Reflections on over 100 years of urban housing policies in Sri Lanka

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Samaratunga, T., & O'Hare, D. (2013). Reflections on over 100 years of urban housing policies in Sri Lanka. Social Sciences, 2(1), 14-21.

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2013 HERDC submission. FoR code 120500

© Copyright Science Publishing Group, 2013




This research paper evaluates the urban housing policies in Sri Lanka and related housing programs introduced by the various governments over the last 100 years. Housing and housing policies have been hot political issues throughout this history. The supply of affordable and sustainable housing has been assigned a prominent place in the list of priorities drawn up by various governments over a long period of time. The Sri Lankan government’s housing policies are a series of legislative and administrative measures that have a bearing either directly or indirectly on the provision of housing in Sri Lanka. Housing policies in Sri Lanka can be divided into two major segments: urban housing policies and rural housing policies. Sri Lankan urban housing policy and its origin can be divided into three stages: prior to independence from British rule (before 1948); after political independence and during the civil war (1948–2008) and the contemporary situation after the end of the 30 years civil war (2009 onwards). This research paper critically evaluates past and present Sri Lankan government urban housing policies for low income people and policy changes towards high rise high density low income housing (Public housing) as an appropriate solution for slums and shanties in Colombo.



This document has been peer reviewed.