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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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