Making Fit, Pricing Air: High-Rises Explode Across Phnom Penh

Lecture | April 11 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Sylvia Nam, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, UC Irvine

 Center for Southeast Asia Studies

Condominium towers have become banal features of Phnom Penh’s built environment at odds with the frenetic pace at which they have exploded across the city over the last decade. The surge of units and the shape of price are also at odds with the housing needs of a city that is small in population; and are instead geared towards foreign buyers seeking to park their money in real estate. This talk examines pent-up expertise across the continent and upward pressures on land prices facilitated by brokers in Phnom Penh that generated the market dynamics leading to the serial rollout of condominium towers. In a city fitfully lurching upward, how does the high-rise, of all things, become a productive medium of construction, subject to serial repetition by developers working to build in an uncharted market?

Sylvia Nam received her Ph.D. in City & Regional Planning with a designated emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies from UC Berkeley in 2012. Her undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature is also from UC Berkeley. She was a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Riverside from 2012-14, before joining the faculty at UC Irvine., 510-642-3609