HealthBridge works with partners world-wide to improve health and health equity through research, policy and action.

Mapping People’s Spaces in Colombo for a community driven creation of a livable city


Apart from sexy taglines used by different political regimes to make Colombo a world class city, the city cannot provide formal housing for 50% of its population. They live in self built settlements and enormously cater to the smooth functioning of the city on everyday basis. However, no substantial effort has been made to understand their aspirations or roots to the limited opportunities they enjoy. As a result, the solutions provided for them such as low-income high-rise apartment housing schemes have worsened their situation. 

 Mapping People Spaces of Colombo' aimed at understanding the use of space within informal sector. We developed a set of highly detailed maps and are documenting stories on the use of space and on livelihood strategies of the communities as the first step to understand their aspirations expressed by their use of space physically and economically. Our study so far has proved the connection between people's process of creating economic and social space (role) for them and their spatial strategies, and provides a strong basis to fight for their right to the city.


Wekanda, Colombo, Sri Lanka



October 2017 – March 2018

Expected Results

The study provides an evidence based platform on which more hands on action plans or programs for policy influence can be devised to claim the community’s right to the city and capacity to participate, women’s right to public spaces, poor’s right to development and so on. 

We also plan to develop a method through which urban planners can devise a strategy to develop our cities by making underserved communities a driver of the socio-economic and spatial development processes.

Further Details