Fixing Housing on Cambodia’s Urban Frontiers

Phnom Penh's rapid growth is creating complex challenges for urban planners.

The Dangkor dumpsite, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, is ringed by small settlements of stilt houses, covered in salvaged plastic sheeting and squatting above stagnant floodwater. Cardboard has been flattened into sheets to dry along the roadside. The dump has been covered with earth, ready for closure, but scavengers have dug through, exposing veins of trash.

It was from a settlement like this that Ngeal Sophal moved in March 2015. Now she lives with her husband and seven of her eight children in one of 48 colorful Khmer-style houses that make up Smile Village, a social housing project operated by a French nongovernmental organization, Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (For a Child’s Smile), in collaboration with a Singaporean partner, Solutions to End Poverty (STEP).

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