Defining Urban Planning

Why do we map? What is the purpose of mapping? Beginning with these readings: What is a City? Lewis Mumford, Arguments For and Against Planning Richard E. Klosterman, The Agency of Mapping James Corner. Answer the following questions: _What is your definition of “Urban Planning”? _Can you describe the actors and institutions which impact urban planning? _What are the arguments for and against planning? Are these arguments still relevant today? _What are 10 (or more) conditions, issues, or current you believe are currently at play in the city of Phnom Penh?


Urban Planning Opinion

1-Jet Odrerir

The term Urban Planning, from my point of view, encompasses every aesthetic and technical aspect of a city; circulation, infrastructure, places public and private, places of work and play, visual space.

As communities developed agriculture and began to settle in more permanent areas, began to build shelters that would not be moved seasonally, more care had to be taken to ensure that all of the groups needs were met equitably. One home’s entrance could not be used as someone else’s toilet for instance.

As communities grew larger and, at some nebulous stage became cities, the citizens therein had to either take the time and effort to plan out spacing and layout or allow the city to grow organically as each person saw fit for their own space. Taking into consideration the system of rule that the society lived under this could lead to a city becoming a Machu Picchu or a Tenochtitlan, an incredible failure or an incredible wonder.

Not that cities always burned out strictly because of design, but historically there are cities that fare better because of it. Many times cities became something special due to the impact of the rulers, when they would demand that public baths be constructed, ports developed, land reclaimed. The United States of America forever changed when the grandiose plans of a national highway system were implemented by President Eisenhower in the 1950s. So to the bulwarks of the Great Wall of China allowed one society to flourish while another was held at bay.

In the case of a democratic society, however, the citizenry themselves can also have a say in the development of their city. This can be done at local levels with the local players taking part or it can take place through higher levels of the bureaucratic chain. Sometimes those dictating at higher levels cannot see the subtleties that those at the local level can. At the same time people may sometimes choose methods that seem to be immediately useful without seeing the long-term effects that an institution that studies more broadly what effects detrimental strategies can have on the greater public. No doubt communication is the key, open forums of debate and a transparent process.

And that casts a shadow of doubt over the current plans at work to transform the city of Phnom Penh. Buildings go up without the knowledge of the closest neighbors. People are moved out of their long-held homes without debate, or at least, public debate. There are companies that are changing the very fabric of the city so veiled in secrecy that it takes years to find out who the stakeholders are. When changes take place affecting vast swathes of the populace and they are changes planned and devised in hiding, one can rightfully assume a nefarious reason for this.

The inability to be forward thinking is another problem that has been at play in modern Phnom Penh since 1975. Phnom Penh had been acclaimed as a jewel of a city for the better part of the early twentieth century. French colonial buildings mingled in with the traditional Khmer buildings interspersed with Chinese-styled buildings. Unfortunately, short-sightedness is an all too common trait in us. Every chip off of the Pearl of Asia makes Phnom Penh into just another place where a lot of people live. The luster isn’t gone yet, but without a bigger vision Phnom Penh could easily end up in fly-over country.


2-Visal (

In my opinion in order to describe what “Urban Planning” is in relate to a city I have to know what a City is. For me a City is a large organize neighborhood that grow from its people with law and order to satisfied its population needs whether it safety, food, infrastructure, education, any form of entertainment, or anything else that in a way will give positive influence to the city growth and population but that not all, a City can also be the center of historical events, culture and life style that define its living from others.

So what is “Urban Planning?” by my idea of what a city is, Urban Planning is a proper ways that was set by the city with the support of the people of that city to improve the living of the people for the people.  The idea for Urban Planning will be in as much detail as possible so that everyone can be involve in the city development not just the official people because only the people who living in the area know their way for life better than anyone. And the most important thing in urban planning is that it will always take into consider the historical, cultural and way of living to the people in the area. Whatever change to the urban area it must not affect negatively to those factor or at least change for the majority and not the co-operate investment.

­-Describe the actors and institutions that impact Urban Planning

-Actors: anyone can be part of urban planning to help comment, critic the conceptual and take part of the strategic but there some important to be note such as the architect and urban developer to propose strategy and idea of what they think are best for the people, and then come the people that can decide whether it is acceptable for them. it is a long battle between these 2 groups but there a point where thing can work good in favors of both.

-Institution: City official, infrastructure and urban development, District officials, practitioner, local residents.

-Arguments for and against planning: Economic argument, Public Goods, Externalities, Prisoner’s dilemma conditions, Distributional questions, Implication of the economic arguments, Pluralist Arguments, Traditional arguments. Some of the argument still relevant today that i think still exist today are Economic argument, Public Goods, Externalities, Pluralist Arguments, Traditional arguments.

– Conditions that affect Phnom Penh city:  Traffic problems, informal settlement, informal food court, failed drainage system, unregulated construction, messy circulation pattern, no vehicle regulation, electrical poses and wire, no maintenance to city vegetation, no restriction to street food boundaries (at least none that affective), public service is not maintained or over look.


