Build4People: Enhancing Quality of Life through Sustainable Urban Transformation in Cambodia (funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF)
Dynamic economic growth and a building boom are currently reshaping urban space in Cambodia. These processes are heavily dominated by short-term profit interests that marginalize needs-based or sustainability dimensions. Despite high local electricity prices and a long tradition of climate-mitigating vernacular architecture and urban patterns, most of the recently constructed buildings are neither energy-efficient nor adapted to the tropical climate. At the same time, the development towards a modern consumer society in Cambodia is leading to more resource-intensive lifestyles. This significantly affects the way buildings are designed, built and operated. Issues of sustainability have still not been sufficiently addressed by local decision-makers and stakeholders in the construction industry, the relevant ministries, the educational institutions and building users.
To address these issues, the Build4People Project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aims to research and promote sustainable building and urban development practices in Cambodia as well as pathways towards their realization. It has a long-term funding perspective with a project duration spread across several phases for a total of 8 years. The funding volume of the current 18-month definition phase is about 900,000 Euro.
The project team considers sustainable, people-centred urban development as a cross-cutting task. A genuinely people-centred planning system can neither be expected to “evolve by itself” nor is it feasible solely through legal regulations. Our multi-disciplinary team focuses on the alignment of people’s needs and aspirations with tools to benefit and enhance urban sustainability, and people’s quality of life. We thus seek to research and support the sustainable urban transformation of Phnom Penh with positive effects on urban sustainability through more energy- and resource-efficient buildings and neighbourhoods, significantly lowered pollutant emissions, an increase of urban green, a healthier urban climate, raised awareness among decision makers, modified behaviour among the citizens, and an overall better quality of urban life.
The research team includes Cambodian and German partners from several disciplines who cooperate on a transdisciplinary basis. Led by the University of Hamburg, the consortium brings together four universities and two SMEs from Germany and three Cambodian universities. This includes the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Royal University of Agriculture and the Cambodian Institute for Urban Studies, and School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Paññāsāstra University. Together we will research and develop innovative concepts aimed at urban sustainability that are based on scientific and regional expertise. The notion value of “quality of urban life” links the seven different work packages. As project leader, the University of Hamburg is responsible for actively promoting the trans-disciplinary integration. Based on the gained insights, context-specific interventions will be implemented together with a number of core actors such as Phnom Penh City Hall and the relevant national ministry. Locally established multipliers, such as the European Chamber of Commerce, the Cambodia Architect & Decor industrial fair, and a secondary education institution, which we will guide in developing a Green School Demonstration Project, will support the further dissemination of our approaches.
At the Department of Geography of Hamburg University, we are responsible for the work packages “Sustainable Urban Transformation” (WP#6) and “Coordination, Communication and Dissemination” (WP#7).
- Dr. Michael Waibel (Leader WP#6 and WP#7)
- Ravi Jayaweera (Research Associate WP#6)
More information can be found at the Build4People Web-Site