The Science Workshop on “Urban Green Infrastructure in Phnom Penh” took place on 26 January 2023. It covered the research plan, milestones, and related activities for the B4P RD phase (2021-2025) and featured presentations on various topics related to urban green infrastructure. The workshop was jointly organized by the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Phnom Penh and the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE) in Germany.
The workshop was moderated by WP#4 Leader Dr Jan-Peter Mund and WP#4 Research Associate Gulam Mohiuddin.
The Build4People consortium leader, Dr. Michael Waibel, began the workshop by giving a welcome speech and introducing the overall strategies of the Build4People project during the research and development phase. He also highlighted the findings of a recent UNEP report on emissions in the global building industry.
Dr. Waibel emphasized that successful research requires a significant amount of time and dedication from all parties involved.
After that, Dr Jan-Peter Mund presented the overall updates on the completed and ongoing research activities. He also mentioned about the possible future studies.
Dr Sanara Hor, WP4 Local Coordinator and Dean of Faculty of Land Management and Land Administration (FLMLA) presented about the Urban forestry – concept and its application in Phnom Penh.
Followed by his presentation Mr. Chea Chetha from RUA presented on the importance of green buildings in urban planning in Phnom Penh. He specifically highlighted what are the benefits and categorical major obstacles in constructing green buildings in Phnom Penh.
After that Dr. Pok Sophak from RUA presented the results from his study on mapping urban impervious surface area from satellite imagery. He highlighted about how studying the impervious surfaces give a wide range of understanding on the urban dynamics.
Furthermore, Mr. Rorn Naro presented about public participation in sustainable city development. He focused on the findings from a case study from Commune Land Use Planning (CLUP) LASED III project. He shared experience from a commune land use planning procedures ensuring community participation that is inspired by SDG 11.
Finally, Gulam Mohiuddin mentioned the study results suggested that there is an upward trend in minimum, average and maximum land surface temperature in the study area. There is also evident correlation between surface temperature, built-up area, and waterbodies.
Questions and discussions
The workshop resulted in a vivid discussion after each presentation and during the open discussion section. Among others, Dr Mund mentioned that WP#4 would initiate field activities regarding ground verification of land surface temperature in Phnom Penh. He also highlighted that are opportunities for a more intense collaboration with B4P WP#5 “Urban Climate” in this context. Dr Sanara asked how accurate the thermal sensors from UAVs are. Prof. Mund pointed out that this would be the objective of the fieldwork later, where some ground measurements will be taken to calibrate the measurement from UAV sensors to provide better output.
A question from the audience was about which plants should be recommended for green spaces in Phnom Penh. Dr Sanara replied that it needs to be better studied, considering different parameters and suitability, but this should be a critical question before planning new green spaces within the city. Dr Waibel asked about what would be a pivotal agenda to promote green buildings in Cambodia. Mr Chea Chetha answered that it depends on specific campaign objectives, but awareness should be raised about the benefits of green buildings. Green building might be costly in terms of investment, but it has good long-term output. The audience also highlighted that there needs to be a reference study from Phnom Penh about the cost of green buildings considering local conditions and context. Dr Waibel informed us about an EDGE-certified project in Ho Chi Minh City with only 1% additional costs but 30% fewer energy costs for residents. Mr Rorn Naro mentioned that a new organization called ‘Cambodia Green Building Council’ is working on green buildings. Dr Jan-Peter Mund asked Dr Sophak if there are opportunities to convert his method to apply with Sentinel, VIIRS nighttime thermal data or even UAV detailed IR images. Dr Sophak replied that there are possibilities and would like to discuss them in person when the B4P team is in Phnom Penh in February 2023. WP3 Research Associate Nuria Roig has shown an interest in using a similar approach to understand surface temperature in different areas in Phnom Penh to have a comparative overview. Dr Mund proposed developing a simulator to create different scenarios based on empirical data collected from earlier images.
The event was concluded by Dr Jan-Peter Mund saying thanks to all participants, and he pointed out the workshop’s specific outcomes, such as having an update on different study results on urban green topics. The workshop has also initiated a discussion for further collaborative activities between work packages; for example, between WP3 and WP4, WP4 and WP5. Also, the event created a scope to initiate collaborative studies from researchers from Cambodia and Germany. He also assured that WP4 will always support the collaborative efforts as they have been since the start of this project.