The Prince of Wales is taking time out of his royal activities to work on a new pet project – an ‘eco-utopia’ in the slums of India. Prince Charles and his charity, The Prince’s Foundation for the Built ­Environment has recently announced plans to build an environmentally friendly housing development for India’s low-caste. Starting this next year, the Prince hopes to take his knowledge of urban planning and housing to build an eco-community that will be like an oasis in the desert.

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For around 30 years now, the Prince of Wales has been working on Poundbury, a model village in Dorest, developing schemes for urban planning and sustainable design. At the same time he has also studied slum development and construction in India and the Prince wants to take what he has learned from both to design and build an ‘eco-utopia’ in a swathe of undeveloped land in either Calcutta or Bangalore.

The Prince has praised India’s largest slum, Dharavi, for its ability to house almost a million people in a place less than half the size of the prince’s Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire. He says that slums have much more ‘order and harmony’ than developments in the West and adapt to whatever is available rather than using new resources. He adds, “We have a great deal to learn about how complex ­systems can self-organize to ­create a harmonious whole.”

The new development will be designed for low-caste residents, but will be “pleasant” and also incorporate a slew of sustainable design features. Large overhanging roofs will provide shade and collect rainwater, which will be used for showering, washing and toilets before it is then recycled for landscape irrigation. Principles of natural ventilation and shading will keep temperatures down and individual toilets and waste facilities will be provided to combat rubbish heaps commonly found in slums. The Prince’s charity will open an office in Mumbai this next year and will start work on the new eco-development.

+ The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment

Via Mail Online

Images Courtesy of Wikimedea