Promises Kept: A Study of the Development of 77 Eviction Sites in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is a rapidly changing city marked by urban development. In 1998 one in every 20 Cambodians lived in Phnom Penh. Within four years, this statistic has become one in every ten Cambodians. Between 1998 and 2008 the city’s population more than doubled, increasing from 567,860 to 1,237,600 people. Six satellite cities are currently being developed around Phnom Penh and the skyline of the city is increasingly dotted with multi-story buildings, with more under construction. Over the past five years the district boundaries have been changed in order to ease the administrative burden that arises from such expansion, with the number of khans (districts) increasing from eight to 12. Furthermore, it has been reported that there are plans to extend the city boundaries. As the city has developed, there has been a growing demand for land for commercial and public sector development. Concurrently Phnom Penh has seen a rise in forced evictions from land around the city, particularly areas occupied by the urban poor. While much attention has been brought to specific instances such as that of the former residents of Boeung Kak Lake and Borei Keila, in truth the practice of forced evictions is far more pervasive than such focused media attention would suggest.