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

2022 Reflection / 2023 Outlook Meeting of Build4People team

On 16 December 2022, the bi-annual internal reflection meeting of the Build4People team took place which was also used to discuss future activities of the year 2023.

At first, our team discussed the state of achievement of the Build4People milestones of the past year. Among others, inputs were provided on the Build4People Sustainable Building Arena, the Build4People Sustainable Building Incubator and the recent Urban Quality of Life Workshop at Magdeburg University. Another important discussion point was how to strategically plan further multi- and transdisciplinary project publications and how to better involve the local research partners in this process.

Furthermore, the Build4People interim milestone report due to 31 December 2022 was a topic of intense discussion and we talked about the six evaluation criteria from the side of the funding ministry and how to deal with those to receive an excellent grading.

In the second part of our meeting, the team discussed the upcoming activities in first quarter of 2023 with a focus on the next Build4People Ecocity Transition Lab which shall be organised together with the leading Cambodian developer company Borey Peng Huoth.

Please find some impressions of the meeting below:

New publication of Build4People Work Package #2 “Sustainable Building” members together with their research partners from ITC

12 December 2022: Build4People expresses its sincere congrats to its Work Package “Sustainable Building” members Christina KaragianniDirk Schwede as well as to their research partners Dr. Virak Han and Ms. Kimneh Taing from ITC, the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (វិទ្យាស្ថានបច្ចេកវិទ្យាកម្ពុជា) in the context of their recent book chapter publication in the volume “Future of Cities” published through Konrad Adenauer Foundation Cambodia.

In their chapter, the author introduce about their commonly developed research methodology related to Indoor Environmental Quality evaluation within the #Build4People project.

Download the whole book chapter publication!

Build4People WP#3 Science Workshop “Sustainable Neighbourhoods”

On 29 November 2022, the 2nd Science Workshop of the Build4People Work Package #3 “Sustainable Neighbourhoods” took place. It was organized and moderated by representatives from Eble Messerschmidt Partner (EMP), Rolf Messerschmidt, leader of the Build4People WP3 “Sustainable Neighbourhoods” and Nuria Mariela Roig Mejia, WP#3 Research Associate. 

The event counted with the participation of renamed key speakers such as Mr. Steven Petit, creative director, landscape architect and urban designer of OMGEVING Asia, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Dr. Stephan Anders, Director Network and Consulting of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), Mr. Sovan Sieng and Mr. Conrad Richardson, both Technical Advisors of the project “Sustainable Mobility in Metropolitan Regions” (SMMR II) with project locations in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Among the participants were: Mr. Phanin Cheam, Vice-Head Urban Management Division of Phnom Penh Capital Administration, and other Build4People team members such as: Dr. Michael Waibel, Build4People consortium leader, Dr. Anke Blöbaum and Ms. Ramune Pansa, respectively leader and research associate of WP#1 “Behaviour Change”, Prof. Dr. Lutz Katschner, leader of WP#5 “Urban Climate”, and Mr. Ravi Jayaweera, Research associate of WP#6 “Sustainable Urban Transformation”. 


The main aim of this event was to introduce the main WP#3 research findings, to discuss the next steps in regard to the next Build4People Ecocity Transition Lab in February / March 2023. The Science Workshop also served as a valuable opportunity to strengthen the communication with other research projects in the Asian southeast region such as SMMR II and initiate the exchange with inspiring professionals such as Mr. Steven Petit, creative director, landscape architect, urban designer of OMGEVING Asia.

More information on this activity see EVENT-page of Build4People website.

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!