Hanging up the hard hat

With no building in Phnom Penh higher than four storeys only 20 years ago, Cambodia's capital and many provincial cities have seen explosive development. But with the hard hats hung up on many smaller projects in recent months, how sustainable is the boom?

Months into the Covid-19 crisis, the clatter of construction has grown fainter and fainter.

The pandemic, like in so many other respects, has exacerbated great divides between the resource-rich and resource-poor on Cambodia’s construction and finance landscape. While the mega-sites of Koh Pich, the man-made island in the Mekong River off the banks of Phnom Penh, are still humming with activity, construction activity elsewhere in the city and the country has fallen off as streams of investment have withered.

For workers at a site on a side-street just off Phnom Penh’s Botum Pagoda Park, the lack of construction capital has marooned them where they once worked. A group of six passed the time on a weekend afternoon in what might someday be a hotel lobby, perching themselves on construction materials set upon the sandy ground. Above them rose the concrete shell, wrapped and dormant in green mesh netting.

In full: https://southeastasiaglobe.com/hanging-up-the-hard-hat/

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