3891.92 ha
12 persons / ha

A city is a large human settlement. People are the main driving force in a city. The dynamism of a city is dependent  on people and their behaviour. A preliminary understanding of the composition and diverse capabilities of the populations in a city should be the key to a successful urban study.

This section provides a description of the demographic status and trends in the city, primarily based on 2012 census data, presenting an overall view of the population. Trends and patterns of urban population are discussed including  aspects of demography such as age, sex, ethnicity, education levels; and overall observations with regard to migration patterns, suburban population and gender.

Understanding the demographic and composition patterns of the population within the existing physical boundary will help in planning a livable  city.



Gender Distribution


Connectivity is central to key GoSL strategic aims: to promote economic growth, and to rebalance growth across the country’s 9 provinces. Higher the connectivity to any city, better is the urban growth in that city. 

Detailed information on key transport aspects including bus and rail transport, freight route maps, airports and logistic systems are aspects that should be considered for a city to be properly interconnected within the bigger system. One of the SDG targets 11.2 is about access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems, road safety, public transport, and if we are to move towards being sustainble, these need to be considered in tranpsort planning. Further, the needs of people in vulnerable situations, women and children, persons with disabilities and older persons should also be considered.

ICT coverage is another way of being connected and recent technological advances enable a city to be better connected through its access to ICTs as well.

Accident statistics in Police Divisions (Number of fatal casualties)

Source - Sri Lanka Police Department

This graph shows fatal casualties within the last 3 years. There has been a substantial increase in fatal casualties mirroring the increased traffic in Polonnaruwa MC.


Cities are the primary drivers of economic development, therefore, Sri Lanka’s cities have a decisive role to play in driving the economy forward by catalysing high value-added economic activities, as the country strives to achieve upper middle-income country status.

According the latest Word Cities report, 80 per cent of global GDP is created by cities, despite their accounting for less than 60 per cent of the world’s population (UN-Habitat, 2016).

The Government of Sri Lanka recognizes the role of urban economy in shaping the future of the country. In this respect, Vision 2025 and Public Investment Programme (PIP) 2017-2020 lays out the urban policy priority actions: to promote western region as economic hub of the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, and to promote strategic city development to secondary urban spaces as provincial economic hubs. 

It is also interesting to see how competitive a city is, taking into account current and potential roles of governments, businesses and the private sector in the economic development of the city and urban settlements, best use of human capital,  and labour force participation, and existing skills and the job market etc. within demarcated territory. 

Tourist Arrivals to the area

Source - SL Tourist Development Authority

As categorized by Tourist board annual report of year 2016 Polonnaruwa situated in the grand tour route. And it’s an again a city in Buddhism and beach route. The Foreign tourist arrival to Polonnaruwa is higher than the locals. Approximately it’s double than the locals. And it’s beyond the tourist arrival for Anuradhapura as well. The peak time is February and August. There area around five, star class hotels in the urban center and more than 50 middle scale hotels and guest houses and more than 100 home stay places advertising in the tourist web sites.

Annual Revenue and Expenditure of Local Authority

Source - Polonnaruwa Municipal Council - CDLG Project

Here is a summary of the actual budget of the Polonnaruwa Municipal Council for the year 2018. Detailed information on the budget and actuals for the financial years 2018 and 2019 is available at the following downloads.

Download data file here

Urban Governance

Urban governance can be simplified as “how government (local, regional and national) and stakeholders decide on planning, financing and managing urban areas”. It involves a continuous process of negotiation and contestation over allocation of social and material resources and political power.

This section provide a snapshot of the emergent contours of urban governance in Sri Lanka, focusing on financial resilience, service provision and economic dynamism.

Information available here are collected and calculated considering secondary data sets, ground level surveys as well as stakeholder discussions. The city governance index has taken many a factor into consideration and provides a valuable way of assessing our cities and how they rank from a governance perspective.

Workers related to road sector

Workers related to Sanitation sector

Municipal Services

Municipal services is one of the key tasks an urban centre carries out fto ensure a functional living condition for its citizens.

