The neighborhood imp.
I’ve written about post-war development in Sri Lanka, mainly Colombo. These are mostly government projects, or big business. What about the hood? Are low and middle income places developing as well?
Where I live is kinda middle-income, I guess. It gets hood (watte) near the canal and vaguely gentrifies up. I rent an annex in a large garden property, but everything around is lata pata concrete low/middle income housing. This is mainly a trishaw and squat toilet kinda neighborhood. The people here drive cabs or sell things, or take the bus or motorbikes to work. I get my dry goods from a Sinhalese, vegetables from a Tamil and meat from a Muslim, so the place is kinda mixed. The language at the places I eat is usually Tamil. My immediate neighbors are Sinhala and Muslim. There are a few big houses, but a lot of smaller ones with way more people in them.
So that’s where I live. How are the people doing? Has post-war development meant anything to them?
Well, on the main road someone has opened a new, branded bakery (Wonder Bakery), and bought some advertising space at the police post. Right on the corner, some dudes redid a room of a house, painted it blue and have started selling trishaw parts. Up my lane there was a second floor that was unfinished forever, and now they’re finishing it. This is above a trishaw repair shop.
This isn’t a proper sample or anything, but I’ve started seeing changes where I live, which hasn’t changed for over a year. I guess it kinda started when they repaved the main road like 6 months ago. Now I’ve been seeing personal, low-level investments, though people still don’t pick up the garbage that clogs up the drain. I’ve noticed that people are getting meters for their trishaws now, converting spaces for commercial use, and generally spending and earning a bit more than they did last year. Again, it’s not a comprehensive study or anything, but I have seen some development in the hood.