Charles to build new 'Poundbury ecovillage' ... in India

Tony Gosling tony at
Sat Feb 5 21:38:34 GMT 2011

The Slumdog Millionheir: Prince Charles to build 
shanty town for 15,000 as an Indian version of Poundbury 

By Fay Schlesinger
Last updated at 10:30 PM on 10th January 2011

Plans: Prince Charles meets members of the 
Dharavi slum during 2003. He now hopes to build a 
new eco-friendly 'utopia' that will house 15,000

The Prince of Wales is building an eco-friendly 
‘utopia’ for 15,000 poor people in India, 
inspired by the shanty town in Slumdog Millionaire.

The development will include schools, shops and 
3,000 homes in a tiny area the size of 14 
football pitches, the Daily Mail can reveal.

His multi-million-pound venture plans to turn a 
25-acre swathe of Indian wasteland on the 
outskirts of either Calcutta or Bangalore into a ‘mini oasis in the desert’.

It will be modelled on Poundbury, the Dorset 
model village that has been Prince Charles’s 30-year pet project.

Building on the Indian scheme – expected to be 
the first of a series of eco-developments on the 
subcontinent by his charity, the Prince’s 
Foundation for the Built Environment – is set to begin in the autumn.

The project comes after Charles praised Mumbai’s 
vast Dharavi slum, later to be featured in 
Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, despite 
it housing up to a million people in a place less 
than half the size of the prince’s Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire.

He wrote: ‘When you enter what looks from the 
outside like an immense mound of plastic and 
rubbish, you immediately come upon an intricate 
network of streets with miniature shops, houses 
and workshops, each one made out of any material that comes to hand.’

Unlike the ‘fragmented, deconstructed housing 
estates’ built in the West, the slum has ‘order 
and harmony’ he claimed, adding: ‘We have a great 
deal to learn about how complex systems can 
self-organise to create a harmonious whole.’

However, the prince risks derision for imposing 
his controversial and often outspoken 
­development views 5,000 miles away on the subcontinent.

Charles has been to India many times, most 
recently with his wife Camilla during last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

His charity will open its first overseas office in Mumbai this year.

The new town, for mainly low-caste residents, 
will be ‘high-density but pleasant’, a spokesman 
for the prince’s charity said.

Eco-features that Charles has championed for 
decades will also be on show. Large roofs 
overhung with palm trees will collect rainwater, 
which will be used for showering, washing and in 
toilets before being recycled to water plants.

Shade and natural ventilation will combat 
temperatures that regularly top 100f (38c). 
Instead of the open sewage, rubbish heaps and 
shared sanitation blocks common in Indian shanty 
towns, residents will have individual toilets and waste facilities.

The spokesman said: ‘It really is about making 
these communities great places to live even 
though the natural conditions may at first appear to make it difficult.

‘India is fairly dry and dusty, and methods like 
rainwater collection would enable whole 
communities to be green oases all year round.

‘India is a rapidly expanding economic power and 
its housing market is increasingly vibrant.

‘The proposed development follows the prince’s 
vision, and it’s fair to compare it to Poundbury 
or Knockroon (a second model village planned for Scotland).’
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