Case Study on the Kork Khleang I relocation process in Phnom Penh by larryp


									                      Case Study on the
               Kork Khleang I relocation process
          in Phnom Penh, Royal Kingdom of Cambodia

  Report by Mr. Mann Chhouern Chief of Cabinet of the Municipality of Phnom Penh
                         and National Project Director of
            "Phnom Penh Urban Poverty Reduction Project CMB/01/009"

          Prepared for Seminar on Public/Private Sector Partnerships (PPP)
for Urban Infrastructure and Service Delivery 2 - 4 April 2002, Seoul Republic of Korea
              organised by UN ESCAP/LOGOTRI, CITYNET and KRILA
 BACKGROUND INFORMATION                                  3
CAMBODIA'S RECENT HISTORY                                3

WHEN LAND BECAME A COMMODITY                             3

SURVEYING THE SQUATTERS                                  4

THE FIRST RELOCATION PROJECT                             5

 CASE STUDY                                              6

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS                                 6




DESIGNING A HOUSE                                        8


THE FAMILIES BEGIN TO RELOCATE                           9

PROBLEM WITH THE WATER SUPPLY                             9

MORE PROPOSALS                                           10
                                                                                Background information

Background information
Country specifics1
Cambodia is situated in Southeast Asia and shares borders with Thailand in the northwest,
Laos in the northeast and Vietnam in the southwest. The country occupies a total land area of
181 thousand square kilometres and has a total population of eleven and a half million people.
Cambodia's climate is tropical with two distinct seasons – the dry season from November
through May and the wet season from June through October. Intensive rains fall during
September and October leaving large areas of the country flooded.

Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia, situated in the central part of the country along the
Mekong River. Phnom Penh has a population of around one million and is organised in seven
main administrative districts comprising of 76 communes or 637 villages. Four of the main
districts are located in the centre of the city where there has been a progressive development,
which has formed a diversified, rich and bustling urban area. The other three districts are in the
peripheral fringe of the city where less development has taken place and large areas are used
for agriculture and mass industries.

Cambodia's recent history2
The population movements during the periods of civil war and regional conflict resulted in
crippling fluctuations in the scale and socio-economic composition of Cambodia’s urban sector.
Dominated by Phnom Penh as the capital and primate city, urban growth was steady and
manageable during the 1950s and 60s, with Phnom Penh doubling in the 15 years between
1955 and 1970. Swollen by refugees from war, revolution and rural poverty, the city’s
population doubled yet again in five years to reach over 1.5 million by 1975, or according to
some observers around 2.5 million if those camping around the perimeter were included.

Seen through the eyes of the Khmer Rouge as an extreme case of an exploitative, debauched
parasite of a city, the population was driven out during 1975. Most were put to work in rural
areas with the political aim of destroying the country’s urban culture, leaving a population of
less than 50,000 mainly composed of the military, civil servants and dock workers. After the
withdrawal of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, a population of 120,000 with a predominantly rural
background took possession of the city, and by 1998 Phnom Penh had increased to around
one million. Other towns in Cambodia have undergone similar although not so dramatic cycles
of growth and decay, but all suffered from two decades of almost total neglect of physical and
social infrastructure and the collapse of institutional structures, together with the loss of skilled
professional and technical personnel.

Phnom Penh is unique in that when the refugees returned housing was allocated on a first-
come, first-serve basis. Because the city was virtually empty in 1979, the families who came to
the city simply took over whatever shelter they could find. Some occupied good housing, but as
more and more families arrived, houses were subdivided, people moved into non-residential
buildings and partly demolished houses or squatted on vacant land and on rooftops.

When land became a commodity3
In 1989 following the collapse of Soviet Union, which had been the principal source of overseas
aid, a policy of economic liberalisation encoded in law the right to private ownership of property
and inheritance of land.

