South Asian Urban Forum, Jointly organized by the Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Moratuwa, Institute of Town Planners Sri Lanka, Urban Development Authority, National Physical Planning Department and South Asian Knowledge Hub Project will be held on September22, 2015 in Colombo.
Asia is emerging as the future giant of the economic affairs, geo-politics and the technological advancements of the globe, and it is often said that this rapid growth in the Asian economies is closely associated with the equally rapid urbanization processes, proliferating across all over Asia. According to statistical projections more than half of the world urban population will be found in Asian cities towards the middle of this century and South Asia will be the home for a major portion of that urban population. Many of the largest urban agglomerations are currently located in South Asia and nearly one quarter of the world trade and transactions are based in those locations. In that context South Asia is already playing a major role in Urbanizing Asia.
For this reason alone, South Asia has been at the focus of many business forums, intellectual discussions, scholarly work and research projects. Yet, a great majority of them approach South Asia through conventional West-centered vantage points. In spite of the voluminous body of literature found on cities, societies and urbanization in South Asia, not many of them explored South Asia from the views of South Asians. Instead they all seem to have imposed pre-conceptualized ‘cities’ and ‘urban processes’ in order to studythe form, substance, socio-spatial dynamics, geo-political affairs and the future states of South Asian urban situations.
In this background, the South Asian Urban Forum intends bring the urban researchers, practitioners and interest groups together and to provide an opportunity to initiate grounds for the long felt need to explore the South Asian Urban Quest.
Sri Lanka, the geographic center of South Asia, is one of the places that receive the high level of attention of all upcoming urban affairs of the world and therefore, it has to be prepared to face the challenges, make use of the opportunities and to be par with the global trends of urbanization. For this reason alone, this time Sri Lanka is inviting all responsible agencies and interested parties in South Asia to develop an urban agenda for the region that is ‘South Asian’ in its form and content.
South Asia Urban Forum which is a long-felt need by all researchers, academics and the urban interest groups in South Asia, is an initiative of the Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Moratuwa and jointly organized by the Urban Development Authority of Sri Lanka, National Physical Planning Department and the Institute of Town Planners Sri Lanka, with the participation of research and practicing organizations in the SAARC countries.
The forum will consist of round tables, research presentations and practice sessions where the academics, researchers, practitioners and interest groups will get together to make their voice, share their experience, exchange their ideas and to build relationships in order to set out a long journey towards finding South Asia and its Urban Quest. 53
The forum will be attended by academic institutions, professional organizations, industry practices and interested individuals both from South Asia and international context to air their views, present their findings, and for networking. 32
Colombo, the moderate size costal South Asian city which was known historically for its attractiveness as the Garden City of the East, and that has been attracting the attention of many from recent times for the transformations taking place within it, is the venue for the forum. The main event, marked by the research and practice conference, will take place over two days. On September 22, a forum of the researchers, academics and practitioners will take place at Cinnamon Lakeside, located at the heart of Colombo. On September 23, a public forum, open for all interested parties will take place in open grounds at Arcade Independence at Colombo 7.
The organizers of the event invite all those who are interested and have valuable contributions towards making our urban areas more livable and responsive. Further details are available at web site:http://mrt.ac.lk/urbanforum2015/