Research for a sustainable Cambodia: the Build4People Project

The Build4People project aims to research and promote the use of sustainable buildings and sustainable urbanization in Phnom Penh. Therefore it focuses on people’s aspirations and their behaviour. The project is fully funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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 notion of urban quality of life links the different work packages. 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 such as the Phnom Penh City Hall and by means of a secondary education demonstration project (Green School). Locally established multipliers such as the European Chamber of Commerce or the Cambodia Architect & Decor fair will support the further 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.

Work Packages

Work Packages

The work package teams cooperate together, share their findings and develop joint deliverables. Tools and products systematically build upon each other. Learning curves and feedback loops are incorporated into the project design.

Latest News

Stay up-to-date with our latest activities

Research Workshop discussing the concept and measurement of Urban Quality of Life at RUPP, Phnom Penh

On 10 March 2020, the Build4People Research Workshop on “Urban Quality of Life” took place at the Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Center on the campus of the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP).

The main objective of this workshop was to discuss the Build4People Household Survey which is the most important empirical research activity of the Build4People definition phase. All Work Packages of the Build4Project have contributed to the questionnaire.

The workshop was attended by 45 people, among them lecturers and students from various faculties of RUPP and representatives from other universities and NGOs.

At first, Dr. Michael Waibel and Ravi Jayaweera, Hamburg University, generally introduced the concept of “Urban Quality of Life”. Thereby, they also highlighted its potential conflicts with the concept of “Sustainability”. This was followed by an extensive presentation of the results of a recent pre-test survey on urban quality of life in Phnom Penh done by Annalena Becker, Magdeburg University. The workshop was concluded by a panel session discussing the application of the concept of urban quality of life to the Cambodian context.

In addition, Mr. Andreas Oldag introduced the funding opportunities of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for Cambodian students and PhD candidates.

The main local organiser was Dr. Serey Sok from the Research Office of the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP).

Intense meeting with representatives of Phnom Penh Capital Administration, 09 March 2020

Very intense but fruitful meeting at Phnom Penh City Hall to discuss further cooperation within Build4People project. This is a a cumbersome procedure but much needed for a successful future joint work. 

The patience of all of the representatives of Phnom Penh Capital Administration (PPCA), first of all Vannak Seng, General Secretary of PPCA, and of Tema Vichekal, Deputy General Secretary of PPCA, is very much appreciated.

Successful Presentation Day of Build4People Ecocity Transition Lab

On 06 March 2020 the first results of the Build4People Ecocity Transition Lab got presented at the Phnom Penh City Hall.

In the presence of the Vice-Governor of Phnom Penh Capital Administration, H.E. Nuon Pharath, and the General Secretary of Phnom Penh Capital Administration, Vannak Seng, the Build4People introduced the results of 6 days of hard work to the audience.

The main idea is the development of a so-called “Blue Green City” in the Southeast of Phnom Penh following the motto “Let the Nature Flow!”.

Rolf Messerschmidt, CEO EMP, Leader of WP#3 “Sustainable Neighbourhoods”

More information on this event

Monitoring urban green spaces in Phnom Penh: Ground-truthing using an innovative mobile mapping app

During field research in March 2020, our team, WP4 Urban Green as part of the Build4People project, surveyed and verified 630 out of proposed 724 “ground-truth points” randomly distributed over the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, testing the performance of an innovative mobile app. A ground truth point is a physically surveyed location that is reconciled to satellite data.

Interface of Input App showing spatial data layers and selected ground-truth points

One of our main objectives is the preparation of a semi-automated land-cover classification for the municipality of Phnom Penh using very-high-resolution satellite images, ESA Sentinel 2A/2B.

To ensure the reliability of earth observation derived products, the execution of a spatial and statistical accuracy assessment on the ground is necessary, to quantify the classification, robustness and error rate.

A reliable and appropriate method is to use “ground truth points” for the spatial and interpretative classification quality control of the land-cover map.

Our team WP4 created attribute data forms and adjusted spatial data layers for the mobile app, according to the B4P project’s needs. Our team’s scientists from the University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde (HNEE) and the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Phnom Penh tested these settings and adjusted them as required. Six senior students from RUA then conducted a week of field research, verifying 630 out of 724 ground-truth points. In addition, the research team from HNEE wrote a handbook that included a catalogue of different land-cover types to ensure a uniform mapping methodology and a common understanding of the selected land-cover types. We then transferred the mapped points to an online database, accessible from Cambodia and Eberswalde using geospatial information software, QGIS 3.4 and the INPUT App to integrate the data into the land-cover classification.

Empirical research in times of Corona: Mapping activities with RUA students in Phnom Penh

Helpfully, the “INPUT App” developed by Lutra Consulting is open source technology and offers seamless synchronisation between the app, the Mergin cloud server and the QGIS environment.