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

Transformative power of social media dissemination (!?): BuildPeople facebook page posting went viral

The main Build4People communication platform is our Build4People Facebook page which has two main purposes: We use it, 1) to provide updates about our activities and 2) as a capacity building tool to inform on good practice examples worldwide in the field of urban sustainability.

Since its establishment in August 2019 we have been able to gather about 3,800 followers, mainly from the site of our project region, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and mostly young people, around 40% of which are between 18-24 years old and around 40% between 25 and 34.

So far, we have published approximate 600 postings and we are now very happy that just recently, the first one went viral. It reached out to about 250,000 people and was shared 600 times.

A positive side effect was that it also increased the numbers of our followers by about 15% during that short time.

Feel invited to follow us as well at:

#Build4People #BMBF_SUREregions #sciencecommunication #leavingthescientificbubble

Build4People Representation at the 28th IAPS Conference “Enacting Transdisciplinar Knowledge: People, Places, Movements and Sustainabilities” in Barcelona

The Build4People team is happy to report that we presented about our transformative approaches at the 28th IAPS Conference “Enacting Transdisciplinar Knowledge: People, Places, Movements and Sustainabilities” in Barcelona on 03 July 2024.

The title of our cross-cutting presentation was “Supporting Sustainable Urban Transformation in Cambodia: The Build4People Project” it was jointly presented by Anke Blöbaum, Jan-Peter Mund, Michael Waibel, and it was additional prepared by Rolf Messerschmidt, Oliver Lambrecht, Núria Roig, Ellen Matthies, and Sok Serey among others.

We concluded that a mix of objective and subjective data published in a transparent way to the public are needed to support a transformative urban shift of Phnom Penh. Furthermore, we advocated for integrated approaches involving multiple stakeholders in an iterative dialogue and for engaging societal actors in continual processes of learning and change to foster implementation. Finally, we consider outreach efforts outside the scientific bubble and active communication in society as essential to maximize impacts. Overall, we are convinced that transformation as social innovation has to be carried out by a process-orientated transdisciplinary approach thereby leaving the single disciplinary comfort zone.

More info:

Representation of Build4People at a lecture series about the psychological dimension of housing and urban development at the Federal Association for Housing and Urban Development (vhw) in Berlin

On 18 June 2024, Dr Anke Blöbaum, leader of Build4People Work Package “Behaviour Change”, Magdeburg University, gave a talk about the challenges of urban sustainability transformation from a psychological perspective at the Federal Association for Housing and Urban Development (vhw) in Berlin.

Thereby, she illustrated the interactions between the designed environment and human behavior and pointed out that participatory processes in urban development can play an important role in reducing behavioral constraints, increasing self-efficacy and supporting the acceptance of sustainable lifestyles.

As a good-practice example, Anke presented the Build4People Ecocity Transition Lab (ECTL) series, which was carried out as part of the Build4People project in Phnom Penh. The ECTL is an inclusive and collaborative planning tool that brings together citizens, academics, the public, the corporate sector and local frontrunners of urban sustainability to identify a common understanding of current urban challenges and to jointly develop and to present alternative visions of sustainable urban development.

Final meeting and first wrap-up of Build4People delegation trip 2024

The final day of the Build4People delegation trip was mainly dedicated for leisure activities after long, intensive, and sometimes stressful days of a very dense schedule.

Some delegation members met with Michael Waibel for a last coffee at a local coffee roastery. This was also an opportunity for Bunleng Se and for Serey Sok to ride the bicycle of Michael.

It was also time for short, yet informal wrap-up which will be followed by a structured one, by sending out a questionnaire to all participants about their feedback and learnings of this trip. Particularly, we are would like to get more to know which approaches of sustainable urban transformation from Germany the Cambodians regard as transferrable to urban Cambodia in the context of the upcoming implementation phase from 2025 till 2027.

The whole Build4People team would like to kindly thank all participants of the Build4People delegation trip for their active participation and great motivation to join the program. It was really great to have you in Germany for this hopefully inspiring learning experience and for the meaningful face-to-face exchange with the German partners. #build4people