Master Plan Home APPENDIX Back to Auroville C.U.R.




2.5.1    Keeping in view the basic ideals of the township and the innovative approaches being developed in Auroville, the land-use structure is based on the following premise:

The built-up area, consisting of buildings and developments for residential, cultural, manufacturing, commercial and utility uses, international pavilions and open spaces, would evolve around the Matrimandir with its gardens in the centre of the township.


The largely unbuilt part consisting of agricultural uses, regener ated forests, tanks, water bodies, channels and a number of green activities linked to the promotion of sustainable development, would encircle the built-up area and also act as interface between the City and its bio-region.


Matrimandir with its development proposals



2.5.2     The vision behind Auroville's planning and development right from its conception to the present day is that there will be an intense and close interrelationship between the City Area and the outside rural area, including the Green Belt, which will be of a synergical nature. Each would complement the other, and support the activities in the 'urban' and 'rural' sectors, thus reducing the urban and rural divide that has crept into urban planning so far, and encouraging a rural - urban continuum.



2.5.3     Land Use in the City Area: In view of the concept discussed earlier, the City Area is proposed to have the Peace Area with the Matrimandir, the Banyan Tree, the Lake, the Amphitheatre and the Gardens in the centre and the following use zones around it:

Residential Zone
International Zone
Industrial Zone
Cultural Zone


2.5.4    There is another special use zone, which traverses all the four zones in a concentric fashion with a width of about 75 meters, consisting of a circular road with buildings facing it. This is termed as the 'Crown Area'. This Crown area will provide most of the service facilities required to support the activities in the four zones mentioned above. The developments in the Crown area will naturally be somewhat different, depending upon its proximity or interface with each zone. For the purposes of zoning regulations, the crown area is considered as a separate zone under each of the four zones.



2.5.5    The basic principles / parameters adopted in land use planning are given in Table 11.



Table 11 : Principal Planning Policies
Sector of Development
Planning Policies / Parameters

1. Residential

Maximum living space per person: 30 sqm Range of densities and interesting architectural forms 50% unpaved area as permeable space Collective and community use Eco friendly practices in water and energy management Pedestrian and cycle ways Harmonious landscaping and tree planting

2. Industrial

Clean, non-polluting industries Small and medium scale Expand local employment Vocational training for youth Encourage local entrepreneurship Good working environment for workers Efficient management practices

3. Education and Culture

International studies on Humanity Indian / East-West Culture Synthesis of knowledge Arts, craft and technology

4. International

International pavilions for cross country exchange Science and technology Culture, philosophy and humanities

5. Building Development

Innovative, low energy consumption, cost-effective technology, eco-friendly, barrier-free architecture, indigenous materials

6. Water

Water harvesting Watershed management Waste water recycling Aquifer storage and recovery Preventing saline intrusion Water conservation

7. Energy

Use of solar, wind and biomass energy Better demand and supply side management

8. Solid waste

Segregation at source Composting and recycling Special disposal of hazardous and biomedical waste Attaining zero garbage situation

9. Traffic and Transport

Exclusive pedestrian and cycle paths Encouraging non-polluting traffic Service nodes for interface with villages Designing non-polluting vehicles

10. Health

Synthesis of a wide range of medical knowledge Emphasis on indigenous systems Good healing practices

11. Green Belt

Healthy productive employment Field laboratory for best practices in eco-friendly techniques Environmental sustainability Food security Developing urban-rural linkages

12. Bio region

People’s participation in sustainable development Improving sanitation and water supply Improving housing through cost-effective techniques Innovative research programmes Better agriculture practices



Bio Gas production : Alternative energy



2.5.6    The proposed land uses zone wise are detailed out in Table 12 and depicted in the Drawing 6 of the Proposed Land Use.
The proposed land use in the green belt is indicated in Table 13 and the re-grouping of the land uses as per the general land use classification is given in Table 14.


Table 12 : Proposed Land Use Zones - 2025

(City Area / Developed Area)

Use Zone Area in ha. % Principal Uses

Peace Area 28 5.7 Matrimandir, Lake, Gardens
1. Residential Zone 173 35.2
  160 32.6 Residential houses, apartments in five sectors at different densities, and basic community facilities.
Crown 13 2.6 Shopping, utilities, communication, recreation and community facilities of higher order, supporting residential use.
2. International Zone 68 13.9
Pavilions 63.5 12.9 National and international pavilions, conference and exhibition halls.
Crown 4.5 1 Utilities, communication, shops and other common facilities related to the main activity in the International Zone, including housing and staff quarters.

Use Zone Area in ha. % Principal Uses

3. Industrial Zone 126 25.7
Economic 94.5 19.3 Non-polluting manufacturing units, including cottage industries.
Crown 8.5 1.7 Hostels, dormitories, guesthouses and supporting facilities for the main activity in the zone.
Administration 7 1.4 Town Hall, City Administration offices and housing.
Vocational training 16 3.3 Vocational training centres, research institutions including laboratories.
4. Cultural Zone 96 19.5
Major cultural 91 18.5 Educational Institutions, University, sports centres and staff quarters.
Crown 5 1 Shopping, utility, communication and recreation centres and related facilities supporting cultural activities in the zone, including housing.

Total 491 100

Peace Area

Table 13 : Proposed Land Use in the Green Belt - 2025
          Area in ha. % Principal Uses

Built (*)

(Existing settlements to be retained)

156 10.5

Auroville Communities and Village Residential Areas, Service Nodes and utilities and main access roads.

Unbuilt 1316 89.5

Farming and Forest type uses and recreation, bird & wild life.

