Based on the social theory of the Indian philosopher Sri Aurobindo, his partner Mirra Alfassa founded a city in south-east India in 1968 that was planned for about 50,000 people and is now inhabited by about 3,200 people. Auroville is both an experiment and a city. Instead of being affiliated to a state or a government, Auroville is open to all people. The invitation is extended to people of all faiths, political orientations and nationalities. The centre of the city is the Matrimandir (Temple of the Mother) designed by Alfassa. Around the temple is the residential area leading to different zones (Industrial Zone, International Zone, Cultural Zone, Peace Zone). A 1.25km wide green belt with farms, plantations and habitats for different wildlife surrounds the core. Cultural, ecological and social needs of humanity are being researched. The residents come from 59 nations, from all age groups, social classes and cultures.
The city's goal is to achieve unity and peace in diversity.
Despite ongoing efforts towards sustainability, self-sufficiency and a universal basic income, Auroville remains highly dependent on external resources, both financially and in terms of the labour it needs.