The access to municipal services and the quality of their provision strongly influence the social, economic and environmental performance of a city as well as urban development.

Urban centres provide key services that underpin Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic development. Cities provide key government administration functions, such as vehicle registration services, access to social protection schemes, and a range of additional services (explored in detail in Chapter 9, urban governance in the SoSLC Report). Urban centres provide residents with health and education services: providing equitable access to quality healthcare and education. They also include services to facilitate social recreational activities and promote community cohesion, such as libraries, community centres and sports facilities. Ensuring quality services is a crucial component in securing an urban future for all Sri Lankans. 

Availability of Services
Availability of Road Inventory
Availability of Asset register
An online system is available for citizen to request services
A "reference no" is issued to the citizen requesting services
A "Front Office" is available
All the services can be accessed at a single location (Front Office) by a visiting citizen
Separate Male/Female toilets are available for the visiting citizen

Source - Polonnaruwa Municipal Council

This data represent the 2018 records. Services delivered to the citizens by the local authority is very important to measure the functionalities and capacities of the local authority.

Cremations and burials in Crematoriums and cemeteries (as a annual value)

Source - Polonnaruwa Municipal Council


Cremations and burials in Crematoriums and cemeteries (Monthly)

Source - Polonnaruwa Municipal Council

The Polonnaruwa Municipal Council was incorporated on 19.03.2018 and the crematorium and cemetery came under the control of the Municipal Council from October 2018.

Heavy vehicles and equipment owned by local authority

Regulatory Services (Applications average per month)

Source - Polonnaruwa Municipal Council

The Municipal council receive different types of applications. Considering the monthly average of the received applications, it is visible that data gapes are there is the available data set.

Commercial places to buy goods

Social services programs

Source - Polonnaruwa Municipal Council

Fund alocation for social servises in the area indicate the facilities provided to develop the quality of the socity. The data elaborate on main sectiones in social servises, and how the budget alocations and expenditure took place in 2018.

Solid Waste Collection (Number of metric tons per month)

Number of training for Capacity Development

Source - Polonnaruwa Municipal Council

Providing trainings to the staff will increase the capacities of the officers in managing and decision making. This data explained on provided trainings and the number of officers trained.

Removal of septage using gully sucker (liters per month)

Libraries and community centers

Source - Polonnaruwa Municipal Council

Libraries and community centres are important elements in urban areas, which facilitate community activities. According to the available data, there are few libraries in Polonnaruwa Municipal Council. Buddhi Mandapa Public Library is common library which majority of the users are dominantly using and it is the first digital library in the Municipal Council. It has 10,770 members (as of March 2021) and currently has between 50 and 60 users per day (before the Corona situation, more than 100 users used the library per day). The Buddhi Mandapa Library has more than 36,500 books (as of March 2021) available to its users. The Ancient Technology Museum Library is a recently built in the new town of Polonnaruwa. It is built on the first floor of the Museum of Ancient Technology. Apart from that, the Polonnaruwa Bandiwewa Public Library is also a children's library within the Municipal Council limits.

Preschools and daycare centers


A city needs to have an environment that is habitable and conducive with appropriate spaces for people who use the city, while also being resilient in the face of increasing climate risk.

Aspects such as a cities’ air and water quality, quality of the built environment as well as the aesthetic and historic aspects in the city are things we need to look at. However, in the light of increasing disaster risk, managing climate change impact in the light of current urbanisation patterns becomes a key concern, and thus land use planning in a city needs to take this into account.

SDG targets 11.4 (safeguarding cultural and natural heritage) and 11.5 (reducing impacts of disasters, especially floods), 11.6 (air quality and waste) and  11.7 (safe, open and green spaces for all groups) all emphasize that for a city to be sustainable, these aspects need to be considered.

Annual average air temperature at observation stations

Source - Department of Meteorology

Here is the change in the annual values of air temprature from 2011 to 2013. According to the Polonnaruwa Observatory station, air temprature in the area is calculated separately for each month and more information can be downloaded from the following detailed statistics.

