Port City Colombo Master Plan, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Port City Colombo

Port City Colombo is a large-scale integrated city being developed on more than 200ha of reclaimed land near Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is the single biggest private sector development in the country and expected to transform Colombo into a commerce, tourism and cultural hub.

The project will be an extension of the Colombo Central Business District and create a high-quality urban environment measuring more than five million square metres for approximately 40,000 residents and visitors. China Communication Construction is developing the project through its subsidiary China Harbor Engineering Construction (CHEC).

The $1.4bn urban project is expected to be completed by 2041 and will include residences, schools, offices, hotels, exhibitions, leisure, and commercial and public spaces.

Port City Colombo master plan details

The new city will comprise five main urban precincts or districts, namely International Island, Island Living, Central Park Living, Financial District and The Marina.

"It is the single biggest private sector development in the country and expected to transform Colombo into a commerce, tourism and cultural hub."

International Island will be a commercial and leisure destination featuring a resort and theme park, convention and exhibition centre, healthcare and education facilities, as well as a waterway park.

The Island Living district will feature villa-style residences and public parks, including the Malvathu Park. A city beach will run along the southern edge of the district. The Central Park Living district will include open blocks, public parks and pavilions.

The Financial District will offer Grade A office space and serve as a retail destination. The Marina provides access to the sea and includes public parks and water features.

Canal quays and boulevards across all districts will serve as meeting points and view-points. The development is protected from rising sea levels and high waves by a 3km-long offshore breakwater.

Design of the Sri Lankan urban development

The proposed design of the development is influenced by the diverse landscape and intricate tropical climate of the country. The development provides striking views with a clear hierarchy when viewed from key locations within the city.

The public parks, meeting points and gardens are also inspired from Sri Lanka's unique geography and ecology. The central civic plaza of the development is inspired from the hanging gardens and features sheltered promenades. The design of the canal quays is based on the lagoons and coastline of the country.

Reclamation and construction works

Construction works began with the reclamation of land for the project. As of June 2017, 45% of the reclamation process was completed.

The project is expected to require 2.83 million cubic metres of quarry material and 65 million cubic metres of dredged sea sand for the reclamation. The quarry materials will be obtained from licensed quarries located within 48km radius of the site.

The first piece of land for construction is expected to be ready by mid-2018, while the entire reclamation is scheduled for completion in 2020.

Sustainable features of the Port City Colombo

Port City Colombo will be developed as a green city featuring an abundant open area, waterways and parks. The buildings will feature green roofs, while car parks will include tree shading.

Pedestrian-friendly spaces, public transportation systems and bicycle lanes will be developed to promote pedestrian and cycling transportation system, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Rainwater harvesting will be used to conserve water and reduce the use of portable water.

Contractors involved

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill developed the masterplan for the development, while Grant Associates was the landscaping architect.

ATDesignOffice provided sustainability, landscaping and urban design services for the project, while CDR International is providing design services for the reclamation and marine works. CDR International subcontracted Svašek Hydraulics to provide modelling services.

Atkins conducted a study to assess the development of a marina as part of the project, while Sweco is responsible for developing the city plan of the Port City.

Other key players involved in the project include Surbana Jurong, AECOM, Faithful+Gould, JLL, NARA, LHI Coast and Water, Varners, CBRE and CECB.