The clash of rural-urban migrants and real estate investors on Phnom Penh's housing market: Prospects for garment workers

Research English OPEN
Buttmann, Vera (2017)
  • Publisher: Berlin: Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy Berlin
  • Subject: F63 | F66 | L67 | R21 | R23 | R28 | R31 | R38 | housing | real estate investment | entrepreneurial city | urbanisation | ruralurban migration | migrant workers | garment industry
    • ddc: ddc:330

Housing markets of large cities around the world, particularly in so-called developing and emerging countries, are currently experiencing a clash: On the one hand, large numbers of labour migrants arrive from rural areas and need cheap rental housing. On the other hand, international real estate investment, particularly in the upper market segment, is strong. The resulting mismatch of housing demand and supply increases segregation, marginalises the vulnerable and leads to massive urban development problems. Phnom Penh illustrates this particularly well: Along with Cambodia's rapid globalisation in the last decades, hundreds of thousands of migrants, particularly garment workers, have moved to the capital. Housing for them is insufficient both in terms of supply and quality, though, because Phnom Penh's entrepreneurial mode of governance also attracts many investors, who focus on more profitable and prestigious real estate projects, often linked to speculation. These push land values up and push cheap rental housing further and further outside the city. This study carries out an indepth analysis of the prospects for rural-urban migrant workers on Phnom Penh's investor-driven housing market by firstly outlining both migration and real estate investment trends and by secondly examining the case of garment workers' housing. To complement the scarce literature on the topic, field research and expert interviews have been conducted. From these, an assessment of the status quo, of stakeholders' approaches to it and finally, proposals for action are derived.
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