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

Build4People Urban Quality of Life Workshop at Magdeburg University

On 24 November 2022, the Build4People Urban Quality of Life Workshop took place at the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg.

Build4People Work Package (WP) #1 “Behaviour Change” hosted this event and had invited all WP’s to present and discuss important facets of UQoL from their disciplinary perspective mainly based on the jointly compiled Build4People household survey which had been conducted from April till June 2022. 

For Build4People urban quality of life is the common link of our scientific-conceptional, analytical and normative dimension, which we consider to be the general foundation for our people-driven approach. Our team considers the notion of urban quality of life to be a multiple-dimensional concept that brings together physical, psychological, social and ecological aspects and takes into account both subjectively perceived well-being and objective conditions. 

Due to illness and other reasons our Build4People team group was pretty small but nevertheless, we have been able to fruitfully discuss empirical results to measure and to conceptualize urban quality of life in Phnom Penh in a very friendly atmosphere.

During the short inputs of each WP there were effective, active discussions between all participants concerning the key topics of each WP regarding UQoL which lead to fruitful exchanges. Furthermore, it was discussed which kind of papers in collaboration between the WPs are essential important to be written and submitted based on the results of the UQoL survey 2022. Consequently, the next collaborative steps of these multi-disciplinary sub-projects were decided. 

We are thankful that this workshop could take place this year and that we have been able to fruitfully discuss empirical results to measure and to conceptualize urban quality of life in Phnom Penh.

Thanks for the very active and dedicated engagement to all participants!

Case Study presented of Build4People’s Ecocity Transition Lab during Training Workshop organized by Board of Architects of Cambodia of Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction

On 19 October 2022, the Board of Architects of Cambodia (BAC) of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), with an approval of H.E Deputy prime Minister, Minister of MLMUPC has organized a virtual training workshop chaired by the BAC secretariat, H.E Chhay Rithisen. 

The first session with the topic “Sustainable Urban Transformation and Planning” was led by Dr Makathy Tep, General Director of the Cambodian Institute of Urban Studies (CIUS) and Dean of Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning (FAUP) at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia. 

Thereby, Makathy extensively presented the case study of the Build4People Ecocity Transition Lab (ECTL) approach serving as a best practice example how to organize a collaborate planning workshop involving multiple stakeholders with the aim to communicate alternative and evidently more sustainable neigbourhood planning visions. The ETCL involves a charette as very compact and effective design approach and an experts’ workshop trying to enhance qualities by mutual transfer of knowledge in an iterative, interactive and transdisciplinary process. Both Build4People Ecocity Transition Labs, implemented in 2020 and 2022, were based on a case study in the rapidly urbanizing Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district.

This was followed by experience sharing on the making of a participatory land use master planning in Battambang and the Battambang municipality building conservation (the good thing takes time) led by Water Koditek, an urban designer and the well-known author of the Architecture Guidebook Phnom Penh. 

In total, more than 200 participants from various government institutions, private sector, national and international practitioners, academia, and students of architecture and urban planning joint the event held from 2:00-6:00 pm. 

A very vibrant discussion was held after the presentations of the two speakers, moderated by BAC secretariat. Participants has posted their comments in chart room as well as direct comments to BAC showing high appreciation and relevant of the subject, clarity and high level of confidence of the explanation and messages, engagement between speakers and participants, and the very useful material for their references in work. At the end of the workshop, BAC has drafted and submitted event report to H.E Deputy Prime Minister for his information.

Build4People Work Package “Urban Green Infrastructures”: Thermal UAV System granted to research partner at Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh

During the most recent stay of the Build4People team in Phnom Penh in October 2022, the Build4People consortium leader Dr Michael Waibel together with the Build4People Work Package #4 “Urban Green Infrastructures” leader Prof Dr Jan-Peter Mund had the pleasure to hand over a state-of-the-art Thermal UAV Camera System to their research partner at the Faculty for Land Management and Land Administration (FLMLA) at the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA). 

Dr. Waibel presented the UAV System to one of the RUA Vice-Rectors during the WP#4 Science Workshop at FLMLA on 03 October 2022.

After the workshop scientists from RUA were able to test the new system in collaboration with Build4People UAV experts from the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE). Jointly, they were applying the Thermal UAV Camera system for empirical remote sensing research on the topic of “Urban Quality of Life” and sustainable urban development in Phnom Penh. 

The UAV camera system can detect thermal surface emissions and contributes to the understanding and mitigation of the Urban Heat Island in Phnom Penh with empirical surface temperature measurements. Furthermore, the FLMLA team at RUA will integrate this UAV system into various teaching and training courses of the new curricula for sustainable urban and rural planning which will be offered soon at RUA.

Build4People Work Package “Urban Climate” published first draft an urban climatic map for Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Urban climatic analysis with the outcome of an urban climatic map is an essential tool for sustainable urban development, particularly to reduce the urban heat island effects. Therefore, a comprehensive study of the meteorological conditions in Phnom Phan was carried out by the Build4People Work Package “Urban Climate”, led by the principal investigator Prof Dr Lutz Katzschner, professor emeritus at Kassel University and co-founder of INKEK, Institute for Climate and Energy Strategies GmbH, with strong support from research colleagues at RUPP, Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The now published 1st draft of the Phnom Penh Urban Climate Map is a major milestone of the Build4People project because it provides a complete picture of a city wide structure of the urban heat island, hot spots but also areas which are needed for ventilation and nocturnal cooling. Moreover, is shows the important air corridors. The ventilation in Phnom Penh is characterised by dominating winds using these corridors but at the same time thermal induced circulations occur which are for advantage of thermal comfort and wellbeing. 

The calibration of the map is carried out with reference station of all meteorological parameters set-up by the local research partners from RUPP. 

The method used is a standardised analysis carried out in many countries. The classification of climatopes in extreme heat to moderate and cool climates gives valuable recommendation for each neighbourhood and will be transformed to a urban climate recommendation map.