There is a need to preserve the historical and important parts of the City. The conserved buildings should project the evolution of the City and its historicity. Like a old beautiful grandmother. The wrinkles on her face is an integral part of her personality, it gives her character and her due place and stature in society. She is not for sale. Gentrification is not the answer to the development of the city
1. Cities were built for people. Not people for the city. This important fact is often forgotten. They are pedestrian cities with green areas, seating places, with safe and efficient public transportation. Our cities should not become the play grounds for the rich . Cities should be dedicated to all communities and
always remain alive and people friendly.
2. We should remake our streets, look at them differently, out of the box. The solutions should be simple, and less expensive. The role of the vehicle as a transportation device should be understood. At present all our investments , money, space and environment go into cars and car owners. The road widening schemes are destroying the vibrant face of the city. It is creating a cheap oneness.
3. At no stage should the vehicle dictate the design of our cities. The vehicle should always be subservient to the needs of the city. It should be not seen
and not heard either.
4. There is a need to preserve the historical and important parts of the City. The conserved buildings should project the evolution of the City and its historicity. Like a old beautiful grandmother. The wrinkles on her face is an integral part of her personality, it gives her character and her due place and stature in society. She is not for sale. Gentrification is not the answer to the development of the city
5. The retaining of the facade of a protected building , demolishing the inside and building a storied building within , according to ICOMOS international has
nothing to do with conservation .
6. Even if others make suggestions for change should we not dictate how
WE as a people want it done. Colombo should remain a medium rise,
Green Tropical People Friendly City.
7. Sri Lanka has the impression that she should also join the band wagon of developing high rise buildings. Unfortunately the concept of the High rise developed out an era of cheap fuel. Many countries that rushed in are now demolishing the buildings of the 1960’s. Many have now become sick buildings.
8. Even if politics dictates the need for such structures, do we need to copy what is being done elsewhere, usually the worst. Are we incapable of independent thought. What happened to the great builders that conceived the ancient cities. We should stop taking anything and every thing that is offered, they eventually end up as headaches.
8 . Where should the high rise building if any, be placed. Not arbitrarily where there is space, but only in specially selected areas, where they do not block the natural wind currents and air movements across the city.
9. Each tall building should be tested in a wind tunnel to understand the effect of one building on the other and the rest of the buildings in the environment. The testing should be included as part of the development cost.
10. We should understand infrastructure requirements, drainage, sewer systems, water and power demands and if necessary provide what is required. Twenty years ago we were told that the sewers were full. Since then we have trebled the material input into the sewers. The sewers are at bursting point.
11. Our paved areas should not end up as heat soaks, we live in the tropics and under the heat of the sun, these paved areas should be well shaded. There is a need for the creation of numerous urban forests across the city.
The question that may be raised is, do we need High Rise Buildings with all the accompanying problems ?
Do we really need high rise buildings and their related infrastructure problems when medium rise structures occupying the same area could accommodate the same numbers of people in a more human and friendly configuration. A recent conference declared that the whole of Melbourne could be accommodated in a four storey development. This certainly is worthy of serious thought.
Trees give the greatest quickest impact to a city. Trees should be planted to create volumes, shapes and form in the cityscape. All planted areas should be interconnected to form a holistic entity, to permit the biodiversity
to move across the city.
One is most disappointed to see trees like Kobonela and the small flowering cassias being planted along our roads. They are, as far as we are concerned, shrubs not trees. What is wrong with us this is a tropical country and we live in it, we should plant Tropical Trees not apologies for trees
In the event Sri Lanka needs a political statement to overcome her inferiority complex, with a statement that she has come of age and has joined the modern world. The statement should be a positive, instead of as now. Where the Investor dictates what we should do, and over rides all good sense, treating us like beggars without a choice, unfortunately, these decisions are made by the feeble Ministers in charge. Instead, we should have a single bank of high rise development , away from the sea, where all the necessary services are provided and the rest of the city is allowed to develop in a green human friendly manner.
The baseline road stretch is ideally located for such a development as, it has the largest concentration of government land, has no extensive services structure, all the services requirements could be newly provided. A rapid transport system could be easily developed to pass through it. The base platform of the spine located ten meters above the ground, will allow all activity and the road networks at ground level to continue undisturbed.
The fickle visitors approaching the city via the airport express highway will encounter the spine head on and be impressed, while the more discerning visitor will be impressed to think Sri Lanka has a mind of her own and has not joined the herd. Investors should be told that is where they could build and no where else. Does our system have the guts to do that ?
The re-housing of the poorer sections of our society in high rise apartments, placed in close proximity to each other, these humans with their essential community relationships destroyed, with an inability to put their feet on the earth, to feel and experience the warmth of the soil, eventually covert the structures into vertical slums, as seen from this example from Hongkong.
At this rate the City of the Future, say 2050, as shown in this example will require new Urban planning principles, as well humans cloned as new soulless machines, devoid of all human feelings, to inhabit them. Would man as we know it evolve to be just static lumps of matter.
The increase in price of oil may save us from that.
Unless we continue to invade oil rich countries at the most flimsy of excuses, in our greed to maintain the price of oil at its cheapest to enable us to exploit the rest of the planet in our most unsustainable journey through time.