Total 1472 100  

Note(*): The existing settlements in the proposed Green Belt are subsidiary to agriculture, forestry, plantation, land development and as such they are proposed to be retained in the future development of Auroville township. However, there would not be any substantive extensions in these settlements not related to principal use. Similarly, the existing village settlements are also part of the built up area and would require to be retained.


Table 14: Detailed Land Use in City Area - 2025
Use Extent
in Ha
% Remarks

1. Residential

121 24.64 Residential Zone 80% Other zones
2. Commercial 20 4.1 Mostly in Crown Area connecting the zones
3. Industrial

56 11.4 Industrial Zone/Manufacturing units
4. Public & Semi-public

159 32.38  
   a. Matrimandir

28 5.7 Peace Area
   b. Pavilions

38 7.73 International Zone
   c. Educational & Cultural

73 14.86 Cultural and Residential
   d. Administration, utilities
      & other uses

20 4.07 Industrial and other zones
5. Open space & recreation

46 9.36 To be provided in all zones
6. Transport & communication 89 18.12 To serve all zones

Total 491 100



2.5.8        Land Use in the Green Belt Zone: The unbuilt area in the Green Belt Zone will have three broad categories of land use, viz. Agriculture and Farming, Forest and Land Regeneration and Recreational areas. Their development is designed to promote bio-diversity, environmental restoration, land regeneration, water management, and technology transfer of the above activities for wider application. This will make the Green Belt not only an asset to Auroville and the surrounding villages, but also a National Resource Centre (NRC) for sustainable development.



(a)   Agriculture and Farming

The western part of the Green Belt, consisting of eris, natural drainage channels and village settlements, is reserved for intensive agricultural development. They cover approximately 500 ha. At present these lands are vacant or marginally used. They will be utilised to set up prototype farms for raising appropriate crop varieties that can be efficiently produced in differing geographic conditions in Tamil Nadu, in order to replicate them for the benefit of farmers in these areas. The geographic regions will correspond to the five-fold traditional regional classification in Tamil Nadu of Kurinji, Mullai, Marudam, Neithal and Palai.

Auroville's ongoing work in water management, soil conservation, organic farming and seed collection, which is being carried out in collaboration with state, national and international research institutions and agencies, will promote food security and optimise the agro-economic potential both locally and nationally.



(b)     Regenerated land and plantations

The eastern part of the Green Belt, which has already been developed with dense plantations of trees, acts as a barrier against cyclone-strong winds coming from the coast, which were until recently the main cause for soil erosion, gully formation and degradation of land.

These lands occupy about 560 ha. They will be utilised to strengthen the ongoing work of land regeneration, to re-establish indigenous forest vegetation, to propagate biodiversity through gene pools and seed banks, and to institute zero-runoff parameters and practices. This part of the Green Belt will also serve the Auroville township by carrying out waste water treatment and recycling, solid waste management and experiments for producing alternate energy through the use of biomass and wastes. In this regard Auroville is already collaborating with state and central government agencies.



Planting trees in the green belt



(c)     Recreation

Another purpose of the Green Belt is to provide open-air recreational facilities for the inhabitants. An extent of 256 ha. has been designated for this purpose, which will also include a botanical garden and agro and social forestry for the benefit of neighbouring villages. Within this zone, a modern burial and cremation site is also proposed.


Water management


2.5.9    The summary of uses in the green belt along with implementing partners is given in table 15.



Table 15: Summary of Uses in the Green Belt
Main Uses Implementing partners *


Agriculture and Farming

> Water management
> Aquifer storage and recovery
> Soil conservation
> Farming including organic farming
> Climatic promotion
> Fisheries
> Village development & service nodes
> Agro- & social forestry

Auroville groups:

>Auroville Farm Group
>Auroville Green Work
  Resource Centre (AGRC)
>Water Harvest, Palmyra
>Auroville Village Action
   Group (AVAG)
> Land Use Coordination

Collaborating Partners:

> Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology
> Govt. of India Development Research Corporation
> National Wasteland Development Board
> AME (The Netherlands), DANIDA (Denmark)
> GIFRID (German-Israel Govt. Collaboration)
> Stichting De Zaaier (The Netherlands)
> DFID (UK), South East Asia Seed Bank


Main Uses

Implementing partners *

2. Forest and Land Regeneration

> Indigenous forests
> Sacred groves
> Biodiversity park
> Medicinal plants
> Dairy, orchards
> Zero runoff practices
> Waste water recycling
> Solid waste recycling
> Alternative energy
> Energy plantation
> Vegetables, flowers
> Building & road material & transport technology
> Village service node
> Technology transfer and dissemination


Auroville groups:

> Auroville Green Work Resource Centre
> Palmyra Pitchandikulam Bioresource Centre
> Shakti, Water Harvest
> Auroville Centre for Scientific Research (CSR)
> Auroville Building Centre Land Use Coordination

Collaborating Partners:

State Council of Science and Technology State Dept. of Environment, Forest & Rural Development Ministry of Environment & Forest National Wasteland Development Board Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission HUDCO, NBO, BMTPC, MNES, Andaman Ecological Team, UNCHS, European Commission, SWISSAID, GTZ, GATE, KFW, BORDA (Germany), German Agro-Action, Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC), INERP Association Scientifique (France) Threshold Foundation (US), Stichting de Zaaier (The Netherlands), Canada Fund, ICEF (Indian- Canadian Environment Facility)

Main Uses

Implementing partners *


> Botanical gardens
> Poultry farm
> Burial and cremation site
> Village service node

Auroville groups:

> Land Use Coordination

Collaborating Partners:

> State and GoI Departments of Environment
> Rural Development

* Indicates principal partners who are at present involved in such activities. It is anticipated that there will be additional collaborating partners as Auroville’s activities increase.

Solid waste recycling