Urbanization and the urban development have assumed a key role in development of the modern world. For the first time in history more than half the world’s population resides in cities and the world’s urban population now stands at 3.7 billion people. This number is expected to double by 2050.
Cities are engines of economic growth and cultural development and can offer countless benefits to their inhabitants. According to recent surveys, cities are responsible for disproportionately higher rates of economic growth when compared with rural areas: with just over 50% of total world population, cities generate more than 80% of global GDP.
To be in par with the massive development drive taking place in the rest of the world it is necessary to bring systematic changes and development processes into the urban community in Sri Lanka. That will ensure that inhabitants of urban areas become a part of socioeconomic development of the country while maintaining high levels in quality of life.
It is in this context that the new Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development was created in order to transform the entire Western Province into a Megapolis area to usher incomprehensive and development within the next five years. Towards this end, the proposed urban development and Megapolis initiative should extend beyond the mere notion of building structures or creating isolated urban enclave, but well established and balanced ecosystem which supports socio, cultural, economic and spiritual wellbeing of all citizens. I am very much pleased to forward the Annual Performance Report of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing which summarizes the development activities initiated and the progress achieved during the year 2015. I am grateful to officials of the Ministry and the institutions functioning under the purview of the Ministry for their untiring efforts in compiling this publication.
Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development was established with the goal of encourage the sustainable economic growth by providing high quality services of transport, electricity, water, housing, health, education etc. for its citizens specially in the Western province of Sri Lanka. The Ministry will work towards rational urban development that to minimize environment pollution, transportation related issues and to ensure the equal opportunities to rich and poor with sensible
management of natural resources through active participation of public and private sectors.The word ‘Smart City' has created many discussion in the past and government revealed its plans to introduce smart cities to the country and will bring more benefits and value to the country especially to the western province. The government has also brought a fresh plan to implement a Megapolis; a concept that was first highlighted in 1990s and moved again in 2004, the plan known as the Western Region Mega-polis Plan which will help transform the entire Western Province and upgrading Colombo as one of the top cities in the South Asian region and the economic hub.
The Megapolis will provide high quality services to its citizens including business enterprises with highly effective and efficient solutions to fulfil day-today needs. Integrated transport systems, real time traffic management, smart power grid systems, smart street lighting, smart parking and city maintenance technologies and many other modern technologies will be incorporated by the enterprises which will operate or provide services within the smart city area. This project will be one of the Sri Lanka’s major projects for the next 15 years and also can position Sri Lanka amongst developed countries in the world, while strengthening almost all aspects of the country’s economy.
The development of an urban infrastructure that is linked to and support to the rural development and the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development is concerning on an integrated national Resource Development Planning. The Ministry is in the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and planning of the social, environmental and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to decision making. The concept that is being developed that all development activities will be well planned and ensured the wellbeing of all people living in.
Megapolis city is designed to the standard which matches with world number one cities that encourage world class investors to participate in the development process in all sectors which bring world market environment to international communities to visit for business and also create stable economy and income opportunities with high level salaries match with international scale of wages.
A. H. Thushari graduated from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka with a BSc (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering in the year 1996. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Hydrology & Water Resources from UNESCO-IHE, The Netherlands in the year 2006.
Ms. Thushari is a Chartered Engineer with over twenty years of experience in the fields of hydrological and hydraulic modeling, preparation of flood mitigation and drainage master plans. She worked as the Deputy General Manager (Special Projects) of Sri Lanka Land Reclamation & Development Corporation under the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development before undertaking the post of Project Director, MCUDP on 15th December 2016.