Planning a Future for Phnom Penh: Mega Projects, Aid Dependence and Disjointed Governance

Really interesting paper about Phnom Penh. Thank you to Willem for allowing me to post. Also check out his visualization work:

Planning a Future for Phnom Penh_ Mega Projects, Aid Dependence and Disjointed Governance
Willem Paling
Urban Studies published online 2 August 2012
DOI: 10.1177/0042098012452457
Online Version


This paper presents an analysis of the growth and diversification of international involvement in urban planning and development in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Over the past decade, a multiplicity of mainly intra-Asian connections have emerged alongside the continued involvement of Western donor aid. The paper shows how various forms of international finance capital, development capital and local capital vie for influence amongst a loose assemblage of alliances and conflicts linking elements of the Cambodian government, international donors and Cambodian and intra-Asian private-sector actors. The paper highlights the on-going efforts of government–private-sector alliances to ‘world’ Phnom Penh and to assert a greater claim to its significance in the world. These desires are seen to have overridden plans produced in partnership with the development sector. Attention is drawn to the intra-Asian mobilities through which these processes operate and which, in doing so, contribute to the on-going unsettling of existing geographies of urban knowledge.

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