Communities around the globe are struggling to find feasible options for affordable and sustainable housing to meet the needs of growing urban populations. Now, one forward-thinking firm, Auroville Design Consultants, is leading the charge with Humanscapes, an 18,000-square-foot, net-positive energy, experimental housing complex located in Auroville, India. Designed to house up to 500 residents, the sustainable housing complex will be studied for years to come in order to create a future model of sustainable living.
According to Suhasini Ayer, director of Auroville Design Consultants, Humanscapes is an experimental project designed to create affordable and sustainable housing for approximately 500 inhabitants. The ambitious project will be used as research into creating future developments that can withstand the impacts of climate change.
The project was based on three main principles. The first was creating a resilient structure that could meet India’s urban planning challenges. Secondly, the complex would be made available to house young adults, students and researchers in order to create an active and collaborative society, where the residents learn from each other. Finally, the habits of the community would be monitored for many years in order to create a field test prototype to help design future projects.
The large development was built by local workers using locally sourced materials, such as clay. Additionally, the complex will be net-energy positive thanks to its off-grid systems that work on various renewable energy sources, including solar power. The project has several water collection and recycling systems. The landscaping around the apartments incorporates several drought-resistant native plants and trees. There is also ample space set aside for organic food production, which is a hallmark of the project.
Future tenants will also be able to enjoy the spirit of community within the Humanscape design. Using the co-housing concept of living, the development was laid out in a way to foster interaction among neighbors. This “functional fusing” of living, working and recreational environment creates an open learning campus that could offer a real-world prototype for future urban development in countries around the world.
Photography by Akshay Arora and John Mandeen via Auroville Design Consultants