Reference : THE ‘TYRANNY OF THE LINE’: CITY PLANNING IN COLONIAL PHNOM PENH, 1860s – 1940s
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Arts & humanities : History
http://hdl.handle.net/10993/22640
THE ‘TYRANNY OF THE LINE’: CITY PLANNING IN COLONIAL PHNOM PENH, 1860s – 1940s
English
Kolnberger, Thomas mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
2012
Yes
XV. International Conference of Historical Geographers
6-10 August
University of Prague (Charlesuniversity)
Prague
Czechia
[en] historical geography ; Phnom Penh ; Cambodia ; colonial city ; planning
[en] THE ‘TYRANNY OF THE LINE’: CITY PLANNING IN COLONIAL PHNOM PENH, 1860s – 1940s.

Thomas Kolnberger

Université du Luxembourg, FLSHASE (Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education), Research Unit IPSE (Identités.Politique.Sociétés.Espaces), Campus Walferdange, Route de Diekirch (B.P.2), L-7201 Walferdange, Luxemburg

This paper aims to highlight the role and influence of both ‘colonizer’ and ‘colonized’ on place and space. Their specific purposes are part of a process of mise-en-valeur of the French colonial regime on the one side and indigenous commodification of city space, examined here as a form of “bandwagoning”, on the other side.

Cities in general are disputed places with regard to questions of urban development, planning and social control. Colonial cites in particular became central places for steering and enhancing the productivity of the entire colonial society. Thus, new urban structures were designed to house the agencies of an unequal relationship. The production of this particular space, however, was at no time a purely top-down process, imposed by the ‘colonizer’ on the ‘colonized’. In the very moment of the foundation of the colonial town, indigenous actors took the city as an opportunity, as a “structure and agency” for pursuing their very own interests. Colonial Phnom Penh is a good example to review these interactive processes under the following aspects:
- ‘clash of civilizations’: Traditional French and Khmer linear planning as rivaling ‘top-down’ processes in a shared town
- ‘grass-root urban planning’: The ‘bottom-up’ production of space of the indigenous city dwellers
- ‘tyranny of the line’: The “social engineering” of the colonial city by land rents, building codes and regulations as grid squares

The study is based on historical-critical analysis of archival sources in Cambodia (National Archives of Cambodia, Phnom Penh) and France (National Overseas Archives of France, Aix-en-Provence) with a focus on public works, maps, and photos.
Fonds National de la Recherche - FnR
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students ; General public
http://hdl.handle.net/10993/22640

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