(Dis)connecting Colombo: Situating the Megapolis in Postwar Sri Lanka

Kanchana N. Ruwanpura, Benjamin Brown, Loritta Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sri Lanka is in the midst of a postwar infrastructure boom, with new investment directed into roads, ports, and airports as part of an uneven and contested development process. Taking the transformations unfolding in Colombo as our point of departure, we examine how the vision of megapolis has animated debates on the geographies of connectivity. The postwar Sri Lankan political landscape initially envisioned political integration, which was to be delivered through the expansion of national road networks. The political priorities in the past decade reoriented away from integrating the nation to the strategic positioning of Colombo as a financial trading hub for South Asia. Focusing on Colombo’s flagship Port City project, we problematize these models of development by foregrounding counternarratives that speak to concerns around debt, enclosure, persistent ethnic tensions, and the degradation of coastal ecosystems. Key Words: connectivity, ecological stress, infrastructure, Sri Lanka, uneven development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-179
Number of pages15
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number1
Early online date14 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


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