  Municipal data and National Population Census -98
  Prodoc for CMB/01/009

Case study from Phnom Penh, Cambodia                                                         3
                                                                               Background information

From 1990, land became a commodity and subject to attractive investment. The price of land
and housing rose considerably. In the absence of alternative methods of speculating and with
an undeveloped banking and financial system, buying and selling land became a highly
attractive income generating activity. The liberalisation coincided with the arrival of large inflows
of international assistance, in addition to an increase in international and local private business
activities. Housing and buildings were in demand for offices and residences of international staff.
In the case of houses occupied by several families, the Municipality would only grant property
rights to one person. An informal agreement had to be made among all families expressing
communal ownership before the actual right was granted. With such large assets at stake there
was often confusion, arguments and violence between people who had shared the same space
for years. Compensation was usually paid to the families who decided to leave. As a result of
these changes, plus the fact that most people were new to the city, there was a very high rate
of turn-over of housing involving the transferring of occupational rights – in every category,
ranging from the very poor to the formal transfers of the wealthy.

There has since been an increase in squatting by people selling their rights to housing as well
as the growth of squatting by new migrants and seasonal workers. Limited public sector
manpower meant that the administration of the new property law was problematic. Although a
series of laws and sub-decrees covering land and property rights and procedures were
introduced since 1989, there remains considerable confusion due to problems of interpretation
and application.

Surveying the squatters4
In response to the intensifying housing problems and the rapidly deteriorating social conditions
among the squatters, an informal grouping of local and international NGOs, the Urban Sector
Group (USG), was established in August 1993. The initial objectives were to promote
communication and co-operation between each organisation and to work together on common
problems. Following an exploratory mission by ACHR, a regional NGO, the USG and the
Municipality of Phnom Penh (MPP) co-sponsored a workshop in February 1994, entitled
“Squatters and Urban Development Alternatives". This event increased public awareness,
helped to focus attention on priority issues and marked the commencement of a dialogue
between the authorities and the squatter communities.

As a resource for this workshop, a joint MPP/USG squatter survey was organised. The findings
revealed that throughout the 187 squatter areas identified there were around 20,000
households, accounting for a population of between 100,000 to 130,000, or 15% of the
estimated total city population at the time. Most residents of the squatter areas continue to
provide services such as food selling, cyclo driving and casual construction work, but with a
significant minority in government service or in the police or army. The situation has changed
little since the time of the survey. The majority of squatter communities are located on public
land with the exception of one district where most live on roof terraces above apartment blocks.

It was found that in the most of the areas surveyed less than 50% of children attended school.
64% households had no form of sanitary toilet and 38% reported poor access to water supply.
68% had never experienced any garbage collection service. 94% of houses were constructed
from temporary fire-risk materials and only 19% of the areas had paved roads.

During 1997, Solidarity for the Urban Poor Federation (SUPF) undertook a further city-wide
survey in order to track the changes since 1994 and to cover those groups of the city’s poor not
living in squatter settlements. The urban poor of the city was then found to be made up of
around 30,000 households throughout 380 locations with a total population of around 172,000.


Case study from Phnom Penh, Cambodia                                                        4
                                                                              Background information

Those without any form of toilets accounted for 62% and those without immediate access to
water supply within the settlement were 66%. Households without paved access to the house
numbered 91% without access to official power supplies 78% and without permanently
constructed houses 69%. Women’s employment was dominated by personal small business
and vending, while men were mainly working as labourers or in small self-employed activities.

The first relocation project5
While the USG and SUPF provided a promising framework for developing a city-wide network
of community-based organisations and support groups, with already some background in
improving their economic, social and physical conditions, by 1995 there were still no similar
positive experiences in demand driven, participatory resettlement/ relocation activities. The sole
attempt to provide a comprehensively planned, permanent site for evicted families was
supported by the NGO, CONCERN, commencing in 1990. Although the initiative suffered from
an inappropriate remote site location and from problems with land distribution, there were
valuable lessons to be learnt in terms of housing and land use standards, land tenure systems,
relationships with counterpart and local administration officials and, above all, the importance of
strengthening the bonds within the affected communities prior to resettlement.

