Urban expansion branches out in every direction

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Areas of Mean Chey, which is being touted for its potential, border the enormous ING City development, pictured above. Photo supplied

Phnom Penh, covering a land mass of approximately 680 square kilometres, is reaching out to its immediate provincial relatives to accommodate the rapid rate of urban expansion.

With the capital’s population expected to reach more than 2.5 million by 2035, more housing and ease of traffic for the people is key to effective urbanisation.

Although real estate experts have differing opinions on which direction to best take this urbanisation, renowned Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann once suggested that the best course of development would be to open up the south of the capital. “[Developing] the city to the south is better than to the west as the south is an area that is higher above the river, which is key to avoiding floods,” Molyvann told B2B Cambodia in 2016.

The Mean Chey district, which encompasses communes Stung Mean Chey, Boeung Tumpun, Chak Angrae Leu, and Chak Angrae Kraom in the south-east of Phnom Penh, has been flourishing with development over the past five years.

According to the latest report by property valuation firm VTrust Appraisal, titled Mean Chey Market Review Q1 2017, the district stood out in terms of swift growth in residential and commercial hubs.

In spite of negative property market sentiments over the past year, Mean Chey’s land prices grew 5.6 percent, compared with the same period last year. The district’s abundance of large vacant land parcels, as well as the 2,572-hectare satellite city development ING City, continues to draw in developers and speculative buyers keen to have a piece of the land.

Mean Chey has a population of around 200,000, and borders some parts of Chamkarmon, Chbar Ampov, and Por Senchey districts. Because of the recent completion of the long-awaited Hun Sen Boulevard that runs as an arterial road through these rapidly ripening areas, VTrust said residential projects had been sprouting in masses.

1,500 low-rise housing units were completed in 2016, while the end of 2017 will see the addition of 2,700 more units in Stung Mean Chey commune – bringing the total cumulative supply of low-rise housing in Mean Chey to 9,400.

Improved infrastructure and the widening of roads have also contributed to current high land prices. In Stung Mean Chey, prices range from $1,450 to $4,470 per square metre, thanks in part to the recently improved Samdech Monireth Boulevard (Street 217) and Chamkar Doung Street.

The report went on to state that urban reach was not limited to only Mean Chey in the south of Phnom Penh. The sprawl of urban expansion is now evident in many directions, most notably in the Sen Sok district in the north, Por Senchey to the west, and Chroy Changvar in the east.

Por Senchey has 26,800 housing units both complete and underway, while Sen Sok comes in a close second with 18,400 units finished and under construction.

“While these are examples of how the capital has expanded, housing clusters and residential compounds tend to move into many directions, creating new hubs and communities to ease traffic pressure in the inner city centre and relocate to the affordable periphery,” Hoem Seiha, author of the report and VTrust’s research director, said.