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Summary of the CMR Structure Plan

Area of the Colombo Metropolitan Region

The structure plan consists of the area covered by the districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara amounting to 369420 hectares in extent. As this is also the area of the Western Province of the country, the entire Western Province will come under the influence of the structure plan which will assist this region to experience a planned development. Technically, the structure plan knows as the Colombo Metropolitan Region. (CMR).

Major Components of the Colombo Metropolitan Regional Structure Plan (CMRSP)

The whole concept of Colombo Metropolitan Regional Structure plan is based on the principles of 'Sustainable Development'. This planning approach became increasingly relevant when the existing development was evaluated from an environmental point of view. This evaluation was carried out in the form of "Environmental Sensitivity Analysis", and it led to the identification of environmentally not so sensitive areas that can be brought under planned development and environmentally sensitive ecological zones which need to be preserved. The zones that have been considered for preservation are as follows.

- The Marine Environment of the Coastal Area
- Beaches and Dunes
- Coastal Wetlands
- Coastal Flats and Wetlands
- Raised Beaches and Dunes
- Outer Lateritic Plain
- Inner Lateritic Plain
- Inner Lateritic Plain (Highlands)
- Major River Valleys (Alluvial Plains)

In addition, the environmental assessment also identified a network of environmentally sensitive wetlands, waterbeds, lagoons and paddy fields. This environmentally sensitive areas will also be protected from future development.

The areas identified for future development, which are classified as not so environmentally sensitive, will be provided with facilities such as water, electricity and sewerage together with improved network of roads and railways.

Another comprehensive research was carried out to examine the urban hierarchy of the CMR and how it evolved over the last two decades. Based on the hierarchical structure of services and population, the urban Centres in the CMR were categorized under first order, second order third order and fourth order urban centres. The study on urban hierarchy also helped to identify several urban agglomerations or conurbation in different parts of the Region.

If past trends in urban development are taken into account, the urbanisation in the future is likely to be concentrated in these seven urban agglomerations. The structure plan recognized that these agglomerations as useful areas to promote to the growth centre concept. In order to facilitate growth centres, additional lands have been identified in respect of each centre, which will enable these centres to satisfy the demand for land from commercial, industrial, institutional and residential uses. The identified growth centres are Negombo, Gampaha, Biyagama, Homagama, Horana and Matugama. 'The Core Area', which was an exception to the application of growth centre concept in identifying potential urban centres for rapid development, was determined because this area constitutes the Administrative and Financial Core of the entire CMR. Accordingly, the recognition of the traditional Capital City of Colombo and its immediate environs as the 'Core Area' signifies its importance in both national and regional contexts.

The Core Area consists of the City of Colombo and the new 'Capital Territory'. However, the importance of detailed and careful planning of the proposed Core Area must be emphasized particularly in view of the fact that a large part of the Core Area is under environmentally sensitive wetlands, paddy fields and water bodies and bounded by ocean on one side and Kelani River on another side.

 

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