On 29 June 2021, the 1st 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 WP#3 “Sustainable Neighbourhoods”, Oliver Lambrecht and Marcelo Rivera Leyton, WP#3 Research Associates, in collaboration with Andreas von Zadow from “von Zadow International”.

As additional speakers were invited a leading representative of the German Green Building Council (DGNB), Dr Stephan Anders, the team leader of the Sustainable Mobility Metropolitan Regions (SMMR II) project, Joachim Bergerhoff, Dr Susanne Bodach, the Build4People local project management assistant and Dr. Michael Waibel, the Build4People consortium leader.

Further participants consisted of representatives from the WP#3 research partner, the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Paññāsāstra of Cambodia (SAUP-PUC), representatives from the Build4People implementation partner, the Phnom Penh Capital Administration (PPCA), and other Build4People team members.

The main aim of this event was to introduce and to discuss the WP3 research plan, respective milestones and related activities during the Build4People RD phase together with the local research and implementation partners, as well as continuous cooperation with DGNB and potential collaboration with SMMR II.

The workshop started with a short informal exchange, welcoming and the presentation of the agenda by the WP#3 Leader Rolf Messerschmidt. 

Then, Dr Michael Waibel as consortium leader of the Build4People project provided an overall introduction. He gave a concise presentation of the project’s general approach and its research design during the RD phase (2021-2025). He also gave insights into specific activities and milestone products of this 4-year phase.

Following this, WP#3’s key research approach and methodology was introduced by Marcelo Rivera Leyton. Main past activities, such as the 1st edition of the Build4People Poster exhibition on “Green Buildings & Sustainable Neighbourhoods” and the “Build4People Ecocity Transition Lab” were described, followed by the insights from the Definition phase.

Afterwards, WP#3 team member Oliver Lambrecht presented a preliminary Masterplan which resulted from the interactive design workshop during the “Build4PeopleEcocity Transition Lab” in March 2020. The sustainability strategies as well as the further steps to deepen the Masterplan were explained, as well.

Then, the first keynote speech was given by Dr Stephan Anders from the German Green Building Council (DGNB), Europe’s largest network to promote sustainable buildings and sustainable neighbourhoods. He introduced the assessment system of the DGNB.

Furthermore, he explained the updated DGNB criteria for Districts 2020 and the planned country adaptation process for Cambodia. He raised key concern topics for sustainable district development, considered by the DGNB. Most of them are very relevant in fast growing Cambodian cities. 

Finally, he presented some good practice examples of sustainable neighbourhood development, e.g. the Heilbronn Neckarbogen project (close to Stuttgart), and other international certification projects where a country adaptation to this rating system was carried out. 

Main questions that have been raised were on how to make a country adaptation of the DGNB rating system. Dr Anders replied that an adapted criteria should be discussed followed by a methodology of the rating system, which could help to deal with possible lack of relevant data.

The second keynote speaker was the B4P local project management assistant, Dr Susanne Bodach, who gave insights on the current status of the construction sector in Cambodia and specifically in Phnom Penh. Furthermore, she informed on the socio-economic impact of the pandemic situation, and measures from the government that are currently being carried out to tackle with the difficult situation.

She also gave an update of the ongoing relevant government initiatives to sustainable neighbourhood development, such as the NCSD Road Map for Sustainable Building and Construction, and explained the next steps to follow. Unfortunately, public investment was reduced to minimum and efforts focus on the pandemic crises. 

She also gave an update of the ongoing relevant government initiatives to sustainable neighbourhood development, such as the NCSD Road Map for Sustainable Building and Construction, and explained the next steps to follow. Unfortunately, public investment was reduced to minimum and efforts focus on the pandemic crises. 

Finally, it was also pointed out that the MoU with the local implementation partner PPCH, was delayed due to COVID-19 crisis, however already authorized to be signed.

The last keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Joachim Bergerhoff. As team leader he presented about the project Sustainable Design of Mobility in Middle-sized Metropolitan Regions (SMMR II) in the ASEAN region. The main tasks of the project are to advise local governments with strategies and concepts for integrated, sustainable mobility, as well as in the planning and governance practices. The SMMR II has more reference to policy papers rather than to academic research. The project considers the Cambodia national mobility strategy and supports creating tools and guidelines. 

His presentation had a focus on the studies and future activities of the project, including the B4P case-study area “Chbar Ampov”, an urban district in Phnom Penh. In this area, some of the main activities of the SMMR II are for instance to support the local partners with regulations on parking, to conduct mobility survey, traffic data modeling, and designing mobility hubs with streetscape, among others.

Following this, the leader of the WP#3, Rolf Messerschmidt presented the detailed activities and milestones in the research and development phase of the Build4People project. He also explained the timetable with main products and the integrated planning approach with other WPs and stakeholders. He also presented the transdisciplinary activities that are planned together with all the B4P team and the local partners. Finally, he described the expected input from the project partners to the research and development phase and the timeline for this.

Then, Mr. Andreas von Zadow explained the preparation of the next Build4People Ecocity Transition Labs scheduled for the first quarter of 2022. At first, he introduced his ideas to organize a stakeholder management structure. He further raised the need of reactivating the involvement of the different stakeholders in a series of “Jour Fix of an ELT preparation group”. The main objective is to establish connections and compromise strategic stakeholders that could actively participate in the “Build4People Ecocity Transition Labs”. 

Due to lack of time, it was suggested to postpone the remaining two presentations and to continue the interesting discussion related to the work plan of WP#3, the role and collaboration of each partner in the Build4People RD phase.

Main input and conclusions

During the subsequent discussion, it was made clear that due to the lack of legal regulations and standards in the Cambodian building sector, applying criteria makes sense, even it does not finally lead to a certification. Furthermore, the difficulty of establishing connections with stakeholders and bringing the people together in this pandemic situation was pointed out.

Some possible strategies to tackle this problem were suggested, such as continuing the involvement of PPCH and lower administrative offices with hybrid meetings. Furthermore, the involvement of other actors and the private sector is also very important. For this (re-)activation from all sides, a monthly exchange with partners was proposed.  

It was suggested to consider the good collaboration of PUC with other European universities as example for capacity building with this institution and specifically to outline a Sustainable Urban Transformation Planning Master course to be integrated into the curriculum at School of Architecture and Urban Planning of Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia.  

Finally, the wish for an even stronger mutual and continuous collaboration was expressed by all participants. 

Particularly, the SMMR II team is willing to cooperate with the Build4People project and to form synergies in the research, development and implementation phases for both projects. 

Report of Build4People WP#3 Science Workshop “Sustainable Neighbourhoods”, 29 June 2021 (PDF-file)