A new World Bank report said Wednesday that improved urban planning, management, and infrastructure are needed to avoid further sprawl, congestion and pollution in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia.
The report, titled Urban Development in Phnom Penh, said Phnom Penh has witnessed significant urban growth over the last decade, and now has nearly two million residents in an increasingly sprawling urban landscape.
The report highlighted mounting challenges in the provision of basic services, including drainage, wastewater treatment, public transport and solid waste management. The management and finance of planning, governance and delivery of services have also been strained, it noted.
It said that despite an existing planning process, gaps in financing and technical capacity often lead to bottlenecks in the development of urban, spatial, and land use plans, especially at the Khan (district) and Sangkat (commune) levels.
"Phnom Penh faces an important opportunity to positively shape its future, create more jobs, and enable better services," Inguna Dobraja, World Bank country manager for Cambodia, said in a press release. "Urban development that is well-managed and planned can make a world of difference in ensuring better living standard for generations to come."
Judy Baker, World Bank lead economist, one of the report's authors, said well-planned cities allow the socio-economic benefits of urbanization to be fully harnessed and can create vibrant, livable, urban spaces.
"This is fully possible for Phnom Penh, but it will be a long-term process and will require a strong commitment from the government, citizens and the private sector," she said.