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The Future Vertical Life in Phnom Penh

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posted on 18.09.2022, 21:09 authored by Hout, Bunkung

Wellbeing is considered health, ecological environment, convenience, security, and safety (Lee et al., 2011), and it also can be satisfied with life and improve living quality (Kamp et al., 2003). Meanwhile, Mason (2018) defines sustainability as natural system function and human civilization, including economic, social, and environmental protection. Cambodia is a famous country with a rich culture, architecture, and natural resources. The capital city of Cambodia-Phnom Penh, which is known as Cambodia’s heart, has been gradually developing from the classic into contemporary life in the last few decades. With the increasing construction, the city now has severe environmental issues such as air pollution and flooding—these problems seriously affect Phnom Penh inhabitants’ mental and physical wellbeing.

As human wellbeing and environmental quality are consistently decreasing in Cambodia as well as the world, the sustainability paradigm was introduced to solve the social, economic, and environmental issues. The focus of the study is on improving the living conditions of the vulnerable communities through regenerative architecture solutions in a rapidly expanding urban city. This research looks at how regenerative design can be implemented in Phnom Penh to enable residents’ wellbeing and sustainability through vertical living environments.

The architecture will test the concept of the regenerative paradigm by focusing on the interaction between people and nature. Concerning methodological strategies, it will start from literature reviews to design testing. The literature section will investigate Phnom Penh’s urban lifestyle from different eras. The idea of Khmer vernacular architecture and how it has evolved based on changing users will be highlighted. The study looks at economic support systems for the poor as the Grameen Bank as a concept that could back the realization of the vertical village being proposed as a design solution. The concepts of the regenerative paradigm explored in this study relate to materials, renewable energy, ventilation, and waste management for improving human wellbeing and sustainability.

All literature reviews and precedents have both international and national or ASEAN countries as practical examples. The design part of the thesis is about experimenting with a new perspective of regenerative design, the vertical village. The design testing explores Khmer culture and sustainability concepts. Also considered is how the cost of construction and the cost of living can be reduced by an architecture and planning system that is enabling and empowering. The project explores a system for engaging the capacity of the occupants of the housing in the construction of their homes and livelihood opportunities through the production of the building materials, energy, and food for the community. This research looks at how the Khmer people can benefit from an architecture that supports a healthier life in a zero waste environment which looks to safeguard natural sources through recycling.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Asian Studies Institute

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Alternative Title

Bamboo Vertical Village

Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Sylva, Shenuka de