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 Hall and the developer company Peng Huoth Group. Locally established multipliers such as the European Chamber of Commerce or the Center for Khmer Studies 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

Publication of Science Workshop about Sustainable Entrepreneurship as Webinar at Build4People YouTube Channel

We are happy to announce that the Science Workshop jointly organized by the German and Cambodian research partners of Build4People WP#6 “Sustainable Urban Transformation” from Hamburg University and from Royal University of Phnom Penh on 12 December 2023 has been published as a webinar. The focus of this workshop was on the role of Innovative Urban Businesses (IUB) to facilitate transformative change in Cambodia.

Wishing You a Happy Lunar New Year from the Build4People Project

As we usher in the festivities of the Lunar New Year, it is a special occasion for us to share our joy with friends and partners around the world. The Build4People Project would like to extend our warmest wishes to you and your team for a Joyful Lunar New Year! May the Year of the Dragon bring you prosperity, good health, and success in all your endeavors.

We hope this new lunar cycle brings you and your team an abundance of opportunities, positive experiences, and continued achievements.


Thank you for being a part of our extended community. We look forward to continued collaboration and mutual success in the coming year.

Once again, wishing you and your team a Happy Lunar New Year filled with joy, prosperity, and lots of harmony!

Kind regards,

Michael Waibel, on behalf of the Build4People Project

Meeting to discuss sustainability criteria between representative of DGNB and representatives of B4P WP “Sustainable Neighbourhoods”, Eble Messerschmidt Partner, Tübingen

On 19 January 2024, Dr Stephan Anders, Director Network & Consulting at the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), met with Build4People Work Package “Sustainable Neighbourhoods” represented by Rolf Messerschmidt, CEO of, as well as architect and urban designer at Eble Messerschmidt Partner (EMP), Architects and Urban Designers PartGmbB, and with Núria Roig, Research Associate at EMP, to discuss early stage urban neighbourhood planning and sustainability criteria in the case of the Build4People project in Cambodia.

This meeting was specifically in regard of the upcoming Build4People Ecocity Transition Lab in cooperation with Cambodia’s most famous developer company OCIC and the Phnom Penh city administration. This living lab will focus on Norea City, a new prestigious waterfront development along Mekong River and will serve to test and to adapt neighbourhood planning guidelines as well as urban sustainability criteria originally based on DGNB criteria. 

Bi-annual reflection / outlook meeting of the Build4People team

On 19 January 2023, the Build4People team virtually gathered to conduct our bi-annual reflection / outlook meeting.

In course of the meeting we went through the whole matrix of milestones of our RD phase proposal and discussed and critically reflected our activities of the year 2023, at first. This also served to identify minor delays in regard of our work plan.

Then, we shifted our attention the milestones lying ahead of us and discussed how to achieve them in a best possible way.

After two hours of a very intensive meeting we realized that we have not been able to discuss all relevant points of our agenda. That is why we decided to deal with the remaining points during our regular Build4People team meeting one week later.