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

Fruitful RUPP-Build4People Curriculum Development Summit Meeting

On 18 May 2022, representatives of Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) met with representatives from the Build4People project to discuss potential cooperation in the field of joint curriculum development. Focus of this meeting was a new master courses at RUPP dealing with the subject of Geography.

After welcome addresses of Dr. Michael Waibel, the overall Build4People representative and of Dr. Sok Serey, Vice-Director of RUPP research office, Mr. Bunleng Se, the coordinator of the new master course “Geography” introduced about the rationale, scope, contents and RUPP demands in the context of the new master course.

After Bunleng’s comprehensive presentation representatives of each Build4People work package presented about their potential content related input to the new master course.

This was followed by a vivid discussion among others about the different credit point system between Europe and Asia or about the management of assignments. A great deal of time was spent to discuss on how to practically implement curriculum development from the side of Build4People. Among others, it was agreed, that on 05 October 2022, there will be a roundtable meeting with all course unit responsible researchers of the Geography master course at Royal University of Phnom Penh to finalize the joint curriculum cooperation work between Build4People and RUPP. Starting from today, there will be bi-lateral exchange to achieve progress on this.

Build4People representation at SURE Status Seminar, Berlin, 04-05 May 2022

From 04-05 May 2022, the SURE Status Seminar took place in Berlin. This was the first time, scientists from the research programme SURE (Sustainable Development of Urban Regions), funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), had the chance to physically gather and pursue networking activites.

The Build4People project was represented by colleagues from all sub-projects led by institutions of higher educations and got invited to give presentations at two parallel sessions.

Prof. Dr. Ellen Matthies and Dr. Anke Blöbaum gave a theory-based presentation “Sustainable Behaviour and Practices within the Build4People Project” as part of the SURE Priority Focus Topics Focus 4 – Sustainable Behaviour and Practices.

In the context of the SURE Priority Focus Topics Focus 2 – Resource Efficiency and Mitigation, Dr. Dr. Michael Waibel, Prof. Dr. Jan-Peter Mund and Prof. Dr. Dirk Schwede gave a presentation with the title “Resource Efficiency and Mitigation within the Build4People Project”.

Other inspiring inputs were provided by two keynote presentations, one titled “Cities on the global path towards sustainability: Building back better as utopia” by Mark Kammerbauer, Nexialist Agency for Research and Communication and another titled “Embrace plurality, dismantle hierarchies, practice complicity: basic ideas for transdisciplinary learning” by Thorsten Philipp, Technical University of Berlin.

Thanks so much to the organisers of this great event.

Successful Dissemination Event with Center for Khmer Studies (CKS)

On 21 April 2022, the CKS-Build4People webinar “Urban Climate in the Planning Process” took place with inspiring presentations.

In this context, the Build4People project is very happy that Dr. Chao Ren, Associate Professor in the Division of Landscape Architecture at the University of Hong Kong, one of the leading scholars in this field, joined this event as a keynote speaker. She specializes in applied climatology and climate design, who uses GIS, and spatial modelling methods and remote sensing techniques to study urban environmental performance and develop climate response design strategies and guidelines.

Thanks a lot to all of the staff of CKS for preparing and managing this event, most of all to its interim director Samedy Soung and to Dr. Alan L. Kolata, who moderated the webinar in a very dedicated way.

This was already the 2nd event of Build4People’s cooperation with CKS. The next one will deal with issues of behaviour change.

Our special thanks to Bunleng Se and Chhinh Nyda, Build4People Work Package #5 “Urban Climate” research partners at Royal University of Phnom Penh for their inspiring presentation.

Link to all presentations

Installation of automatic weather stations in Phnom Penh by the team of Build4People Work Package #5 “Urban Climate”

Installation of automatic weather stations in Phnom Penh by the team of Build4People Work Package #5 “Urban Climate” The team of Build4People Work Package #5 “Urban Climate” is currently working on producing an urban climate map of Phnom Penh capital with the purpose of deriving evidence-based recommendations for more sustainable urban development pathway.

To collect weather data, researchers from Royal University of Phnom Penh installed several automatic weather stations (AWSs) in and around the capital city in order to measure weather conditions through its parameters, including temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind speed and direction, solar radiation and atmospheric pressure (see figure below).

Weather parameters 

To completely install ASWs, additional materials are required including memory card, sim card, metal pole, chargeable batteries and so on. To be safe, AWSs were installed on and attached to the rooftop of the building such as house or school (see figure below).

As of now, five AWSs have been already installed within Phnom Penh, located in the districts of Tuol Kork, Dangkao, Pou Senchey, Chamkar Mon and Russei Keo (see figure below).

Three AWSs will soon be installed in the districts of Chbar Ampov, Pou Senchey, and Prek Phnov. In those case the Build4People team is in the process of requesting locations owners for AWSs installation. The AWSs represent both urbanized and suburban areas as it is necessary to observe characteristics and conditions of all of those areas.

The complete weather data including temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind speed and direction, solar radiation and atmospheric pressure have been automatically uploaded on the weather underground website (e.g., see here: and recorded in the SD card attached in the base station. These parameters have been observed and used to analyze differently based on their indications and characteristics. All of these data are very essential in regard of a proper urban climate analysis and the subsequent elaboration of urban development recommendation.

Hereby, Build4People lead would like to express its deep gratitude to the RUPP team of Bunleng Se, Nyda Chhinh and Daniel Choi for their dedicated support!