Across the globe urban landscapes are being reshaped. Cities are being re-created to provide better housing, traffic flow, and shopping and recreational experiences. In Sri Lanka, post-war ‘development’ is reshaping Colombo, the capital city, to attract new capital for economic growth, which is underpinned by idealised images of a sanitized, safe and orderly city. It is thus cleansed of the old ‘undesirables’ – settlements and informal trading displaced to make way for new capital in redeveloping and upgrading to a ‘world class’ city, in which land and housing becomes increasingly unaffordable for the majority. While recognizing that developing the city is indeed a potential engine of economic growth and a lever of social transformation, how does one reimagine the city in order to construct processes that generate as well as distribute the city’s wealth? To engage with the question, the Centre for Poverty Analysis hosted a symposium in December 2012 on ‘Reimaging Development in Colombo’. This paper will draw out the opportunity and the necessity for spartial equity in access to land and housing to ensure more inclusive urban development.
Sri Lankan think-tank promoting a better understanding of poverty-related development issues. CEPA believes that poverty is an injustice that should be overcome and that overcoming poverty involves changing policies and practices nationally and internationally, as well as working with people in poverty.
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