September 2015, Colombo. The South Asia Urban Forum, entitled “Urban Quest South Asia”, was held from 21st – 22nd September 2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka to discuss key urbanization challenges in the South Asia region.
The two day conference brought together urban researchers, practitioners and interest groups from South Asian nations including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Megapolis and Western Development, graced the Forum’s inaugural session as the Chief Guest. The event was jointly organized by The Institute of Town Planners Sri Lanka, Department of Town & Country Planning, University of Moratuwa, Urban Development Authority of Sri Lanka, National Physical Planning Department, National Building Research Organization, La Trobe University of Australia and the South Asian Knowledge Hub Project.
Asia is emerging as a future giant of economic affairs, geo-politics and technological advancements. It has been observed that the rapid growth of Asian economies is closely linked to the equally rapid urbanization process in the region. According to projections, more than half the world’s urban population will live in Asian cities by the middle of this century and South Asia will be the home to a major portion of that urban population.
South Asia has been the focus of many business fora, intellectual discussions and research projects. Yet, many of these discussions approach South Asia’s urbanization through conventional western-centric vantage points and not through the views of South Asians themselves. Most views have imposed pre-conceptualized ‘cities’ and ‘urban processes’ in order to study the form, substance, socio-spatial dynamics, geo-political affairs and the future states of South Asian urban situations.
Discussing South Asia’s urbanization challenges and opportunities, Urban Quest South Asia consisted of round tables, research presentations and plenary discussions where academics, researchers, practitioners and interest groups shared their experiences and exchanged ideas and good practices. The forum was attended by representatives of academic institutions, professional organizations, industry and practitioners.
The President of the Town Planners Association of Sri Lanka and Programme Manager for Disaster Risk Reduction and Urban Planning at UN-Habitat Sri Lanka, Planner Indu Weerasoori, stated “we are extremely pleased to have hosted this important event in Colombo. Sri Lanka is receiving a high level of attention on its urbanization vision from South Asia. It is vital that the country has to be prepared to face future urbanization challenges, make use of opportunities and be on par with global urbanization trends.”
Further details can be obtained from the website: http://mrt.ac.lk/urbanforum2015/