Right To The City Sri Lanka, an initiative by the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think tank based in Colombo, aims to broaden the discussion and awareness on key issues concerning development, urbanisation, housing and displacement in Sri Lanka. Combining research, ongoing documentation, photography and video, the Right To The City Sri Lanka initiative will provide alternative narratives to the development discourse in Sri Lanka, with a focus on city making in Colombo.


The city of Colombo is home to more than a half a million people. However, some who call it home have time and time again had their right to live in the city violated. Colombo’s beautification post war removed thousands of people to the outskirts of the city and their homes demolished. Viewing their displacement as part of a development project only serves to hide the enormous social, public and human costs.


There are a lot of myths surrounding Colombo’s beautification project. Not everyone that is moved to the new high rise apartments live in slums or shanties. The new apartments are not given free. A lot of people who are affected actually have title deeds to their homes. Most people were forcibly evicted or relocated without due process being followed.


Right To The City was set up to inform you about the people who have lost their homes to make Colombo beautiful. This site shares some of their stories and their struggle to live in Colombo. This site is also a resource centre–you will find reports,research,videos and other documentation and analysis that bears witness to development induced displacement and evictions in the city of Colombo.



Cost of a 400 square foot apartment in a UDA high-rise according to previous government

Actual cost of an apartment in a UDA high-rise according to current government

Amount that has to be paid by each family to obtain a deed, including those who had deeds before eviction


A Brief Guide On Land Rights In Sri Lanka

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has compiled a brief guide on land rights in Sri Lanka which is aimed at creating awareness among the public on the legal status regarding land ownership and control and remedies available. CPA produced a similar guide in 2011 addressing land issues in the North and East of Sri Lanka in the immediate post war context. The present guide addresses….

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