In Cambodia, dynamic economic growth is leading to a building boom – rather than a need-based orientation almost exclusively with the goal of short-term profit maximization. Despite the high local electricity prices, the recently constructed buildings are usually neither energy-efficient nor adapted to the tropical climate. Issues of sustainability have still not been sufficiently addressed by either decision-makers in the construction industry, the responsible ministries, the educational institutions nor building users.

There is currently only very little implementation of sustainable building and neighbourhoods planning concepts in Phnom Penh, despite a long tradition of vernacular architecture and urban patterns that took climate conditions into account with their initial building practices (GGGI 2017: 23). Apparently, there is only limited knowledge and awareness about the topic among the urban population and among stakeholders of the real estate sector (EuroCham 2017: 172ff.). At the same time, the development towards a modern consumer society in Cambodia is resulting in more resource-intensive life-styles, which also strongly effects the way buildings are designed, built and operated

From the perspective of Environmental Psychology, very little is known about the environmental norms, values, beliefs, and barriers for sustainable behaviour in Southeast Asia so far. This project offers the opportunity to analyse the impact of psychological constructs on sustainable behaviour for this cultural context and to develop and evaluate context-adapted, theory-driven intervention techniques.

The Project’s Orginality

Sustainability is a transversal issue. To achieve a viable implementation, with a sustained impact, we pursue a trans-disciplinary and holistic approach incorporating innovative methods and expertise from various fields .

The trans-disciplinary Build4People project promotes sustainable buildings and sustainable urban development from a people-centred perspective in Cambodia. Thereby, the connecting scientific-conceptional, analytical and superior normative bracket is always the urban quality of life. Among the disciplines involved are geography, urban and regional planning, cultural studies, medicine, hydrogeology, architecture, sinology, meteorology and economic science.

The promotion of sustainable buildings cannot only happen in the top-down manner of simply issuing regulations. To kick-start change and advocate implementation we will therefore follow an inclusive method of engagement, encouragement, enablement and exemplification. Our approach is to convince people rather than to force them.