Resilient Cities - Rethinking the challenges of urban reconstruction, proceedings of the Phnom Penh conference of December 3, 2019

The 39th Congress of the AIMF (International Association of Francophone Mayors) was held in Phnom Penh in December 2019, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Le chantier de rénovation du Marché Central, 2009 / The Central Market renovation work site, 2009 © Apur

In 1975, the first operation implemented by the Khmer Rouge was to empty all Cambodian cities and many rural villages embarking the entire Cambodian population on a vast project of forced agricultural labour. A quarter of the population consequently died, either from starvation, illness, exhaustion or summary execution. In January 1979 the country was liberated and could begin to reconstruct itself. This rebirth began in Phnom Penh which repopulated and reorganised the State Apparatus.  

In order to examine this very particular period of reconstruction, to preserve it in memory and to see what lessons can be learnt a conference was held, on the 3rd December 2019, on “Resilient cities after the catastrophes” which brought together players from this historical period to go back over the way the country overcame this trauma. This was made possible through sharing the experiences of those who fought the battle of renovating their city.

In 1994, Kigali had been deeply affected by the genocide which killed thousands of Rwandais victims; In 2010 Port au Prince suffered a catastrophic earth quake which destroyed the greater part of it.

Placed alongside the Cambodian history, these experiences show how similar the stages of resilience can be; but also how this is impossible without a continual, relentlessly proactive policy on the part of local and national authorities, working in collaboration with international institutions, and without the determination of the inhabitants to build a new life for themselves.

Apur contributed to preparing the contents of the conference, participated in the debates and ran the coordination of publishing the proceedings with the study centre Centre d‘Etudes Khmères (CKS), and the two researchers, Gabriel Fauveaud, Doctor of Geography and lecturer at the Université de Montréal and Fabienne Luco, Doctor of Anthropology. 

This publication tells the story in three languages, with the conference papers and summaries of the debates that took place during the day. The documents accompanying the texts are those which illustrated the speakers’ talks.

Resources

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  • Resilient Cities - Rethinking the challenges of urban reconstruction, proceedings of the Phnom Penh conference of December 3, 2019 - Single page format for printing

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  • Resilient Cities - Rethinking the challenges of urban reconstruction, proceedings of the Phnom Penh conference of December 3, 2019 - Double page format for screens

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