Colombo, like many emerging cities in Asia is plagued with the ills of overcrowding, ad-hoc developments and chaotic systems of travel and transport. Once considered one of the best cities in Asia, its walkable streets have been inundated with obstructions to the pedestrians and Colombo has increasingly become a city in which walking is a hazardous activity. In the current interest in transforming Colombo to a more liveable graceful city, facilitating walking through its public spaces springs to the forefront as an indisputable strategy to be employed in urban re-developments.
This paper examines the issue of facilitating walking in the city of Colombo and discusses the problems and potentials of transforming it to a pedestrian-friendly city as perceived by the people. Based on the findings of a user response study carried out in 2008, it outlines the major issues raised by the urban dwellers of Colombo and proposes some remedial actions that could be taken. In the context of increasing urbanisation where vehicular traffic and the provision for it has begun to dominate the city spaces, the paper argues for a shift of approach in its urban development practice in order to improve its walkability so that the city could once again become a delightful place.
Built - Environment - Sri Lanka - Vol. 09 - 10, Issue 01 - 02 : 2011 pp.2-13