"Phnom Penh Urban Poverty Reduction Project"6
Within the framework of the Government’s comprehensive approach to alleviating poverty and
the Municipality of Phnom Penh's (MPP) Urban Poverty Reduction Strategy, the integration of
policy, public administration, social and economic reforms ensure participation at all levels in
the national development effort. The project contributes to the achievement of national level
poverty reduction through capacity building and resource mobilisation at the community level
and through the development of support services by local authorities and by national and
international NGOs.

With respect to the consolidation of the “relief to development continuum”, the project is
designed to support sustainable integration of urban poor communities at both the policy and
operational levels with particular reference to land and housing security. The project makes a
contribution to social and economic integration within the region by further strengthening ties
between city administrations, community organisations, regional technical co-operation projects
and NGO networks.

The project supports a process of improving environmental conditions and access to basic
services for all urban poor groups at a city level scale together with support for the development
of new sites for urban poor communities as part of a planned programme of voluntary relocation.

The current project has developed and tested mechanisms for urban poverty reduction in a
range of areas and in some cases has adapted examples from other Asian cities. The need is
now seen for these to be introduced in a larger number of urban poor communities throughout
the city and to continue to learn lessons from, and exchange experiences with similar projects
in the region.

There are eleven relocation sites around the city of Phnom Penh and this report will explore the
story behind one of these sites, namely Kork Khleang.


Case study from Phnom Penh, Cambodia                                                       5
                                                                         Case study – Kork Khleang I

Case study
Background for the Toek Laok 14 community7
Between 1981 and 1994, 128 families built their small dwellings along and against the wall
surrounding the National Paediatric Hospital. According to the information from a survey
conducted by SUPF, the community and the Department of Land Management, Urbanism and
Construction, some families sold their houses until the number of people finally reached 111
permanent families or 537 people, 252 men and 285 women (including children).

Toek Laok 14 community was one of many informal communities in Phnom Penh. From 1994
to 1996 the community confronted eviction threats by the authorities many times because the
authorities and surrounding inhabitants said that this settlement affected the urban landscape
and especially, polluted the environment of the hospital. However, despite this, the people did
not dismantle their houses because they had no money to purchase new land and houses.

Physical characteristics8
In the beginning, houses in the settlement were made of wood and thatched-roof. Many families
up-graded their houses using zinc-roof because they needed to maintain their thatched-roof
every year and they were worried about fire. Most of the houses were built on average 1m
above the ground due to high water levels during the wet season. The size of the smallest
house was 2m × 4m and the largest was 4,5m × 10m.

The community did not get access to water from the public supply system from authorities
because it was an informal settlement located along the public road. So they purchased water
from the private sector at a cost of 1,200 riels 9 per 200-litre tank, which is 17 times more
expensive than the water from public supply. Because of the high price, people used this water
only for drinking and cooking. The hospital understood the difficulties of these people and
therefore the people were allowed to use water from the hospital’s public water supply for free,
for laundering and bathing.

Similarly, the community was not entitled to use power from EDC (Electricité du Cambodge), so
it depended on a private supplier who distributed electricity to each family for a monthly charge
of 800 riels per KW, which is two and a half times more expensive than EDC.

Every rainy season, the whole area flooded, mainly due to a clogged up drainage system. The
families had difficulties paying for a rubbish collection truck and therefore had adopted a habit
of disposing their garbage on the streets causing blocked drainpipes.

Only two, three families had a pit latrine. To keep the environment clean around the hospital,
the hospital allowed the people in the community to use the toilets in the hospital for free.
Sometimes some families disposed their children's excrements inside the hospital grounds,
adding to the already unhealthy conditions.

