Student Work

  • Urban Design (BS)

    Mikeala Kvan

    Mikeala Kvan

    The Economy of Shape

    The Economy of Shape is an urban design strategy for Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which focuses on efficiency and coexistence. In Phnom Penh, I have observed two areas of development. There is Phnom Penh proper and there is the surrounding peri-urban, which is a mix of industry, agriculture and shantytowns interspersed with high-priced residential enclaves.

    At the moment, Phnom Penh is a magnet for growth, drawing attention from countries such as South Korea and Japan, as well as international companies investing in factory construction. Private foreign investment drives hotel, casino, business, residential, and industrial development. These projects leave the urban fabric disconnected and usually at an environmental loss.

    My project is an urban design strategy for the peri-urban that looks at industrial development, and the growing demand for factory labor, by developing a sustainable living strategy for this working force. Landscapes of production, encompassing rice paddies and garment factories, as well as living and working communities, shape the proposed peri-urban. Their close proximity and thus distinctly connected nature facilitate efficiency and coexistence. Thus enabling workers to remain tied to a community of friends and family.