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 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.

Work Packages

Work Packages

The work package teams cooperate together, share their findings and develop joint deliverables as part of action research processes. 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

Successful Build4People RD Phase Kick-off Meeting of German Team

On 15 April 2021, the German consortium members of the Build4People project gathered for the Kick-off Meeting of the four-year Research and Development Phase (RD phase) of the Build4People project.

At the beginning of the meeting the local project management assistant Dr Susanne Bodach provided an extensive update of the local situation in Cambodia. It was intensively discussed how to deal with the ongoing corona pandemic, related travel restrictions and the effects of this in regard of the joint collaboration with the local research, dissemination and implementation partners.

Following this, the Build4People project representative Dr Michael Waibel introduced the general project management approach of the Build4People project and outlined the specific activities of all work steps during the first year of the RD phase.

Then, each scientific Work Package gave an overlook on its envisaged research activities and its transdisciplinary involvement into joint activities. Open questions were raised which were discussed in the course of a Q&A session following each input.

All in all, it was a very fruitful event with very lively discussions which took way longer than expected. That is why it was decided that there will be a follow-up meeting on 22 April 2021, during which a joint publication strategy and further organisational issues shall be discussed.


Hereby, the whole Build4People team would like to convey its sincere wishes for a Happy New Khmer Year to all of our Cambodian colleagues, their families and their beloved ones.

Build4People Presentation at NEST Conference 2021

From 08-09 April 2021, the 6th Conference of the Network of Early Career Researchers in Sustainability Transitions 2021 (NEST) took place which brings together young researchers in the field of sustainability transitions. 

Research associates Ravi Jayaweera (WP6) and Annalena Becker (WP1) presented their ongoing empirical research within the Build4People Project.

In their presentation, Ravi and Annalena discussed their research approach, the integration of psychological concepts in transition studies and some findings, including the internal structuration of stakeholders, the ambiguity of past and present policy approaches in Cambodia and the multi-scalarity of the building regime.

The presentation was held in an interesting session on sustainability transitions in the Global South. Other researchers shared insights from their work on energy and water transitions in South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.

Successful WP5 Science Workshop, 07 April 2021

On 07 April 2021, the Work Package #5 “Urban Climate” led by Prof Dr Lutz Katzschner and Sebastian Kupski (INKEK, Institute for Climate and Energy Strategies) organized a Science Workshop together with partners of Royal University of Phnom Penh.

In general, the Science Workshops of Build4People project serve to introduce the research plan / milestones and related activities of each Work Package during B4P RD phase. Furthermore, the state of the art of theoretical and methodological approaches in the field of research shall be discussed.

In the case of the Work Package #5 “Urban Climate” Science Workshop methods of modeling of urban climate and approaches to develop an urban climate map in the case of Phnom Penh were intensively discussed. Among others, it was discussed where to specifically set-up weather stations in the city area of Phnom Penh which deliver data to develop an urban climate model.

In addition, the opportunity was used to exchange views about capacity building in the research area of urban climate at RUPP. This was particularly regarded as relevant in terms of curriculum development (e.g. inclusion of components of urban climate as part of master courses at RUPP).

As a result of the Science Workshop, a joint understanding of the WP5 research plan and related activities could be achieved and tasks were distributed in regard of year 1 of B4P RD phase.