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See detailBetween Mobility and Immobility: Traffic and Public Space in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Pacific Geographies (former Pacific News) (2012), 37(January/February), 4-9

The city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a particularly interesting case study metropolis for an urban structure reformation process. The Pol Pot-regime forcefully evicted Cambodia’s urban population in 1975 ... [more ▼]

The city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a particularly interesting case study metropolis for an urban structure reformation process. The Pol Pot-regime forcefully evicted Cambodia’s urban population in 1975, leaving the capital a ‘ghost-city’ for years. Phnom Penh had then to reboot its urban life after the Vietnamese expulsed the Khmer Rouge from the city in 1979. For nearly three decades, urban space has been reorganised mainly as a self-organised process by the neo-city dwellers. The widely open use of public space as a multiple-purpose surface for transportation, economic activities or as a place for leisure has recently become contested by the state authorities. Buildings and road systems are the material basis of a city. Constructional arrange-ments constitute spaces and regulate or limit their use. Accordingly, public space is a hybrid of built and mobile environments with fluid social delineation and fluctuating official allocation. On the basis of historical evidence, states around the world have eagerly assigned themselves the role of arbiter regarding these contested areas in-between the private and the public sphere since the ‘age of modernisation’. The (re)rise of state power in Cambodia gives an example of reshuffling urban space and demarcating it in separate spheres by traffic regu-lations which are implicitly performative and demonstrative acts. This paper is based on participatory observation, interviews with policy makers of the Municipality of Phnom Penh (MPP) and various inhabitants of the capital. [less ▲]

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See detailTHE ‘TYRANNY OF THE LINE’: CITY PLANNING IN COLONIAL PHNOM PENH, 1860s – 1940s
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

Scientific Conference (2012)

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 ... [more ▼]

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. [less ▲]

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See detailPhnom Penh nach der urbanen Katastrophe: „Alltägliches Geographie-Machen“ am Beispiel der Standortentscheidungen von Wirtschaft und Handel in einer südostasiatischen Metropole
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft (2012), 154(Jahresband), 235-260

The city of Phnom Penh after the fall of the Khmer Rouge is probably a unique case study for the spatial distribution of retail, services, and small manufacturing business as a spontaneous process of ... [more ▼]

The city of Phnom Penh after the fall of the Khmer Rouge is probably a unique case study for the spatial distribution of retail, services, and small manufacturing business as a spontaneous process of spatialization. The inhabitants of a million strong metropolis were forcefully evicted by Pol Pot 1975; years after this social tabula rasa, the same city had to reboot its urban life routine from scratch. Taking advantage of that “year zero” situation, this article examines the emerging business sites and its spatial distribution in statu nascendi. The focus is put on the question, to what extent the process of localization can be regarded as a general pattern or as a very specific pattern at the initial stages of urban (re)development for Phnom Penh only. The results suggest that (a) Phnom Penh is a special case, however, highlighting typical features of retail localization with clear path and place-dependencies; (b) by making many individual locational decisions, the neo-inhabitants, in turn, send messages to the rest of urban society creating, non-intentionally, a high degree of market transparency based on (self-)agglomeration effects. /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Phnom Penh nach der Vertreibung der Roten Khmer bietet eine singuläre Fallstudie zur Untersuchung der Verräumlichungsprozesse von Geschäfts- und Gewerbestandorten als spontanen Prozess. Die Bewohner einer Millionen-Metrople wurden 1975 von Pol Pot zwangsvertrieben. Erst Jahre nach dieser „Stunde Null“ einer sozialen tabula rasa konnte die Stadt ihr urbanes Leben von Grund auf neu starten. Dieser Beitrag nimmt diese Startsituation zur Grundlange, um die Neu- und Wiederpositionierung von Geschäftsstandorten hinsichtlich ihrer räumlichen Genese zu untersuchen. Der Schwerpunkt hierbei liegt auf der Frage, ob der Prozess der Standortentscheidungen einem verallgemeinerbaren oder einem spezifischen Muster im Zuge einer Reurbanisierung entspricht. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Phnom Penh (a) zwar in diesem Umfang einen städtischen Sonderfall repräsentiert, der Standortentscheidungen mit Pfadabhängigkeit und Persistenzen aufweist; doch zeigt Phnom Penh auch, wie (b) zahlreiche individuelle Standortentscheidungen zu hoher Markttransparenz führten: diese sind nicht-intentionale Folgen der Selbstagglomeration (economies of agglomeration). [less ▲]

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See detailEye contact, clientele alignment & laissez-faire: the production of public space and neighbourhood in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

Scientific Conference (2011)