Toek Laok 14's process towards becoming Kork Khleang I10
In 1999, the Asian Coalition for Housing Right (ACHR) introduced ideas about land sharing with
the hospital as this option would be cheaper than relocation and was favoured by the people
who wanted to stay in the area. To study the land sharing option, a community and hospital
committee collaborated closely with the Urban Resource Centre (URC) and ACHR

  Urban Resource Center and Project documentation, Feb 2002
  $1 = 3,900 riels
   Urban Resource Center and Project documentation, Feb 2002

Case study from Phnom Penh, Cambodia                                                      6
                                                                         Case study – Kork Khleang I

representatives who shared ideas and provided technical assistance. The working group
designed three options that showed different designs and land occupation by the community.
The designs were shown to the community members, all concerned organizations, the hospital
management, the municipality, and the ministry of health officials. In addition, the presentation
materials were reported to the prime minister.

However, despite the three land sharing options for development on site, the project was
rejected by the government because the government was not confident that the community
would not disturb the hospital with sanitation problems and would be able to keep the
environment clean. Also, the hospital had plans to expand and wished to maintain a clean
environment within its grounds. Although this project did not succeed, it was a strong initiative
by a community to find a solution for their housing right in the city and as such it has become a
good example for other communities.

The search for funds to purchase land11
The Chief Technical Advisor of UNCHS (the project) encouraged the community to submit a
budget proposal to World Vision (a donor to the paediatric hospital) to purchase land for
relocation. In early 1997, the community submitted a budget to World Vision, who agreed to
provide US$25,000. In 1999, the deadline imposed by World Vision for the community to
purchase the land approached. However, the budget was not enough to purchase land, so the
community and the concerned organisations made a budget proposal for the additional funds
required and submitted it to Phnom Penh Municipality. Thanks to the efforts of the community
and the large contribution from World Vision, the municipality approved the proposal and issued
10,000$ to the community.

In July 1999, after World Vision and the municipality agreed to provide the funds to the
community, UNCHS and URC acted as technical assistants and the committee members were
divided into 10 groups to find a land parcel that was well located. After discussion on the
location and characteristics of 10 pieces of land, the committee decided that the most
favourable land was located in Kork Kleang village. This land had an area of 7,610m² and cost
35,000$ (1m2 = 4.6 $) with the following characteristics; rice field, 1.5 km from the nearest
market, near a village, 1km from a pagoda, 50m from the village road and 500m from the
nearest Primary School

Land in Kork Khleang and its site layout design12
In August 1999, URC organised the Young Professionals (YPs) to collaborate with the
community committee's 16 sub-groups to discuss about the site layout plan for the new land.
Six options were designed: five options were produced based on community members' own
ideas during group discussions, with YPs facilitating discussions and providing technical
assistance in each group, and one option was designed by UNCHS. Each site layout option
showed different approaches to plot sizes, type and dimension of roads in the community and
public facilities (community centre, health centre, pre- school, market and green spaces).

The six options were presented to all members of the community with the participation of the
concerned organisations and the municipality. Each option was given a colour code and people
voted. The community members selected two options that were based on ideas from the
community groups and suggested that the YPs combined these site layout plans into one. In
the following step, the UNCHS technical advisor adjusted the site layout plan according to the
planning law of the Municipality of Phnom Penh and submitted the plan to MPP to get official
approval. MPP approved the plan on February 25th 2000.

     Urban Resource Center and Project documentation, Feb 2002

Case study from Phnom Penh, Cambodia                                                      7
                                                                         Case study – Kork Khleang I

The site layout plan that the people selected had the following characteristics; size of each plot
4.5m x 9.5m (111 plots), market 55m x 6.5m, pre-school 9m x 19m, community and health
centre 6m x 5m, one main internal road 5m wide and five small internal roads 3.5m.

Designing a house13
To help each family design their house, the YPs group designed the houses according to each
family's choice and financial means. This process took two and a half months and a lot of hard
work. The designs were used to construct the houses on the new land and to submit housing
loan proposals to the Urban Poor Development Fund (UPDF). There were many steps in this
process;1) Survey of existing construction material available in each family, 2) Discuss and
design the people's idea of their "dream house", 3) Construction of housing models in small
scale for each family, 4) Drawing of accurate housing plans to scale, 5) Adjust housing design
in each family, 6) Drawing of each housing plan to scale for the last time, 7) Estimate the cost
of each house and 8) Help to organize documentation of housing plans and estimates to submit
to UPDF for housing loan.

