Research for a sustainable Cambodia: the Build4People Project

The Build4People project aims to research and promote the use of sustainable buildings and sustainable urbanization in Phnom Penh. Therefore it focuses on people’s aspirations and their behaviour. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Project Objectives

Our project promotes sustainable buildings and sustainable urban development from a people-centred perspective. We aim at lowered greenhouse gas, pollutant emissions, a better indoor environment, an increase of urban green, a healthier urban climate. Read more.

Project Originality

The trans-disciplinary Build4People project connects scientific-conceptional and analytical aspects. The superior normative bracket is always the urban quality of life. We align people’s needs and aspirations with tools to benefit their living. Read more.

Project Relevance

Cambodia’s traditional architecture took climate conditions into account. Today dynamic economic growth affects the way buildings are built and operated which is not energy-efficient nor tropical climate adapted. Reasons enough for B4P. Read more.

Project Set-up

10 partners across continents join forces to implement 7 work packages: from Behaviour Change, Sustainable Buildings and Neighbourhoods, to Urban Green, Urban Climate to Sustainable Urban Transformation and Coordination. Read more.

Project Approach

The Build4People project considers sustainable, people-centred urban development as a crosscutting task. A genuinely people-centred planning system can neither be expected to “evolve by itself” nor is it feasible through legal regulations only. Our diverse team includes Cambodian and German partners which cooperate on a trans-disciplinary basis. Together they will develop innovative concepts aimed at urban sustainability that are based on scientific and regional expertise. The integrating link of our scientific-conceptional, analytical and normative dimension is the urban quality of life, which we consider to be the general foundation for our people-driven approach. The research consortium will carry out field research together with the most renowned local universities. Based on these insights, context-specific interventions will be implemented together with a number of core actors most important of all the Phnom Penh Capital Administration. Locally established multipliers such as the European Chamber of Commerce or the Cambodia Architect & Decor fair will support the dissemination of our approaches.

A strong partnership to deliver research results

Academic Quality
We gathered a team with a proven record of academic excellence, extensive regional expertise and solid project experience.

Transdisciplinary Approach
We draw from expertise and methods from Human Geography, Architecture, Urban Planning, Enviromental Psychology, Civil Engineering, Remote Sensing, Geoinformatics and Climate Research.

Cross-border cooperation
German Universities and private sector actors collaborate with Cambodia partners from the academic arena, the municial setting and responsible ministrial offices.

Work Packages

Work Packages

The work package teams cooperate together, share their findings and develop joint deliverables as part of action research processes. Tools and products systematically build upon each other. Learning curves and feedback loops are incorporated into the project design.

Latest News

Stay up-to-date with our latest activities

Successful Build4People Strategic Publication Planning Workshop, 10 June 2021

On 10 June 2021, the Build4People Strategic Publication Planning Workshop took place. Participants were the German and the Cambodian research team members.

This main objective of this event was to discuss and to develop a smart and coherent joint medium and long-term Build4People publication strategy thereby aiming to increase the overall scientific impact of the Build4People project. Another aim was to synchronize the overall Build4People publication strategy with the qualification aims of the emerging scholars of the Build4People team.

In the course of the workshop the publication strategy of each scientific work package and potential journals with high impact factors got introduced. Among others, there were intense discussions about the scientific recognition of some open access journals, versus more established academic journals with often restricted access from publishers of the Global North.

It was also highlighted that a transparent publication approach should be pursued by all Build4People team members which includes inviting the others to share their ideas and creativity, so no one feels excluded. This procedure was also regarded as essential to reflect the multi- and trans-disciplinary approach of the Build4People project.

In conclusion, it can be said that such a workshop was regarded as a very important tool to achieve a better joint understanding about Build4People’s publication strategy within the whole Build4People team.

Participation of Build4People at ASEAN-IEA Webinar „Regulatory Frameworks and the Role of Governments in Buildings Policy Development”, 04 June 2021

On 04 June 2021, the Build4People consortium leader Dr Michael Waibel, Hamburg University, and the WP#2 “Sustainable Building” Leader Dr Dirk Schwede, Stuttgart University, took part in the webinar „Regulatory Frameworks and the Role of Governments in Buildings Policy Development”, hosted by the ASEAN Centre for Energy and organised by the International Energy Agency, the ASEAN Centre for Energy and the ASEAN Secretariat.

The main of this webinar with over 200 participants was to explore best practice for designing and implementing buildings policies for supporting the transition to zero-carbon and sustainable buildings. 

Michael and Dirk both provided insights based on their involvement into the research projects CAMaRSEC “Climate-adapted Material Research for the Socio-economic Context in Vietnam” and Build4People “Enhancing Quality of Life through Sustainable Urban Transformation in Cambodia”.

Furthermore, an implementation partner of Build4People took part, Mr. Sokhai NOP, Deputy Director of the Department of Green Economy at the General Secretariat of the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) at the Cambodian Ministry of Environment. His task, among others, is to promote a sustainability certification system for buildings in Cambodia.

Build4People would like to express its deep gratitude to be given the opportunity to present its approaches during this high-level webinar and would like to particularly thank to Emily McQualter from International Energy Agency and to Ian Hamilton from ULR Energy Institute / International Energy Agency.

Press release of Hamburg University to announce start of Build4People Research and Development funded by BMBF

On 25 May 2021, the Office for Public Relations at Hamburg University published an official press release informing the general public and media representatives on the start of the four-year Research and Development phase of the Build4People project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). 

Link to web-site of Hamburg University with press release

Link to press release (PDF-file)

Many interesting insights during the Build4People Roundtable Workshop “Discussion of Household Survey Results”, 20 May 2021

Today, about 25 members of the Build4People team from Germany and Cambodia discussed the preliminary results of a large-scale household survey among 500 households of the urban population of Phnom Penh. 

The rationale behind the survey was to learn more about the building user perspective in the context of resource and energy consumption, feeling of thermal comfort and mechanical cooling habits, environmental awareness, behaviour patterns and attitudes.

Each B4P Work Package had contributed questions to this multi-disciplinary joint survey under the lead of the environmental psychologists from Magdeburg University, responsible for Build4People Work Package #1 “Behaviour Change” and with logistic support from Work Package #7 “Coordination, Communication & Dissemination”.

This Build4People Roundtable Workshop served following aims:

  • Introduction of the preliminary results of the large-scale Build4People household survey 
  • Discussion of results together with the local research partners to get feedback in regard of local political, socio-economic and cultural context
  • Lessons learnt from Build4People household survey in regard of methodology and design of future surveys
  • Discussion of further steps of analysis
  • Preliminary discussion on how to publish Build4People household survey results by different author teams

During the half-day workshop intense discussions took place together with the local research partners. For example, in regard of methodology, it was discussed how to avoid the “tendency to the middle” of questions with a Likert scale including 5 answering options. Another question raised was how to deal with the urban citizen’s preference to live in the traditional shophouse typology with commercial use of the ground-floor in the city-centre or in a borey row-house typology in the urban periphery, both with specific disadvantages in terms of urban sustainability. To support those wishes would be a people-led policy and enhance the individual quality of life of those people but it would also lead to a decrease of the overall urban sustainability and further decrease the urban quality of life of the urban marginalized who are not able to realise their housing needs due to financial constraints.

Slide showing the iterative process of the survey development
Slide showing survey structure with thematic inputs from all Build4People Work Packages
Impression from Conceptboard during a break-out session discussing questions related to sustainable building and sustainable neighbourhoods

A more detailed documentation of the Build4People Roundtable Workshop ”Discussion of Household Survey Results” has been published at the “event” page of this website.