Posted on January 3rd, 2010

L. Jayasooriya

The government has announced a massive 600,000 unit condominium project for the “so-called” low income groups. Irrespective of the definition of “low income groups” the idea is sound and is the most economical provided a few vital factors are borne in mind.

The first is the choice of the architect. It is most important that the architect chosen knows his work because there are many who have disgraced the profession as can be seen by the quality of the two storey flats they have been building for the so-called middle class. Most of those flats have now gone into decay. Then look at the Premadasa three storey flats that are an eyesore. Look at the public buildings they have created such as the market building at Mount Lavinia junction or the so-called plaza at Nugegoda.

A former Director General of Health Services told me that none of the hospitals in the country have been properly designed to do their function. Don’t go very far. Those who have to go to the income tax department to pay their taxes still have to stop breathing as they enter the place. These architects are people who do not know how to design a toilet. What else can the country expect from them? Fortunately we also have good architects like those who designed the Majestic City but this is a class that came up recently the notable exception being the architect Bawa.

If the government wants to build these flats to house illegal occupants of land in prime areas close to the Capital city or any city then they are cheap politicians looking just for the vote and have no interest in the country at heart. These people are not contributors to the country in any way other than labour of whatever category. They should be located elsewhere and never on prime land.

I am not an architect but these are my ideas. To people in the class that contributes the least their condominiums should be arranged as several blocks each in a big square or rectangle with no balconies to the exterior to prevent them hanging up clothes for drying. They have to dry their clothes inside or in an area outside the door but within their premises. In the rectangle inside the building complex there should be several cricket pitches for soft ball and several netball courts. Outside this building complex there should be a perimeter strip of green with a walking strip and park benches for the recreation of senior citizens and mothers with young children. There should be a good access road with a bus service.

Has the government forgotten about the young professional classes graduating every year for whom employment is possible mostly in Colombo? It is this class of people who should be housed in those areas in condominiums at affordable prices. If the government has not considered this class of people then the government is just looking for the votes of the majority only. This class of people should be provided with modern one bedroom flats up to North American standards setting the pace for the standard of living for young professionals who could be renters or buyers. These condominiums should be managed by educated professional men that will not interfere with the residents. There should be a board to which any complaints could be made.

Then there is another class of people who are retired. They need not live in the city and they do not like to live in the polluted city either but they live there only because of the security of the availability of emergency medical attention and for no other reason. These people could be both buyers and renters of property and they will pay the rent. For these people various classes of condominiums could be built in an area with medical facilities, supermarkets, banks etc. with large recreational space for walking and for relaxation. The most important part of the medical facilities will be a cardiac unit with intensive care facilities. The cost of that will be nothing compared to the benefits of moving most of the senior citizens out of the crowded city creating a very substantial increase in available accommodation in the city as a bonus.


  1. Priyantha Abeywickrama Says:

    This is an interesting article that touches one of our socio-political platforms. Though we care less about housing issue, it is a fundamental natural right for humanity that demands top priority. We have developed technologically superior standards to that found in the West under this life essential, discarding western influences to the dustbin of history. Instead of low, medium and high class stuff, we find that the best standard housing that accommodate life as in nature with all the devices needed to relieve us from all unnatural acts we do today is more cost effective, which will ultimately lead to establish this right to every one of us wishing to live a luxurious life longer. Building substandard clumsy housing designed to comply with a meagre set of regulations as found in the West could be more appropriate for beautiful prisons that give maximum pain to those living inside them.

    By rejecting current practices, we have come across technology that would not in any way turn the pristine natural land to a wasteland, which could turn to a desert in time to come when the society collapses under pressure as found in other ancient historical events. I hope what is proposed could be another wasteful attempt by the least competent lot making decisions on behalf of the community. In fact we intend to demonstrate this technology by creating high rise buildings in our second ancient major city to standards that are far superior to what you find today contributing to create huge death traps during emergencies or disturbing the surface stability. We are in fact seeking like-minded people to demonstrate our capabilities in this area. If we follow the current sub-standards, very soon we will have only bricks and concrete to eat considering our limited land resources. In fact, application of this technology would transform Colombo in to a pristine tropical nature reserve accommodating a population several times larger but locally self sufficient in essential foods to meet our socio-political interests. We have also developed integrated transport systems that does not require land travel among others. Imagine how much land is already consumed to create horrible dead-land road structure built to accommodate the most wasteful vehicular (dump truck) transport. It is a grave crime to clear the natural landscape that will bring about our extinction.

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