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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Traffic jams, flooding consequences of poor urban planning

Traffic jams, flooding consequences of poor urban planning

Too many 'mega projects' are driven by short-term profit and overlook long-term effects on the city's development, says an urban planner


Phnom Penh's 2020 master plan, which covers an area of 375 square kilometres and includes 27 communes from Kandal province and will guide the development of the capital, looks set to be approved by the Council of Ministers late next month.

A TOTAL lack of urban planning is putting Phnom Penh in danger of serious traffic jams and flooding. The developers of mega projects focus only on their own profit-driven development without considering the needs of the city as a whole, experts and municipal officials say.

According to Frederic Mauret, the city's French technical expert for Phnom Penh's 2020 master plan, the municipality wants to modernise its city, but many development projects are scattered and lack environmental impact assessments.

Mauret told the Post through an interpreter at a meeting on the Phnom Penh 2020 master plan last Thursday that most projects have been developed quickly to reap early profits, which results in spiralling land prices, serious traffic issues and flooding due to improper drainage.

"For the future development of Phnom Penh in the next 10 to 15 years, the City Hall cannot allow investors or developers to manage the development of the city. Otherwise, the future of the development of the city will be over," Mauret said.

"Those mega projects think only about the development in their locations, turning blind eyes on the development of the whole city."

... city hall cannot allow developers to manage the development of the city.

He added that mega projects should contribute their profits to develop the surrounding area to link their development to the whole city.
He cited projects such as Gold Tower 42 and the IFC that are being built without any consideration of their long-term impacts, which he believes will exacerbate traffic jams in the city.

Roadmap needed

Pa Socheatevong, deputy governor of Phnom Penh, said: "When there are issues, it is our burden. We allow developers to build houses, but we are not thorough in our consideration of their future impacts."

"When the master plan is officially approved, the development of the city will have a clear roadmap. All factories in the city will be relocated to the outskirts because factories have a lot of workers that congest the city," he said.

"No new factories will be allowed to be built in the city, while all existing factories in the city will be informed to move out within one or two years." 

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said last week that development in Phnom Penh is not "blind" because city leaders can see money. 



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