Gentrifying Phnom Penh

While a growing young middle class is increasingly seen in the numerous shopping malls, boutiques and dozens of coffee shops that fill the city, the people that are being evicted from the old buildings are moving to new satellite cities outside Phnom Penh. Among these changes, the concept of gentrification is starting to be seen in every corner and neighbourhood of the city, contrasting with the working conditions of those who are building the new Phnom Penh.
With $4.9 billion worth of new projects approved in the first half of this year alone (equating to a 28% increase from the same period in 2016), the poorest in society are being left behind or pushed to the margins. Gentrification is not just transforming the skyline, but also the character of the Cambodian capital, with the preservation of iconic buildings such as the White Building or colonial-era landmarks far off the government’s priority list. Hundreds of new luxury skyscrapers are now taking the place of French colonial houses and traditional metal roof homes; big brands are opening their boutiques and restaurants as malls and supermarkets sprout throughout the city, and really expensive cars start to occupy more often than ever before the dusty roads of the capital. 
Photography: © Omar Havana. All Rights are Reserved