 1992, Roger Anger explained how this plan came into existence.
“Mother had given a couple of parameters: the division of the city into four areas, or zones, and the number of people for whom the city is envisaged (50.000). The division into those four zones (industrial, residential, international and cultural) is unique, and has no precedent in town planning. On the basis of this scheme, we, the architects and town planners, started to make suggestions to her. This was done in several stages, and finally the Galaxy came out and was presented as a model to Mother, and accepted by her as a plan that answered to her parameters. She inspired and guided the work. When I talked to Mother one day about Auroville, she said that the city already exists in a subtle level, that it is already constructed, that it is only necessary to pull it down, to make it descend on earth.”
The galaxy plan shows the four zones, which are interconnected through the ‘Crown’, the second circular road around the Matrimandir. From the Crown, twelve roads radiate outwards as part of the infrastructure. Some of them are accompanied by a succession of high-rise buildings, which constitute the so-called ‘Lines of Force’, essential for the framework of the city and for the integration of all access to the city center. But the plan is not finished. On the contrary, the city is still to be invented, everything has still to be done through the daily experience and rhythm of the Aurovilians. Apart from these lines of force, everything is flexible, nothing is fixed.”
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