Research for Better Quality of Urban Life: the Build4People Project

The Build4People project aims to research and promote the use of sustainable buildings and sustainable urbanization through re-configuring the urban transformation pathway of Phnom Penh. Thereby, 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.

Latest News

Stay up-to-date with our latest activities

EuroCham Cambodia organizes joint webinar with Build4People

On 22 September 2021, the European Chamber of Commerce of Cambodia did organize a joint webinar with Build4People as co-partner. The webinar title was “Green Building Certification as Driver for a Sustainable Transition of the Real Estate Sector”.

Thereby, the focus was on how to raise construction quality through green building certification, an update on what quantifies a healthy & green building and the regional progress of building and neighborhood certification with case studies from Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

Topics covered included: Introduction of sustainability approaches of Build4People project; German Sustainable Building Certification applied in the Asia Region; Regional progress of Certified Green Buildings and Quality Aspects; and Benefits of Certification of Sustainable neighborhoods based on the Introduction of Case Studies.

Excerpt from presentation of Dr. Dirk SCHWEDE, Leader WP “Sustainable Building” of Build4People Project
Excerpt from presentation of Mr. Rolf MESSERSCHMIDT, Leader WP “Sustainable Neighbourhoods” of Build4People Project
Excerpt from presentation of Dr. Stephan ANDERS, German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB)

The webinar session was concluded by a panel discussion comprised of industry experts focusing on the benefits of green buildings for Cambodia’s real estate sector. It also showcased in-country initiatives, such as the Cambodia Green Building Council and upcoming innovative building projects that focus on eco-friendly construction for a more sustainable working and healthy living environment.

All in all, it can be said, that the EuroCham did a great job in organizing this event which was only the first of an envisaged series to disseminate the sustainability approaches of the Build4People project mainly to the corporate sector in Cambodia.

Build4People project introduced at TRIALOG Annual Conference 2021

On 16 September 2021, Build4People joined a session at the TRIALOG Annual Conference 2021. The session was organized by Kai Michael Dietrich, Technical School of Applied Sciences Lübeck, member of the so-called accompanying project of the SURE (Sustainable Development of Urban Regions) programme, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The session’s topic was about the role of civil society organisations in regard of the promotion of sustainable urban development. 

At first, Kai Michael Dietrich provided a general overview of the long-term SURE programme which has a funding horizon till the year 2027.

Then, the Build4People representative Michael Waibel introduced about the approach of this multi- and transdisciplinary project and paid specific regard to the role of civil society organisations.

This was followed by a presentation of Ania Wilk-Pham, TU Berlin, who introduced about the PolyUrbanWater project which is doing action research in Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.

Afterwards, an extensive panel discussion took place, moderated by Prof. Dr. Deden Rukmana from Alabama A&M University, with participation of several civil society organisation representatives from Indonesia and from Cambodia. One panelist was also Natharoun Ngo, General Director of the Centre for Khmer Studies (CKS). CKS is one of the dissemination partners of the Build4People project.

In the course of the panel discussion Natharoun Ngo said among other things, that critical to success of civil society organisations are their specific outreach and engagement capacities. Natharoun further highlighted that civil society organisations should avoid taking short-cuts in cooperating with donors and should generally act in a very professional way, for example, in regard of gathering quantitative data or doing qualitative interviews. Finally, Natharoun requested civil society organisations to avoid an opportunistic approach, which means not solely to focus on activities where most funding can be acquired. Instead he advocated to better focus on the most pressing urban issues.

The Build4People project signed Memorandum of Understanding with Phnom Capital Administration

On 18 August 2021, the Build4People project, represented by Hamburg University, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Phnom Capital Administration (PPCA) which is the most important implementation partner of Build4People.

This MoU will set the basis for the application of the empirical research results of the Build4People work packages during the RD phase (2021-2025) and Implementation Phase (due to 2025-2027) with the overall aim to improve urban quality of life for Phnom Penh citizens.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this efforts, particularly to Mr. Seng Vannak, Director of Administration at PPCA.


Build4People contributes to podcast of the Southeast Asia Globe

We are happy to announce that a podcast has been recently published about “Urban Planning: Building the future of Phnom Penh” through Anakut

Anakut is a podcast about Cambodia, where it stands today and where it’s moving into the future, edited by the Southeast Asia Globe. In each episode, guests discuss a major thematic issue affecting the Kingdom of Wonder. The podcast is a Southeast Asia Globe production in partnership Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Cambodia.

Dr Michael Waibel had the honor to contribute to it as Build4People representative together the General Director of the Centre of Khmer Studies, Dr. Natharoun Ngo.

In case you are interested in this podcast, please follow this link: