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Transformation in a time of transition: CDF-DPU workshop
Students from the Development Planning Unit (University College London) came to Cambodia in May for a fieldwork workshop carried out in collaboration with Cambodia’s Community Development Foundation and CAN-CAM (Community Architecs Network of Cambodia). 

In the first part of the workshop, students learnt about the reality of development process in the country, and specifically about community-driven approach by CDF, through field visits in different communities and lectures from experts from universities, NGOs, UN-Habitat and the government. Then they  worked on the ground with CAN-CAM, their networked communities and students from Cambodian universities in upgrading solutions. The task for the students, who were divided in 6 different sites in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces, was to analyse the transformation potential and capacity of communities and the network within their provincial socio-political context, and present back development strategies to the CDF, local governments and communities. Working together with the communities the groups devised development proposals focusing on strategic collaborations and site interventions to improve settlements living conditions, within context of existing community and government structures and processes. All the activities helped CDF to strengthen its partnerships with local authorities and re-connect with the people in the region. 

The workshop included a meeting with H.E. Govenor of Phnom Penh to discuss issues within city development agenda, presentations to local authorities in the districts and municipalities involved and a final presentation at Phnom Penh municipality office. 

A new topic explored was the role of “human-centered design” and its contribution not only to capacity building but to networking and advocacy. The DPU/CAN-CAM workshop brought together professional architecture practices and academia to develop the concepts of “human-centered design” and spatial agency within the reality on the ground of urban poor in Cambodia. Bringing together international and local students and technical professionals on policy analysis and design interventions, the workshop further contributed to the building of a network of academics and practitioners interested in the power of human-centered design and planning processes across South East Asia.

For further information, download the students’ reports or contact  Nylen from CDF at 
Community Development Foundation: CDF, Development Planning Unit: DPU
Transformation in a time of transition: CDF-DPU workshop
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