Sustainable housing in Cambodia

25% of Phnom Penh’s population lives on an average family income of $1 per day. The city lacks any kind of affordable housing, pushing the population into informal housing. During the last two decades a lot of these informal settlements were destroyed and the inhabitants were forced to move to a new location, a resettlement site. This project describes a sustainable, affordable and self-reliant answer to the housing demand in resettlement locations in Cambodia taking the fundamental needs into account.

The research resulted in a list of requirements for the design assignment in three main topics: sustainable, affordable and self-reliant. A ‘Sustainable’ projects takes people, (dignity, cultural aspects, health, participation, safe living environment, responding to future growth of community); the economics, (affordability, micro credits, business opportunities in the house, trade possibilities in the community) and ecological issues (local materials, autonomy in watersupply, reuse of materials to reduce costs and waste) into account.

An ‘affordable’ house of $ 2000 includes basic facilities to create a healthy and stately living environment. The last aspect, self-reliant, has more than one meaning in this project; self-reliance of the community within the cities society. The participation during the initiative and building process of this project isaimed to result in a sense of ownership and a more assertive attitude of the community. The second meaning of self-reliant clarifies the possibility to run the community independently from the city, in the matter of facilities, jobs, energy and water.

About Frank Reitsma