Drop City What do hippies, domes and sustainability have in common? At first glance, not much. However, during the 1960s and 1970s a community named "Drop City" existed which encompassed all three. This rural, hippie commune began in 1965 when four college artist friends decided to buy seven acres of land near Trinidad, Colorado to create a live-in piece of "Drop Art," which is essentially impromptu art meant to cause a discussion that rebelled against consumerism in the United States. Inspired by the geodesic domes of Buckminster Fuller and the solar knowledge of Steve Baer, these people, along with many other transients and hippies, built a communal village using only the items they could find around them and those items which were deemed "trash" by outsiders. One of their most notable salvage items were the roofs from automobiles which were used to create the panels for the geodesic domes.
This community relied on themselves by growing their own fruits and vegetables and harnessing the power of the sun through dome walls. Unfortunately, extreme interest from the media drove many visitors to the area and eventually the originally co-founders ended the commune in 1973. This hippie, mind-altering lifestyle might not seem ideal today but it does introduce concepts such as alternative living, consumerism and waste. Why is it that the modern society of today feels the need to have more than enough food, clothes and electronics than we really need? I'm not saying we all need to return to a "Drop City" lifestyle but why not create more alternative communities built out of items people disregard as useless. Maybe then the ideals of limiting waste in homes will become more commonplace and acceptable.
Do you want to live, work and play in a community built on the ideals of human unity, life-long learning, and sustainability? This kind of thing sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. Auroville, India is a township that is comprised of around 2,100 people from all different backgrounds, cultures, and ages. The idea began in the 1930's but did not take off until 1966 when UNESCO created a resolution identifying the importance of the project in humanity's future. The township is very-well laid out in regards to urban planning standards because it is an ideal mixed-use community encompassing all aspects of everyday life. Different zones in the city are laid out to create separations of different uses from industrial to peace. There is even a green belt surrounding the city to prevent sprawl outwards. The Auroville Master Plan indicates that the city will one day be suitable for almost 50,000 people. Some sustainability efforts in the community include: communal areas such as kitchens, farms of fruits and vegetables to feed those on site, solar electricity/solar water heating and pumping, wastewater recycling, electric vehicles, using local high-quality materials in construction and incorporating passive architectural designs to take advantage of breezes and shade. More on the sustainable practices in Auroville can be found in their report, "Sustainable Living in Auroville."
And, the best part of Auroville is that while it is not a "tourist-destination' the Aurovillians do encourage people from around the world who are interested in their same ideals to stay as guests in their many different accommodations from beachfront to city center!
–Amanda Douglas, Cities That Work Blog