Home > The City > Planning the Township > City Study Circle > Report - Dec 07, 2001

City Study Circle

Forum for town planning

December 07, 2001

On the 7th of December we gathered at the SAWCHU building. Those who attend the meetings vary a little from time to time and today they were: Alan, Annemarie, David, Felix, Gundolf, Helmut, Peter A., Ralph, Supriti, Tency.

 

Our discussion continued with trying to pin down the starting point of our urban design exercise. As this is a team exercise, naturally there are different views! But the only way for people to get together is for them to plunge into a common creative process.

The design project will obviously have several phases. It will grow in layers. In the end it should be a proposal for actual planning. The starting point, however, ought to be some kind of blank sheet that will keep the process open and flexible. Even so, soon some general parameters should be applied.

The idea of the exercise is not to make a design of the entire city, although some elements that belong to the big picture can be included, as for instance the impact of the overall transport system on an area. Generally speaking, the exercise is rather meant as a visualisation of what content we would like to give to our living environment, and for that purpose only a section would be sufficient as an example.

The parameters that will ensue may deal with questions such as:

  • What kind of life qualities do we envisage?

  • How are we matching our ideas against the demand for sustainability?

  • What about mobility, or the relation between work and living etc. in a city of Auroville's size, climate, with its cultural diversity, experimental economy?

  • How will our city-planning respond to those things if it aims to any degree of overall integration?

  • And how does the phasing of this development look like since the gradual growth of the city is one of the main challenges?

In order to make it easier for ourselves we decided to define one element at a time of what constitutes a city environment. By taking it apart in pieces the individual elements may become more visible. Looking at the total environment at one time seems at this moment a less effective approach.

'The street' was selected as the first element

What purpose does a street serve, what makes streets different? Is it a through-road for traffic? Is it a public place in a neighbourhood? Or shall we rather speak about the 'spaces between buildings' since this is the second half of a city? A room or space is as important as the buildings because the moving life activities that connect people and buildings take place there, or fail to take place there, depending on several crucial factors.
How are we to work with these spaces?

felix@auroville.org.in 
for the Study Circle team

Home > The City > Planning the Township > City Study Circle > Report - Dec 07, 2001