The struggle to belong Dealing with diversity in 21st century urban settings. Amsterdam, 7-9 July 2011 Eye contact, clientele alignment & laissez-faire: the production of public space and neighbourhood in ... [more ▼]

The struggle to belong Dealing with diversity in 21st century urban settings. Amsterdam, 7-9 July 2011 Eye contact, clientele alignment & laissez-faire: the production of public space and neighbourhood in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Thomas Kolnberger(*) Paper presented at the International RC21 conference 2011 Session: Nr. 12 – Belonging, exclusion, public and quasi-public space (*) Université du Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Research Unit IPSE (Identité, Politiques, Sociètes, Espace) Universität Passau, BR Deutschland Southeast Asian Studies thomas.kolnberger@uni.lu Overview Private, public or quasi-public spaces are terms that seem particularly difficult to apply to non-Western societies: as in the ‘West’, their boundaries are fluid and routinely transgressed, but in ways that are distinctive to the local situation and history. This paper is arguing that these concepts retain practical descriptive power, particularly for the city of Phnom Penh, a case study of demographic extremes, as nearly all her inhabitants could be classified as immigrants. In deed, the Khmer Rouge had forcefully evicted the ca. two million people-strong population of the capital in 1975, virtually erasing all ‘bourgeois urbanity’ during Pol Pot’s Cambodian ‘auto-genocide’. After the fall of the regime, the new socialist government slowly repopulated the deserted metropolis with new urban dwellers. Their social and spatial belonging needed to be set up from scratch. “Who belongs to whom” (in terms of political clientelism and patronage), “who is doing what” (regarding face-to-face control and eye contact investigation), and “who owns what” (concerning redistribution and also new original accumulation of capital) were the essential questions in this ‘struggle to belong’. In this urban setting, people have been employing a mixed set of strategies for implementing ‘belonging’ ever since. Based on empirical surveys (mapping & interviews) and research in Cambodian and French colonial archives, this paper presents the constant negotiations of private and public space in a changing economic environment from three angles: - streets, squares, and parks as spaces of interaction: the spatial inheritance of the French colonialism in a new context - the emergence of different types of gated communities since 1975: at first by spatial inclusion strategies generating patronage networks, then by urban planning separating rich from poor - the economy of espionage and imitation of Phnom Penh’s retail trade: the neighbours’ curious gaze Methodology - The city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia is a case study for a `rush economic evolution´ - This paper aims in one part to highlight the role and influence of place and space for a specific process: the spatial location of business sites in a unique window of opportunity as a self-organizing process `from below´. By applying spatial analysis (GPS mapping), a specific pattern of retail agglomeration and dispersion of this `atomistic´ metropolis could be identified. The analysis is based on fieldwork investigating the use of the city’s space for economic ends. 1,000 kilometres of built frontage (`streetscapes´) with 14,647 cases of land use features (e.g. shops, `pavement economy´ etc.) have been surveyed and mapped. Subsequent to this quantitative part, 100 semi-structured interviews and numerous ad hoc conversations were conducted including a dozen of expert interviews (city administration, NGO, city planners). Results and Thesis - The city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia is a case study for a `subsistence urbanization´ - Much economic geography research has focused on the importance of the social context for various transactions. ‘Face-to-face contact remains central to coordination of the economy, despite the remarkable reductions in transport costs and the astonishing rise in the complexity and variety of information – verbal, visual and symbolic – which can be communicated near instantly’ (Storper and Venables, 2003, p. 43 ). Visual proximity and eye-contact are particularly important in environments of imperfect information, like in Cambodia after Pol Pot. Information was scarce at this time and communication hardware rare. Thus, in Phnom Penh’s initial retail business formation, an ‘economy of espionage and imitation’ provided the necessary information for deal-making, decisions concerning the assortments of goods, prize, and trends. The first merchants and producers were heavily dependent on visual contact ‘around the corner’ and close contact also proved to be beneficial to customers. This specific knowledge and information externality (an externality or transaction spillover is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices) could only be reaped by spatial agglomerations. While screening and socialization of network members and potential partners were essential for the build-up of Cambodia’s original clientele-system during the gradual resettlement, visual contact became the decisive steering mechanism for the original distribution of business agglomeration or its dispersion. For a `subsistence urbanization´, the public and quasi-public space are the most important `common-pool resource´. The influx of the population into the city produced a `non-rivalrous´ and `non-excludable´ economic good by the neighbours’ curious gaze. - The city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia is a case study for a `spatial club´ - From a New Institutionalism’s point of view ‘City’s neighbourhoods – residential, industrial and commercial clusters – are like firms, nexuses of agreements and understandings about entitlements to share and pooled resources. They differ from firms in that they are spatial clusterings and in that they cluster around resources that remain to varying extents in the public domain. They are like spatial clubs. Members co-operate by various forms of informal and formal rules and agreements in order to ensure the continued supply and enhancement of shared public domain goods. Municipal government is itself a type of club, delivering collectively consumed infrastructure and regulations from a tax on its citizens, firms and visitors. Communities, in the social sense, are also clubs – delivering collectively consumed benefits such as a sense of belonging, security and culture’ (Webster and Lai 2003, p. 58). This spontaneous `neighbouring´ as ‘rational herding’ (Banerjee 1992; Hung and Plott 2001) helped to reduce transaction costs during the initial resettlement process (and beyond). It can be described as a continuous act of self agglomeration of business, creating bazaar-type streets over the whole of the city, which specialise in specific goods and services forming thus, from a bird’s view perspective, a `mental retail map´ for the inhabitants. This is one side of building neighbourhoods in Phnom Penh. The base for this laissez-faire et laissez passer behaviorism of the government in (micro)economy was the redistribution of Phnom Penh’s real estate amongst trustworthy followers. A `New property Deal´ of first in, first served allocated the built environment piecemeal. In this political economy, two steps are discernable. First, a community-building process regarding the public administration. Each ministry was assigned to a certain area of the city and in a top-down process, starting from the top echelons to the simple civil servants and officials, distributed land and housing. Initially, each responsible could pick `his´ followers and could reward him/her with the allocation of living space, a social structure, which represents a spatially bond replica of the traditional clientelism and patronage-network in Cambodia. These ’strings’ (ksae) formed the first neighbourhoods as a kind of `original´ gated community because each administrative unit was planned to be self-sufficient. Each ‘cité’ (Carrier 2007) was thus clearly demarcated. Its decisions were autonomous, too. In certain areas of Phnom Penh, remnants of this socio-politically gathered community can be found. In a second step, and with increasing immigration, secondary ksae (the mother’s cousin, the friend of a friend) proliferated and the city was being `filled up´. Today, the pattern of co-residence in technically secluded areas of Phnom Penh resembles the typical economical founded example of gated communities as neighbourhoods around the world: the rich and the better off separate from the rest. The once moral economy of the civil war and initial post-conflict years is dissolving. Regulation, commodification and the government’s efforts to demarcate public and private space is replacing/reducing the common good ‘public space’. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatial Analysis of Inner City Retail Sector in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Evidence of Path-Dependence?
Kolnberger, Thomas UL; Caruso, Geoffrey UL