Basic infrastructure work on the new land
After the land filling was finished, a working group was formed that included the community
committee, UNCHS and URC's technical team, to divide the site into plots according to the plan
that had been approved by all the concerned parties. For the allocation of the plots to each
family, the committee collaborated with Sangkat and Khan authorities to organise a lottery. The
committee ran the process and the authorities just facilitated and provided the venue. The
community organized 2 steps for the plot allocation process; First step - lottery for each saving
group (11 groups). Each group elected a representative. Each representative picked a number
at random that corresponded to an area of land (block of plots). Second step - allocation of the
plots in each group. The community decided to give the responsibility for plot division among
the families to each group. Some groups organised a lottery and others divided the plots by
agreement among the members.

Water is one of the priority problems in the relocation of urban poor. Meanchey Development
community was successful in that sense and became a model community, but Kork Kleang I
community still confronted problems of water supply. The land was already purchased when the
fist drill was made and no water was found.

In August 1999, UNCHS organised the drilling of 4 wells under a contract with SAWAC. Water
was found in one of the four wells, at a depth of 86m. The others were dug to a depth of 100m,
but no water was found. In January 2000, SAWAC tested the water. The results showed that
the water had Manganese and Phosphore and could not be used for drinking. The well and the
pump that was installed cost US$1,650 (see design in appendix 4). The water is used for
bathing and laundry. Following this experience and the lessons learnt from it, it is strongly
recommended that water feasibility studies be made prior to all future land purchase for
relocation site.

Toilet Construction
After organising the site layout and plot allocation, UNCHS and URC technical team discussed
a lot of times with the committees about toilet construction in each family. UNCHS funded
8,656$ for the construction of 112 toilets: 111 individual toilets cost around 75$ for each family
in the community and 1 toilet cost 127 $ for the future pre- school. (see design and cost
estimate in appendix 5) For this project UNCHS gave the toilet construction training and the
priority to the community committee to contract the construction works that would be
implemented according to the technical plan in the contract. In the conditions of contract, the

     Urban Resource Center and Project documentation, Feb 2002

Case study from Phnom Penh, Cambodia                                                      8
                                                                        Case study – Kork Khleang I

plot owners would provide labour by digging 2 pits. Each pit was 2.5m deep and 1.2m wide.
The project started in July and was completely finished by October 2000. Each day the
committee could install 10 squat plates (after each family dug the pits and the committee
members installed the rings). However, during the construction, there were a few problems
which delayed the process:
The company did not produce rings fast enough to keep with the pace of construction
30 families chose a different squat plate for which they paid 5$ or 12.5$ extra depending on the
Some pits collapsed due to heavy rain at the beginning of the construction period.
 In the process, URC and UNCHS technical team monitored daily and facilitated the technical
works. After completion of the toilet the families could begin their relocation.

The families begin to relocate14
After the main priority infrastructure works were constructed on the new land such as pump,
toilets, and a temporary road, in September and October 2000, the people in Toek Laok 14
community relocated to Kork Kleang area. As it was the rainy season, the community
suggested to MPP to spread the relocation period over 2 months.
The relocation process was organised in 3 steps:
First step: 60 families moved
Second step: 30 families moved
Third step: 21 families moved

MPP provided support for the transport of housing material from the old settlement to the new
land and also 20 kg of rice for each family. Each family was responsible for dismantling their
own house. In the moving process, the priority in the early step was given to families that had
the possibility to construct their house. The people built temporary shelters for 2 months while
they constructed their houses.

