Anjali Korala obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Public Policy (2015) and Master of Philosophy degree specializing in Political Mobilization (2019) from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Currently she is affiliated to the Department of Political Science and Public Policy at the same university as a Senior Lecturer.
Since March 2021 she has been a doctoral candidate of the Institute of Geography. Her doctoral project is focused on the change of the modes of inclusion of slum and shanty dwellers in the city of Colombo after being relocated to the ‘high-rises’ as a result of development induced displacement.
Vertical slums, governance and panopticism: A critical assessment on the governance practices in urban high rises during the Covid-19 pandemic in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Forced displacement and involuntary relocation portray extensive power struggles between the state
and displaced communities while various governing measures can aid and sustain these struggles
in favour of the state. During the Colombo Regeneration Project (2009), Sri Lanka thousands
of slum and shanty dwellers in Colombo were forcibly displaced and involuntary relocated into
government built high rises, planned and constructed at government discretion. These high-rises
turned the previously horizontal slums into vertical, creating new socio-economic and political
problems to the relocated communities. In March 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic government
decided to lockdown some of these high-rises, as a measure to reduce the risk of community spread
due to the increasing number of infected inhabitants.
In such context, this research investigated how the built environment of these high-rises aided
the government in governing the movement of the inhabitants during the lockdown period? The
research was conducted based on a post-positivist approach. Primary data were collected through
In-depth interviews and the interviewees were selected through convenience sampling. Secondary
data were collected through a desk review. Using Michael Foucault’s concept of panopticism, this
paper argues that the government has been able to govern the movement of the inhabitants through
an internal surveillance and a new method of ‘institutionalized network’ had further strengthened
the processes of observation and examination during this period.
Korala, A., 2020, Included to be Excluded? A Critical Assessment on the Inclusion of Slum and Shanty Dwellers into the Urban Regeneration Project, November 30, 2021