3-Nou Muniroth

  • Definition of Urban Planning is the development of a city which involve the management or reconstruct of the circulation regarding the transportation, housing, zoning, sanitary, economic within the city, health and education.
  • The actors and institutions which impact urban planning are:

-Uneducated people who giving bad response to their community that they have live in. By meaning bad response is that they did not understand the rule of house construction and how the impact of the building to the environment if it built wrongly within an area. Designing or constructing a new building, we need to consider how it going to impact the surrounding environment. This stage can be occurred if the country has weak regulation regarding the law of building construction. Sometime the organization of the urban planning has been ignored by the group of low income people who built their house within their affordable materials on an empty land without any permission and claim as their own land. So to sum up, it is a combination of problem between the people, the rule, and their education.

  • The arguments for and against planning


-Preservation of historical building

-Better living standard

-Fix the Infrastructure (road, sanitary, electricity, park…etc.)

-Improve accessibility

-Illuminate the problem (traffic, flood, environment, transportation, safety…etc.)

-Increase the family income




-Economic change

-Delete the people’s memories

-Time consuming of plan until it finished

-Different desire created issue to the plan

-Land of the land’s owner can be lost

-Probably cause a new problem

-The construction annoying the neighborhood

These arguments are true and occurring nowadays.

  • 10 (or more) conditions, issues, or current you believe are currently at play in the city of Phnom Penh

1: Traffic Jam, City becomes more and more crowded of vehicle

2: House Construction is not obey the rule

3: Pedestrian is not for public

4: Safety is still weak within the city

5: Environment issue (no fresh air in the city)

6: Flood is still occurring from year to year

7: Political issue impact

8: Less and less tree in city

9: Teenager education is getting worst

10: Poverty


4. Phok Chandara

  • Definition of urban planning

Urban planning is a process of planning for control the use of land and design the urban environment to provide healthy and safe living conditions, efficient transport and communication, adequate public facilities, and aesthetic surroundings.

  • Actors and Institutions which impact Urban planning:

Actors: Citizens, planners and administrators

Institutions: Organ of government, education and social services

  • Arguments for and against planning: Economic arguments, Pluralist Arguments, Traditional Arguments, Marxist Arguments. All of these arguments still relevant today.
  • Conditions, issues are currently at play in the city of Phnom Penh:

– Population growth rapidly
– Vehicle increasing
– Tiny Road
– Illegal settlement
– Unqualified construction
– Corruption
– Urbanization follow money
– A lack of public transport
– A lack of participation in society and its development
– Pollution


5. Kim Na Lae

_What is your definition of “Urban Planning”?

“Urban planning” arranges and plans human’s residential area and activity function in area effectively. Urban planning should concern building locations, zoning, transportation, and how city looks like.
_Can you describe the actors and institutions which impact urban planning?

Actors: Urban experience (Citizens, planners and administrators)

The urban experience is an integral component in the development of human culture and the human personality. Urban’s relationship, natural environment, spiritual values of human community, physical design of cities, their economic functions. The essential physical means of a city’s existence are the fixed site, the durable shelter, the permanent facilities for assembly, interchange, and storage;  the essential social means are the social division of labor, which serve not merely the economic life but the cultural process.

Social institution : the city is a related collection of primary groups and purposive associations: the first, like family and neighborhood, are common to all communities, while the second are especially characteristic of city life. These varied groups support themselves through economic organization that are likewise of a more or less corporate, or at least publicly regulated, character; and they are all housed in permanent structures, within a relatively limited area.
_What are the arguments for and against planning? Are these arguments still relevant today?
Economic arguments, Pluralist arguments, Traditional arguments, Marxist arguments are there.

In my opinion, economic, pluralist, traditional arguments are still relevant today.

_What are 10 (or more) conditions, issues, or current you believe are currently at play in the city of Phnom Penh?

Conditions, issues or current that I believe are currently at play in the city of Phnom Penh are as below;

Lack of public transport

Poor drainage system

Bumped and tiny road with side parking

Not enough population

City plan following funds

Illegal settlement / Lack of solution for low income citizens.

Lack of community activity and social participation

Unplanned construction / and its approval

Vehicle growth

Uncultured citizenship and lack of respect of self country.


6- Niem Sompong

Every part of Phnom Penh city has its own feel, style, and culture. The point of the Urban Planning major is to get beyond all of that by looking at the way our city is designed, constructed, and planned. Urban Planning majors study the socioeconomic factors and conditions behind housing projects in the city while also studying the effect of public transportation in suburban areas. It’s both an analytical and quantitative approach, one that combines policy, statistics, a sense of history, and a lot more.

Urban planners help us look at the ways we can improve our neighborhoods, preserving some of the past while keeping an eye open for future improvements. The Urban Planning major will give you the tools you need to literally change the face of the Phnom Penh landscape.



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