Problem with the water supply15
Because drilling for ground water was not successful, the community put a lot of effort into
discussing and suggesting solutions to the water supply problem to the concerned
organisations and the MPP. In the discussion to find solutions, the community was given 2
options: connecting to a water supply network belonging to the private sector, or making water
filters and using the water pond near the community as a source of supply. The water filter
option was not accepted by the people because they felt that it would not provide enough
quantities of water and the people did not believe that the water would be purified enough for
drinking. So the community suggested to the UNCHS to transfer the money available for drilling
wells for a connection to the water supply network. UNCHS accepted this suggestion and
collaborated with the community to negotiate with the Water Supply Authority a water
connection for the community. The Water Supply Authority was positive and supportive but
does not however plan to connect this area to the supply network until year 2001-2002 after
which the new network would be transferred from the private vendor to the city.
In the mean time, the people bought water from the private sellers for drinking and cooking (one
200 litre tank cost 2500r), but for bathing and washing clothes, people used the water from the
nearby pond and from the water pump.
Because of the difficulties in each family of spending a lot of money for buying water, the
community submitted a proposal to UNCHS, ANS and MPP to connect to a water supply
system run by a private company.
During a meeting of all concerned parties, some guidelines were adopted as follows:

     Urban Resource Center and Project documentation, Feb 2002

Case study from Phnom Penh, Cambodia                                                     9
                                                                         Case study – Kork Khleang I

There are two relocation communities near each other in Kork Kleang village, Kork Kleang 1
and Kork Kleang 2. Both communities confronted the same problem of water supply, so both
communities would be assisted.
The Water Supply Authority would arrange the pipe connections inside the communities to
make it easier for the authority to connect the settlements to the public network in the future.
Contributions to the connection costs outside and inside the two settlements:
1. Each community would contribute 18% = $ 1997 for internal connection: in Kork Kleang 1,
each family would pay $23 and in Kork Kleang 2, each family would pay $27.
2. MPP would assist 15% = $1664 for internal connection.
3. UNCHS would assist 45% = $4991 for internal connection.
4. ANS would assist 4% = $443 for internal connection.
5. ANS would assist 100% = $ 2500 for connection on the public road.

In Kork Kleang 1 community, 108 families have already connected their house to the water
supply network but 3 families did not connect because they could not pay $23 for water
connection. The price of the water is 3000riel/m³.
The water supply connection works started on 17 January 2001 and were completed on 1st
February 2001.

More proposals16
Electricity Supply
Since they started relocating in mid August 2000 until 2001, the community had not received
electricity supply from authority yet. 30% of families connected to the electricity network from
the private sector for a charge of 1000riel/Kw. Some families could not pay this price so they
used candles or lamps. Because the electricity arrangements in the community are temporary,
the poles and wire system is untidy and could cause accidents.
Nowadays the leader and the committee are organising a proposal for a connection to the
public electricity network. They are waiting for an estimate of the costs from EDC to submit to
UNCHS and ANS for funding.
Drainage Construction
The committees and leader organised a proposal for drainage construction for collection and
disposal of rain water and household waste water (other than from toilets) to submit to UNCHS.
Nowadays the people throw the domestic waste water into the pit latrines. UNCHS has now
approved to fund 7,282 $ for drainage construction and the community will be contracted for the
construction (see design in appendix 8).

Access and internal road
After land filling and the division into plots, UNCHS built internal and external temporary roads
for the community. There are two kinds of roads, a 5m wide main road, and five 3.5 m wide
smaller roads. Before, the community had no entrance road to the settlement but after
discussion between community, concerned organisations and villagers, they were permitted to
construct an entrance road. For the construction of permanent roads, the community will submit
a proposal to UNCHS.

After most of the houses were constructed already, the committee and community leader had a
plan to manage garbage in the community. The community united to hire a collection truck to
collect the garbage in the community once per week and the people paid 1,500 riel per month.
Because some families did not pay the fee and some paid irregularly, the community stop hiring
the truck. Garbage disposal became the responsibility of each family. Garbage around the
community is picked up once per month by the people. Most garbage is burnt in or around the

     Urban Resource Center and Project documentation, Feb 2002

Case study from Phnom Penh, Cambodia                                                     10

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