A city is a large human settlement. People are the main driving force in a city. The dynamism of a city is dependent on people and their behaviour. A preliminary understanding of the composition and diverse capabilities of the populations in a city should be the key to a successful urban study.
This section provides a description of the demographic status and trends in the city, primarily based on 2012 census data, presenting an overall view of the population. Trends and patterns of urban population are discussed including aspects of demography such as age, sex, ethnicity, education levels; and overall observations with regard to migration patterns, suburban population and gender.
Understanding the demographic and composition patterns of the population within the existing physical boundary will help in planning a livable city.
Education has always been a significant element in societal development. The development of education facilities contributes substantially to the development in an urban area.
As a developing country it is crucial to address poverty in order to attain the development goals. Education plays a major role in poverty reduction. Presently, several global cities have been implementing the concept of smart city to improve the quality of life of the society, including in the field of education.
Good educational institutions and coverage enables a population to have decent livelihoods be they self employed or part of the workforce. Understanding how a city provides primary, secondary and tertiary eductional as well as skill development through vocational centres could provide some pointers to how well a city is doing or where it needs to develop further.
Connectivity is central to key GoSL strategic aims: to promote economic growth, and to rebalance growth across the country’s 9 provinces. Higher the connectivity to any city, better is the urban growth in that city.
Detailed information on key transport aspects including bus and rail transport, freight route maps, airports and logistic systems are aspects that should be considered for a city to be properly interconnected within the bigger system. One of the SDG targets 11.2 is about access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems, road safety, public transport, and if we are to move towards being sustainble, these need to be considered in tranpsort planning. Further, the needs of people in vulnerable situations, women and children, persons with disabilities and older persons should also be considered.
ICT coverage is another way of being connected and recent technological advances enable a city to be better connected through its access to ICTs as well.
Cities are the primary drivers of economic development, therefore, Sri Lanka’s cities have a decisive role to play in driving the economy forward by catalysing high value-added economic activities, as the country strives to achieve upper middle-income country status.
According the latest Word Cities report, 80 per cent of global GDP is created by cities, despite their accounting for less than 60 per cent of the world’s population (UN-Habitat, 2016).
The Government of Sri Lanka recognizes the role of urban economy in shaping the future of the country. In this respect, Vision 2025 and Public Investment Programme (PIP) 2017-2020 lays out the urban policy priority actions: to promote western region as economic hub of the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, and to promote strategic city development to secondary urban spaces as provincial economic hubs.
It is also interesting to see how competitive a city is, taking into account current and potential roles of governments, businesses and the private sector in the economic development of the city and urban settlements, best use of human capital, and labour force participation, and existing skills and the job market etc. within demarcated territory.
Urban governance can be simplified as “how government (local, regional and national) and stakeholders decide on planning, financing and managing urban areas”. It involves a continuous process of negotiation and contestation over allocation of social and material resources and political power.
This section provide a snapshot of the emergent contours of urban governance in Sri Lanka, focusing on financial resilience, service provision and economic dynamism.
Information available here are collected and calculated considering secondary data sets, ground level surveys as well as stakeholder discussions. The city governance index has taken many a factor into consideration and provides a valuable way of assessing our cities and how they rank from a governance perspective.
An important function of Sri Lanka’s cities is to provide housing for the diversity of residents that support urban life. Sri Lankan early urban settlement legacy – histories, patterns, trends including land use and housing and the development challenges that come along with it have shaped the nature of our cities.
The share of housing as a proportion of built-up area across the different cities was considered, and numerous factors affect the figure. e.g. Anuradhapura, has restrictions on residential developments because of its cultural, historical and touristic importance, other MCs include significant social and economic land use, operating as a hub to surrounding suburbs and rural areas with large residential populations.
Housing policy challenges that are encountered by the city administrators relate to tenure systems, the supply of affordable, high quality housing, and difficulties accessing housing finance.
Municipal services is one of the key tasks an urban centre carries out fto ensure a functional living condition for its citizens.
The access to municipal services and the quality of their provision strongly influence the social, economic and environmental performance of a city as well as urban development.
Urban centres provide key services that underpin Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic development. Cities provide key government administration functions, such as vehicle registration services, access to social protection schemes, and a range of additional services (explored in detail in Chapter 9, urban governance in the SoSLC Report). Urban centres provide residents with health and education services: providing equitable access to quality healthcare and education. They also include services to facilitate social recreational activities and promote community cohesion, such as libraries, community centres and sports facilities. Ensuring quality services is a crucial component in securing an urban future for all Sri Lankans.
A city needs to have an environment that is habitable and conducive with appropriate spaces for people who use the city, while also being resilient in the face of increasing climate risk.
Aspects such as a cities’ air and water quality, quality of the built environment as well as the aesthetic and historic aspects in the city are things we need to look at. However, in the light of increasing disaster risk, managing climate change impact in the light of current urbanisation patterns becomes a key concern, and thus land use planning in a city needs to take this into account.
SDG targets 11.4 (safeguarding cultural and natural heritage) and 11.5 (reducing impacts of disasters, especially floods), 11.6 (air quality and waste) and 11.7 (safe, open and green spaces for all groups) all emphasize that for a city to be sustainable, these aspects need to be considered.
