Updated: Feb 14, 2022
In the past weeks, there was a lot of talk around the "Crownways" project. It was the result of a "Dreamweaving" session of the "Dream Catchers", a group of Aurovilians who, more than ten years ago, gathered on rooftops in the very early morning, at sunrise, with an aspiration to let solutions to Auroville's problems manifest themselves, instead of thinking them out. It was happening when I just had joined Auroville, so I wasn't part of it and also have no direct experience of how the plan was received at that time. But I learnt about it and was immediately taken in by its great beauty and attention to detail, as well practical as aesthetic. Just as with seeing the Galaxy Plan, I am convinced it will be realised some day. The Secretary has spent quite a lot of time on it, as she obviously also sees its great value. The difficulty is that, as with the Galaxy Plan, the Crown is defined here by its BUILDINGS. Apart from the enormous amounts of money needed to build all these structures, there is the problem of not needing so many buildings at this moment. How will we design buildings if we don't know who will use them and for what? Add to that that a project of such scale needs the close collaboration of many AV architects – something the Secretary has urged for, but which so far has not happened. Another point is that the implementation of such a cityscape would solicit a reaction of the present protesters that would be orders of magnitude bigger than what we have right now. Imagine the hysteria if the needed areas in Bliss or Darkali were to be cleared in order to have large buildings constructed to form the Crown, instead of the present tiny Right of Way... Just remember the violent reactions to the proposed Line of Goodwill, or how the proposed move of Mitra Youth Hostel to the Crown Road – opposite the Solar Kitchen complex – was torpedoed immediately. Do we remember the violent obstructions of almost every proposed building in the public space or next to existing residential buildings (NIMBY) here? Who is aware that the real Town Hall is supposed to be built on the left side of the existing building? It has to have one extra floor compared to the present ACUR building, which is now called "Town Hall". Not only has the space for the REAL Town Hall been put full of trees, simply proposing that we build this very important building brings you nothing but scorn and anger. In the meantime, the building that was built with funds raised for ACUR needs to accommodate the AV working groups, just like the Saiier building and the Archives building. All this as an expression of spirituality, goodwill, harmony and unity... No hypocrisy anywhere to be found here! As a compromise for now, I'm happy with a small road. At least this way we can easily and cleanly move around, we can get our smart grid in order, and it's clear where the future Crownways development will come.