The urban environment is a complex matrix of physical, social and economic generators that are the prime initiators of change. The urban environment acts as any living organism in that it changes over time according to certain uncontrollable changes such as population growth and climate change and certain controllable changes such as economic growth or state intervention. While establishing that each urban problem and solution is unique to each specific urban area it can be said that the objective of such developments are the same. The end objective of all urban regeneration attempts is to ensure an ultimate urban responsiveness. Urban responsiveness would ideally be a situation where the users of the urban environments are provided with a setting which is rich in both opportunity and choice.

The success of urban responsiveness within a particular city is directly dependent on the end users. Whether a city or a town is responsive would be indicated by the ease with which people within that city can access and use its facilities. It can be said that man made built fabric in every aspect controls human behavior in a given environment,     for example a boundary wall will not allow a person to access and will rule out visibility while a fence will allow visibility but limit access. Therefore the manipulation of the major urban built forms will be the determiner of how responsive the environment in question is to become.

The designers involved in an urban design project should therefore work with the promise of progress and deliberation of providing the ultimate responsiveness to the      people of its city. To be responsive the urban design proposals should exercise an adequate degree of permeability which governs the visual and physical access allowed. The more permeable a city is, more available are the alternate avenues both physical and visual throughout the city. The designs should carry variety where the people can be sure of a range of experiences. Richness of the urban environment would ensure the maximum choice of sensory experiences available.Urban designs should also carry a great deal of robustness as the ability to change is a key element necessary for survival. The environment in question should be able to adapt to the uncontrollable and controllable changes and therefore robustness is of utmost necessity when it comes to designing within the dynamic urban fabric. Places that are designed for the people as a whole should carry meaning and must be legible in that the design ideals must be easily appreciated not by the designer but the people. If the design ideals such as pathways, parks are not easily identifiable by its people then that given environment would fail to be legible thereby failing to become responsive.

It is of great importance to understand that appropriate design ideals should be linked to the existing environment with the end objective of responsiveness in mind to achieve success in urban regeneration. The success we see in the post war regeneration in our country can be considered as a starting point from which Sri Lanka can grow to become a global example of successful regeneration.

Peshali Perera