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DOI

https://doi.org/10.7275/kjbe-yz91

Publication Date

2019

Abstract

The South-Indian city of Auroville was founded in 1968 with the ambitious plan to become an utopist city for 50,000 habitants. The once heavily eroded land was transformed to a lush green area thanks to the past decades of landscape restoration work. The city aims to create a new type of human habitat where the residents live in harmony and close relation with nature. As part of its master plan a 2.5 km wide Green Belt is envisioned around the city zone that would contain organic farms and restored forest that provides timber and refilled underground water resources. The Green Belt is not only home to various projects of education and nature conservation but also an ecological system that already proved to locally reduce the severe effects of climate change.

The original master plan was designed by Roger Anger a French architect. While most of the development within Auroville is based on this original plan visiting researchers and experts warn that present social and spatial reality shows a very different scene. The nationally and internationally praised city faces serious threats. The growing real estate business, hotel developments, encroachment of lands and a planned highway in the Green Belt of Auroville are endangering the restored ecosystem.

Presently there are less than 3,000 Aurovilians, people of 50 countries, who are committed to live in Auroville and work for "the city the earth needs". In the same time due to the above mentioned dynamics already more than 25,000 people live within the planned area of Auroville, (over)using its ecological services.

The paper will describe the past and present development of Auroville with focus on the Green Belt. Based on the writers' personal experience and knowledge, collected during her years of living and working in Auroville, it will also attempt to describe the future scenarios. The role and significance of the Green Belt will be addressed through assessing its performance on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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