Open Access Publication on Phnom Penh’s building system and potential transition pathways

Thanks to a grant from the University of Hamburg Open Access Fund, a recent detailed analysis on Phnom Penh’s building system written by Ravi Jayaweera of the Build4People Work Package “Sustainable Urban Transformation” as lead author, has been published as open access publication at the renowned journal Geoforum (impact factor: 3.926)

The paper “Houses of cards and concrete: (In)stability configurations and seeds of destabilization of Phnom Penh’s building regime” explores the factors contributing to the (in)stability of the building sector in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The study analyses multiple dimensions of (in)stability configurations, namely economic, socio-cultural, and political-institutional, and identifies sources of destabilization. The results suggest that the building regime in Phnom Penh has an ambiguous (in)stability configuration, with tensions primarily within the socio-cultural and economic dimensions, and predominantly stabilizing effects from the political-institutional dimension. It further emphasizes the importance of identifying (in)stability configurations and the seeds of destabilization for developing effective transition governance strategies towards sustainable urban development. In this way our research contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and tensions associated with sustainable urban development in the Global South, particularly in countries with high urban growth and construction activities. Finally, this basic understanding is regarded as essential to be able to destabilize and finally to reconfigure the existing building system to achieve transformative change as key aim of the Build4People project.

Figure: (In)stability configuration Framework (own illustration, building on Geels, 2002, Fastenrath and Braun, 2018).

Full citation: Jayaweera, R., Rohracher, H., Becker, A., Waibel, M., (2023). Houses of cards and concrete: (In)stability configurations and seeds of destabilisation of Phnom Penh’s building regimeGeoforum, 141 (2023) 103744. ISSN 0016-7185,