Download data file here


Cities are dynamic engines which are driven on diverse functions and performances. This space is arranged to visualise the diversity which forms the city.

Polonnaruwa Urban Development Plan

Source - Urban Development Authority

Urban Development Authority is the regulatory body of the urban development of Sri Lanka. Thus, it has been empowered to function as the key urban planning implementing agency in the country by the Urban Development Authority act 41 of 1978. And this Polonnaruwa Urban Development Plan has been formulated as per the powers and functions vested with the Authority under section 8 of the Urban Development Authority (Amendment) Act, No.4 of 1982. The authority's mission is to Promote Integrated Planning and implementing the economic, social, environmental, and physical development of the declared urban areas. The above ambitions are framing the main objective of the preparation of this development plan.
The study area of this development plan is located in Polonnaruwa Municipal Council and selected Grama Niladhari divisions in Polonnaruwa Pradeshiya Sabha area of Polonnaruwa district in Northcentral province of Sri Lanka. Polonnaruwa Town Council area has been declared as an Urban Development Area in extra-ordinary gazetted notification no 38/16 of June 10, 1979. Yet again in 2005 Selected 22 GN divisions of Thamankaduwa Pradeshiya Sabha (56.7 sqm) has been declared as Urban Development Area by extra-ordinary gazette notification no: 1397/1 in 13/06/2005 and It has been practiced a drafted development plan from 2008 to 2018 for the above area.

Download Development Plan HERE

Thematic maps


Polonnaruwa Municipal Council area: 

Polonnaruwa Municipal Council covers an area of 3891.92 hectares. (Data Source _ Survey Department)

Download Map Here                     Download Data Layer Here  


Distribution of Grama Niladhari Divisions in Polonnaruwa Municipal Council:

Further details related to its 18 Grama Niladhari Divisions can be seen by downloading the map. (Data Source: Survey Department)

Download Map Here                       Download Data Layer Here


Road Map of Polonnaruwa Municipal Council:

The road map for Polonnaruwa Municipal Council shows information on the road classifications. Road names are visible in the detailed layer which can be downloaded. This has been updated in 2020.(Data Source _ Openstreetmap)

Download Map Here                        Download Data Layer Here




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Proper management of land, a scarce resource, can bring about many benefits. This is of great importance especially in urban areas.


It is timely to figure out how land is allocated and being used for what purpose in our cities today. In order to create well planned cities with a futuristic vision, having a better understanding of current land use is imperative.


Land use maps are categorized into 36 sub-categories under two types – built-up and non built-up. The extent of land in each of these sub categories are indicated below.


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3775.86 (ha)
  • Low Rise
    • 2810.67
  • Retail
    • 132.6
  • Factory
    • 806.58
  • Park/Square
    • 6.74
    • 16.39
    • 2.88
9018.33 (ha)
    • 3881.97
    • 1788.06
    • 3318.47
    • 19.20
    • 7.62
    • 3.01


In all of the cities it can be identified that the higher densities are concentrated in the city centres and the expansion is taken place along the roads. The expansion pattern is shaped by the geography of the surrounding area.


The selection of the area for the urban expansion analysis was followed by several preliminary studies. Initially, the urban index values which was identified using the remote sensing information were studied in the respective municipal areas including a fringe area.
Before selecting interested area for the expansion analysis it should consider following facts
- Municipal boundary
- At least 2-3 km buffer around Municipal boundary
- Rough boundary where the physical urban character disappearing


In the remote sensing discipline, the values higher than 0 represent the built-up areas.The boundary for the fringe area was identified by getting the extent of urban expansion as well as a fine boundary where the high-density expansion become insignificant. The identified boundaries were projected on to the latest satellite images to assure the identified urban index values are in line with the existing building densities.



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Urban expansion statistics
Polonnaruwa Municipal Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 %
Urban change 1995 - 2017