Conforming to standards could improve Sri Lankan urban quality of life


Standards such as well-managed parking, clean drinking water, affordable housing, proper street lighting, green environment, robust information technology connectivity and many are important for cities to function well, according to research from Sri Lanka. A number of plans and projects to build “Smart cities” are currently underway in Sri Lankan urban development policy framework.

A research article published in the Sri Lankan journal Cities People Places: An International Journal on Urban Environments gives an overview of international and national standards and their role in improving the quality of life in urban environments in Sri Lanka.

According to the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, over half the population of the world lives in cities. All statistics and trends show that urban population numbers will only grow in the coming years. In developing countries, the growth rate of urbanization is even faster. Sri Lanka is an emerging country, as it is slowly growing economically following the turmoil of armed conflict that tore apart the country for many years.

According to the research article, 20% of the current Sri Lankan population lives in urban areas. This proportion is expected to double by 2030, adding considerable pressure to the already-strained urban infrastructure.

“An increasing number of people are migrating from rural to urban areas every day,” says Ganiesha De Silva, lead author of the research article and Assistant Director (Agriculture) of the Standardization (Scientific) Division of the Sri Lanka Standards Institution. “As a result, a high rate of traffic congestion, large-scale environmental pollution, overuse of non-renewable natural resources, increasing numbers of slums and shanties, recurrent heavy flooding and the threat of landslides have become common noticeable problems in Sri Lankan urban areas over the last few years.”

In 2015, the Sri Lankan government introduced the concept of “Megapolis”, which was aimed at driving economic growth, prosperity, social equity, harmony, environmental sustainability and individual happiness. In this context, cities need a way to assess where they are, aim for where they need to be and measure their progress along the way.

“Standards can play a major role in creating sustainable urban environment while improving quality of life of urban dwellers”, adds Ganiesha De Silva. Implementation of such standards provides mechanisms to measure and monitor progress of the urban development projects over time, assess their performance and tailor toward more sustainable and resilient communities.”

De Silva says: “I strongly believe that with the implementation of standards with the national urban policy framework 2015-2030, we could build, manage and operate our cities smartly. And it will be the single biggest determinant of our people’s future”.

The article Role of international and national standards in improving quality of life in urban environments in Sri Lanka appears on pp 1-9, in the latest volume 2(1) of Cities People Places: An International Journal on Urban Environments. The journal and the article are made available online on the SLJOL platform, which is supported by INASP.

About the Journal

Cities People Places: An International Journal on Urban Environments is the official journal associated with the ‘Cities People & Places’ (ICCPP) Annual Conference organized by the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka Journals Online (SLJOL), a part of INASP’s Journals Online, is a database of journals published in Sri Lanka, covering the full range of academic disciplines. The objective of SLJOL is to give greater visibility to the participating journals and to the research they convey. It is managed by the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka and was developed in collaboration with INASP.

There are now 76 journals on SLJOL listing over 9230 articles.


Founded in 1992, INASP is an international development organization working with a global network of partners in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In line with the vision of research and knowledge at the heart of development, INASP works to support individuals and institutions to produce, share and use research and knowledge, which can transform lives.

INASP’s approaches are based on the core pillars of capacity development, convening, influencing and working in partnership. INASP promotes equity by actively addressing the needs of both men and women across all our work and addressing issues of power within the research and knowledge system. INASP has projects in 28 countries, supporting all aspects of research and knowledge systems, from facilitating the provision of information to researchers to helping parliamentarians and civil servants to use research and evidence in policy making.


Research published in journals hosted on the SLJOL platform is selected by the journals in accordance with their own editorial processes and criteria. INASP and the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka provide hosting and guidance on good practices but are not involved in selection of research.

For Further Information
Thakur Amgai, Communications Consultant, INASP

Dr Sangita Shrestha, Communications Officer, INASP


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