The Sri Lankan government recently created a new ministerial post – Minister of Megapolis and Western Province Development. The brief is to oversee the creation of a huge urban area roughly 95 kms long with the capital Colombo at its heart. The $300billion project will involve new development and urban renewal on a scale never experienced before in this island state. It aims to create a mega-city of 8.5 million people by 2030. Currently Colombo’s population is about 1 million, small by today’s Asian standards.
The plan was aired before, in a 2001-04, when the current Prime Minister was also in office. Singapore-based consultants will lead the planning work.
Around Asia there are numerous exmples of mega-cities that are major engines for national economic growth, not just the dozen or so in India and China, but also places like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bangkok. Now the plan is to capitalise upon the existing infrastrucutre in and around Sri Lanka’s capital but to scale it up to international standards, along with investment in new facilties such as a marina, cruise ship terminal and waterfront promenade.
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