How Urban extension works under this extreme situation?

Phnom Penh is currently undergoing rapid population growth. However it is not an easy but instead a difficult task to transform a city originally designed to house only about half a million inhabitants into a city capable of holding two to three millions of inhabitant.

Population growth of Phnom Penh
Population growth of Phnom Penh
Figure 8:Top Left to Right: 1867, 1890, 1910 Middle Left to Right: 1922, 1947, 1953 Bottom Left to Right: 1958, 1963, 1993.This series of maps describes the urban growth of downtown Phnom Penh (inner four kahns or districts) from thebeginning of the French Protectorate until the UNTAC period. The outlined blocks denote present day blocks and theblack in fi ll the time of their construction. Green lines demonstrate roads which served as levees and demarcated theedge of in
Figure 8:Top Left to Right: 1867, 1890, 1910 Middle Left to Right: 1922, 1947, 1953 Bottom Left to Right: 1958, 1963, 1993.This series of maps describes the urban growth of downtown Phnom Penh (inner four kahns or districts) from thebeginning of the French Protectorate until the UNTAC period. The outlined blocks denote present day blocks and the black in
fill the time of their construction. Green lines demonstrate roads which served as levees and demarcated the edge of infilled areas

 

The major environmental constraints on the city of Phnom Penh as mentioned in the previous post are flooding and drainage. The lack of master plan and public space are also reasons that contribute much to the severe flooding situation.The State and companies are keep infilling lakes and neglected the livelihood, arrested those who are against with this proposal. However this problem has been lasting since decades ago, so what have been done in order to keep this urban extension working? What makes the city work under this extreme situation?

In the past, the city expanded due to the construction of dikes which extended away from the colonial center of the city on the banks of the Tonle Sap River. The concentric arc of each successive dike not only encircle larger, but also then become urbanised. The last diked further defines the limits of the city. At the same time, unwanted water is channeled through drains and sluices to areas outside these dikes; water accumulating along these dikes during the rainy season would be pumped out and discharged into a network of ponds and canals outside the city. It worked grudgingly to allow the urban extension in the past.

Left:Drainage and pumping stations in Phnom Penh today Right: Drainage in the Suburban Phnom Penh
Left:Drainage and pumping stations in Phnom Penh today
Right: Drainage in the Suburban Phnom Penh

However it is impossible to use the same method of creating more concentric dikes and filling it to provide new areas for urbanisation. This is because this method of expansion required a lot of cost to operate works and will also destroy the natural drainage system remaining around the city today. It is therefore necessary to develop a new approach to the expansion of Phnom Penh which strikes a balance between the infilling for development and minimize the side effect it brings along.

1.Modern Khmer Cities, Vann Molyvann (2003)

2.City of Water. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2015, from https://cityofwater.wordpress.com/

1 Comment on “How Urban extension works under this extreme situation?

  1. Phnom Penh’s drainage system was first built during the French colonial period. Subsequent upgrades and expansions have been made, but such work virtually ceased between the late 1960s and late 1990s when the country was racked by a succession of civil wars. It is important to note that the city’s population has doubled to over two million people since 1998, leaving its ancient drainage system severely overtaxed. Perhaps the government can promote moral and civic education extensively so the drainage will be under less pressure during the rain season

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