Scientific Conference (2011)

Spatial Analysis of Inner City Retail Sector in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Evidence of Path-Dependence? Geoffrey CARUSO (1), Thomas KOLNBERGER(2) (1) Associate Professor, Geography and Spatial Planning ... [more ▼]

Spatial Analysis of Inner City Retail Sector in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Evidence of Path-Dependence? Geoffrey CARUSO (1), Thomas KOLNBERGER(2) (1) Associate Professor, Geography and Spatial Planning Research Centre, University of Luxembourg. Email: geoffrey.caruso@uni.lu. (2) Research and teaching assistant, Department of History, University of Luxembourg. Email: thomas.kolnberger@uni.lu ABSTRACT The city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a particularly interesting case study metropolis for a “rush economic evolution” and urban structure formation. The Pol Pot-regime forcefully evicted Cambodia’s urban population in 1975, leaving Phnom Penh a “ghost-city” for years. Phnom Penh had then to reboot urban life with a predominantly new group of inhabitants from scratch. If one adds its rather homogenous and flat physical geography, plus weak political interference in the location of business in the town, Phnom Penh turns to be almost a perfect laboratory situation for understanding inner city location processes. This paper aims to highlight inner city clustering and agglomeration/dispersion processes through the analysis of a specific process: the spatial location of retail sites and the emergence of sub-centres. The study builds upon a detailed, almost exhaustive, micro-scale dataset obtained from field survey in 2010. The dataset includes over 14000 retail sites associated with some 100 commercial categories. Spatial analysis is conducted to explore patterns of retail concentrations and associations using standard factor and clustering techniques, plus a systematic analysis of Moran’s I, and LISA maps over each type of retail, including sensitivity analysis to the definition of distance weight matrices. Results are discussed in light of the existence of path-dependence and lock-ins in the economic agglomeration, dispersion and association processes within the city KEYWORDS Phnom Penh, LISA, agglomeration/dispersion, retail sub-centres [less ▲]

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See detailKrieg in der europäischen Neuzeit
Kolnberger, Thomas UL; Steffelbauer, Ilja

Book published by Mandelbaum Verlag (2010)

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See detailDie ‚große Divergenz‘ und ihre Schließung: Krieg und Militär
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Sieder, Reinhard; Langthaler, Ernst (Eds.) Weltgeschichte 1800 – 2000 (2010)