1. Colombo Municipal area:
Colombo Municipal Council covers an area of 4361 hectares. (Data Source _ Urban Development Authority)
2. Map of Distribution of Grama Niladhari Divisions in Colombo Administrative Limits:
The ethnic / sex / age composition in the Colombo Municipal Council area, detailed for each of its 54 Grama Niladhari Divisions. (Data Source _ Department of Census and Statistics)
3. Forecasted sea level rise and impacts on land use in Colombo City for next 100 years:
Colombo city is situated in the coastal region, and very vulnerable to sea levels rise caused by climate change. The data presented here are based on forecasts by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The impact area is specified separately with its land use. (Data Source _ IPCC & SoSLC Project)
4. Map of Colombo City's pipe borne water lines:
Data from Water Supply and Drainage Board. This map includes the pipe borne water distribution lines and pipe diameter, including the year the pipelines were installed. (Data Source _ Water Supply and Drainage Board)
5. Map of Sewerage Network and Pumping Stations:
This section contains information on the distribution of sewerage pipelines, pumping stations and sea outfalls. Source of information: Colombo Municipal Council. Note: There is a slight shift in the layers due to the angle difference in the data source. Needs to be viewed keeping this in mind. (Data Source _ Colombo Municipal Council)
6. Map of Bus routes and their starting - ending points in Colombo City:
It contains accurate information about the bus routes, bus route numbers and starting and end points. This set of information was created under the SoSLC project, using data from the routemaster.lk web page. (Data Source _ SoSLC Project)
7. Railway Network with Railway Stations:
The railway system which starts from Colombo Fort and extends to the three areas - Main line, Kelani Valley and Coastal line. (Data Source: SoSLC Project)
The above data layers and prepared maps can be downloaded at once using the link option below. (Download HD Map & Download Spatial Layers)
Proper management of land, a scarce resource, can bring about many benefits. This is of great importance especially in urban areas.
It is timely to figure out how land is allocated and being used for what purpose in our cities today. In order to create well planned cities with a futuristic vision, having a better understanding of current land use is imperative.
Land use maps are categorized into 36 sub-categories under two types – built-up and non built-up. The extent of land in each of these sub categories are indicated below.
The Colombo Municipal Council covers an area of 4361.6 hectares and sits within the administrative boundaries of the Colombo and Thimbirigasyaya District Secretariat Divisions. There are 55 Grama Niladhari Divisions within that limits. (For detailed information, please refer to the thematic maps section under the City Information page)
The Colombo Municipal area, known as the commercial capital city of Sri Lanka, has a high built-up land area (4044.5 hectares) and it covers 92% of the total land area. Non built-up land is very limited (317 ha) which is just 8%.
The built-up land has been categorized under six main categories as residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, transport, public space, cultural and under construction. Non built-up land has been divided into six sub-categories as agriculture, water, forest, wetlands, coastal areas and barren lands. The built-up land is again divided into 30 subsections. (More information on the respective land use is listed below with charts and land area)
For commercial, industrial and institutional purposes, 316.6 hectares, 292.2 hectares and 217.3 hectares of land are occupied (7.2%, 6.7% and 5% of the total land area respectively)
For public spaces - 267.3 hectares (6.12% of the total land area) for transport 910.3 hectares (20% of the total land area)
In all of the cities it can be identified that the higher densities are concentrated in the city centres and the expansion is taken place along the roads. The expansion pattern is shaped by the geography of the surrounding area.
The selection of the area for the urban expansion analysis was followed by several preliminary studies. Initially, the urban index values which was identified using the remote sensing information were studied in the respective municipal areas including a fringe area.
Before selecting interested area for the expansion analysis it should consider following facts
- Municipal boundary
- At least 2-3 km buffer around Municipal boundary
- Rough boundary where the physical urban character disappearing
In the remote sensing discipline, the values higher than 0 represent the built-up areas.The boundary for the fringe area was identified by getting the extent of urban expansion as well as a fine boundary where the high-density expansion become insignificant. The identified boundaries were projected on to the latest satellite images to assure the identified urban index values are in line with the existing building densities.
Urban Expansion of Colombo City (Changed from 1995 - 2017)
Colombo has become one of the most urbanized city from last few decades. These maps have attempted to give a clear idea of how the urban expansion took place.
To identify the evolution of the construction sector that has taken place within the city limits over the years, the buildings are classified as high dense and low dense areas.
Satellite imagery was used for this purpose and detailed information on the steps taken during the mapping process can be found on following download links. (Report of the Status of Sri Lankan cites 2017 - Section of the Annex 2|Page 165-167| and spatial section of the Database Training Manual)
Data are presented in four categories namely highly urban, semi urban, non-built-up and water, within the boundaries of the city limits of Colombo Municipality and beyond in the years 1995, 2001, 2012 and 2017. Further information is shown using charts and graphs below, including the number of square kilometres in the area.
Within the municipal limits, highly urbanized area has gradually grown from 77% in 1995, 80% in 2001, 85% in 2017 and 90% by 2017.
Simultaneously, it can be concluded that the semi-urban boundary has gradually declined from 11.6% in 1995 to 9% in 2001 to 6.2% in 2012 and to 4.2% by 2017.