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Land Use

Archive - 2006

 

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At the time of the foundation of Auroville most of the lands were waste lands or lands under marginal agriculture, which could support only a small population.

After Auroville came into being, the early residents - with their hard work in collaboration with villagers - built check dams across canyons, put up a large number of bunds to check soil erosion, and reared and planted trees in large numbers. Over two million trees have been planted over the past 30 years. A good part of this work was carried out with support from India and other countries for projects such as waste land regeneration, watershed management and reforestation projects.

The present land use within the 1,963 Ha (20 sq km) of the Auroville area:

Auroville - Present Land Use - 2000

Land Use

Extent in Ha

%

1 Residential

 

 

a) Village settlements

20

1.02

b) Auroville communities (*)

75

3.82

2 Administration

7

0.36

3 Commercial

19

0.97

4 Manufacturing

10

0.51

5 Public & Semi Public

30

1.53

6 Recreational

13

0.66

7 Roads

30

1.53

8 Peace Area and Gardens

30

1.53

 

TOTAL DEVELOPED

 

234

11.92

9 Regenerated plantation

598

30.46

10 Agriculture

 

 

a) Agricultural & related research

50

2.55

b) Farming

940

47.89

11 Water bodies

45

2.29

12 Canyon & Waste lands

72

3.67

13 Vacant

24

1.22

UNBUILT

1729

88.08

TOTAL

1963

100 %

 

Brief description of land uses:

 

1 - Residential

  • Village settlements: There are six village settlements within the Auroville Township area, consisting of a mixture of pucca houses with houses made of mud and thatch. Many of these houses have been upgraded or converted into semi-pucca and pucca structures in recent times as a result of the inhabitants' increased prosperity. As in traditional small village settlements, other economic uses are mixed with residential usage either in the same structure or in independent small structures.
  • Auroville communities. There are approx 95 Auroville residential settlements. These communities range in size from 3 residential units to 80 units. Apart from these there are a few houses in smaller clusters. These contain local amenities needed by the Aurovilians such as schools, health facilities, playgrounds. The residential units consist of individual dwellings as well as apartments, the latter becoming more common.
    There are a few settlements just outside the 20 sq km limit, which came up in the early years of settlement, occupying about 100 Ha (These areas have not been included in the above table).

2 - Administration

The most important building, which presently serves as Administrative Centre, is the Indian National Pavilion (Bharat Nivas). It occupies 3 Ha.

3 - Commercial

Under this category, retail services providing for food and other items of daily necessity, community eating places and the Visitors Information Centre - with its exhibition space and boutiques selling products made in Auroville - are included.

4 - Manufacturing

There are in total 100 large and small manufacturing and processing units, the products of which are marketed locally as well as internationally. The amount of land occupied by such units ranges from 5 Ha to small plots of 50-75 Sq m.

5 - Recreational

There are no large recreational uses at present, as most of the needs of the small communities are available within the residential neighbourhoods themselves. However, there are a few playgrounds located close to residential communities, such as the Centre Field and Certitude sports areas.

6 - Roads

Auroville is presently accessed from the East Coast Road and the Pondicherry-Tindivanam Road. Panchayat roads of narrow width pass through the Auroville area providing access to Auroville developments as well as village settlements. These are basically tar roads. Apart from these, there are temporary gravel and mud roads providing access to various facilities in Auroville, some of which will be replaced once the planned roads are built.

7 - Peace area

This is the most special area in Auroville. It is the centre of Auroville, which contains the Matrimandir - the soul of Auroville, the Urn and the Amphitheatre, together with the central Banyan tree and well laid-out gardens surrounding the Matrimandir.

The above categories constitute the presently built area, extending over 234 Ha and covering at present 11.92 % of the designated area.

8 - Regenerated plantation areas

From the beginning, Aurovilians have been engaged in land regeneration activities, as it has been central to building a hospitable and sustainable habitat. The trees planted have modified the stark landscape, and are beginning to fulfil the prophecy of Kaluveli Siddhar. These plantations not only have greened the environment but are also bringing back the land to productive agriculture by preventing soil erosion by wind and rain, while enriching the soil organically. There are both indigenous as well as exotic trees. In some of these areas, nearly extinct indigenous tree species such as those found in and around temples have been nursed.

9 - Agriculture

  • Agriculture and related research: This includes lands farmed by Aurovilians either for food production (including vegetables and fruits) needed by residents, or for research in improving farm practices and diversifying planting patterns. Examples are Auro-Orchard and the Pitchandikulam medicinal plant station. In several instances both production and research are carried out together. Most of these are based on organic farming practices.

  • Farming: This includes mostly lands generally used by the villagers for growing paddy, casuarina or other crops, including cashew.

10 - Water bodies

There are five eris in the area of which two are large, namely the Irumbai eri and the other one in Alankuppam. These are full for a short period after heavy rains and help to irrigate small areas of land below them.

11 - Canyons and waste land

This is a unique feature in the landscape of Auroville. Years of erosion by wind and rain have cut these deep gullies. Some of them are 2.5 kms long and 20-30 m wide and 2-5 m deep. These challenging areas are being converted into opportunities for water management for regeneration, farming and supplying drinking water needs of the area, such as in the Forecomers, Aurodam and Utility areas. Apart from these, there are peramboke and other lands classified as waste covering 72 Ha.

12 - Vacant

All other lands not coming in the above categories are treated as vacant.

The categories from 8 to 13 are principally open areas except for very small built-up areas. The total area coming under these categories covers 1,729 Ha, 88.08 % of the designated area.

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