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See detail`Behaviours of settlement´: patterns of inertia and change in the history of Cambodia
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

Scientific Conference (2010)

`Behaviours of settlement´: patterns of inertia and change in the history of Cambodia This paper deals with morphological dynamics of settlement patterns in the south-western part of mainland Southeast ... [more ▼]

`Behaviours of settlement´: patterns of inertia and change in the history of Cambodia This paper deals with morphological dynamics of settlement patterns in the south-western part of mainland Southeast Asia. The vicissitudes of Cambodia’s history from pre-Angkorian times to the present offers unique insights in the formation and persistence of townscapes and human settlements. Recently, ancient Angkor has been hallmarked as “the world’s largest preindustrial settlement complex” (PNAS 2007) . This paper analyzes the dialectic of form and function over time. It examines first the original morphology of this wide spread, low density settlement, a “hydraulic city” inspired by antique Indian town planning and shaped by environmental constraints. Secondly, the later urban models of that particular region, based on French colonial layouts and modern town management, will be examined, based on extensive field work and personal research in and about the capital Phnom Penh. [less ▲]

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See detailDer Aktionsraum eines 'Partisanen der Tradition' - Spanische Guerilla und Tiroler Freiheitskampf in napoleonischer Zeit
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Kolnberger, Thomas; Steffelbauer, Ilja (Eds.) Krieg in der europäischen Neuzeit (2010)

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See detailBetween swampy backwaters and “golden” riverside: the water frontiers of Phnom Penh, Cambodia in historical perspective
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

Scientific Conference (2010)

Between swampy backwaters and “golden” riverside: the water frontiers of Phnom Penh, Cambodia in historical perspective Colonial Phnom Penh used to be an amphibious urban landscape, tucked between canals ... [more ▼]

Between swampy backwaters and “golden” riverside: the water frontiers of Phnom Penh, Cambodia in historical perspective Colonial Phnom Penh used to be an amphibious urban landscape, tucked between canals and the riversides of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac. Periodically filled up lakes and swamps during the monsoon – a kind of marshland locally called boeung – still dot the town area. However, the agricultural lands around the swamps and the sites of “floating villages” (motley throngs of boats & houses on stilts) along the riversides, once neglected, are now a golden playground for developers’ extravaganzas. Today in Cambodia, power is money and money (and not land-property) is power. The rapid expansion of the city in all directions is driven by the need for construction plots to attract direct investments. As in the past, the role and meaning of the urban waterscape is changing. The history of Phnom Penh offers a unique case study for persistency and adaptation in the interaction of people, water, and land. This paper will present the transforming perspectives, and the symbolic and social connotations of the urban waterscapes of this Southeast Asian city since its (re)founding in French colonial times (with references to the “hydraulic cities” of the ancient Khmer) providing insights to today’s changes in a longue durée. [less ▲]

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See detailDie Cham. Notizen zur Genese einer tropischen umma in Kambodscha
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Schnöller, Andrea; Steffelbauer, Ilja; Hausberger, Bernd (Eds.) Von der Lust an der Grenzüberschreitung und vom Reiz der Verweigerung (Festschrift für Peter Feldbauer) (2010)

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See detailExpansion ohne Kontraktion? Krieg und Militär als ‚Zeichen und Werkzeug der Vereinigung der ganzen Welt‘
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Feldbauer, Peter; Hödl, Gerald; Lehners, Jean-Paul (Eds.) Rhythmen der Globalisierung – Expansion und Kontraktion zwischen dem 13. und 20. Jahrhundert (2009)

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See detailNaturkatastrophen. Rezeption-Bewältigung-Verarbeitung
Hammerl, Christa; Kolnberger, Thomas UL; Fuchs, Eduard

Book published by StudienVerlag (2009)

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See detailLooking for a sustainable architectural style in Phnom Penh
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

Presentation (2009)

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See detailTerror, Terrorismus und der Staat - eine historische Einordnung
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Kolnberger, Thomas; Six, Clemens (Eds.) Fundamentalismus und Terrorismus - Zu Geschichte und Gegenwart radikalisierter Religion (2008)

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See detailFundamentalismus und Terrorismus - Versuch eines Resümees
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

Article for general public (2008)

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See detailDer Mekong macht Geschichte: ‚Kulturen im Fluss‘ und geopolitische Wechsellagen – ein Abriss
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Historische Sozialkunde: Geschichte - Fachdidaktik - Politische Bildung (2007), 2

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See detailKrieg und Integration - Militär.Macht.Gesellschaft
Kolnberger, Thomas UL

in Historische Sozialkunde: Geschichte - Fachdidaktik - Politische Bildung (2007), 3

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