We, the TDC selected in June 2022 by the Residents’ Assembly (RA) as per the ratified selection process, have been looking into and discussing a way forward for the bigger picture of planning for Auroville. We would like to share with you all a key element that we see moving forward.
Considering multiple perspectives
Since December 2021, a small group of people (Aurovilians along with the AVFO Secretary) has repeatedly tried to impose top-down decision-making onto the community, labelling anyone opposing this as scoundrels that are against development. As per its core values, Auroville is not adapted to a top-down approach, but a disorderly bottom-up path is also not realistic.
Fortunately, the extremes represent only a very small portion of the Auroville population. Indeed, most residents welcome development, with a strong emphasis on the process that is followed – inclusive, transparent, etc. – rather than the result. It is now time to define and follow that middle-forward path, leaning neither towards anarchism nor towards fascism.
As is well known, the Master Plan Perspective 2025 was created as a means to protect the lands from inappropriate development. Unfortunately it hasn’t achieved this purpose, and is now grossly misused. It was never intended to be a document that could be used for implementation. The MPP2025 has not been properly gazetted and hence is also not recognised by the Tamil Nadu administration. In view of the crisis Auroville is going through, it becomes ever more important to address several issues with regards to planning such as: recognising the MPP2025 as strategic policy framework (pending regular (5year) reviews as is specifically mentioned in the MPP2025 itself, and that have not been done). Formulating a Tamil Nadu recognised proper township (Master ) plan, followed by DDPs and Environmental Impact Assessments, as was directed by the National Green Tribunal ruling. These plans must address the co-development of the villages and wider region, beyond land-ownership and private interests.
As per the AVF Act (Sections 17 and 19), these matters can and should be addressed through coordinated efforts between the RA and the Governing Board. In terms of town planning, the RA TDC – with its interface team and technical resources – has been appointed and endorsed to represent the community and oversee planning and implementation processes. As such, we are yet to see that the GB and AVFO are ready to consult with the RA, or support its on-going role of formulating the Masterplan of Auroville.
In the meanwhile, the RA TDC is moving forward with setting up a participatory planning process which is open for all to contribute to; the only rule of the game is for each to bring their goodwill, expertise and diversity into a shared approach and be ready to meet respectfully on middle ground. This process will pave the path to how our community will address the above-mentioned issues, with meaningful participation and carrying forward the work of the 2022 Dreamweaving and other previous planning works.
When we talk about “proper planning” we mean a number of things: plans that are co-created with participative processes, agreed upon and endorsed by the RA; planning that takes the ground realities, the environment and the socio-economics into account; plans that enable the development of a city that is climatically appropriate and adaptive to climate change; plans that respect the key features of the Galaxy vision model whilst ensuring enough flexibility for future generations to further develop the city, taking advantage of all discoveries from within and from the world. This would allow Auroville to become and remain the City the Earth needs, now and in the future, aligned with the basic best practice in planning world-wide.
We will be updating the community on how you can get involved. In the meantime, we invite you to share your thoughts and suggestions to us at [email protected]