Foregrounding the interconnections that fuel speculation in Phnom Penh, this article examines experiments by developers and investors who not only seek to bring built projects to the real estate market but also work to build markets by reconfiguring space. The staggering changes to Phnom Penh's built landscape over the last decade have been produced by a motley group of actors stoked by exuberance over property values and expectations of growth. Prominent among this group are Asian developers motivated by projected windfalls of property-centric development and spurred on by competition with one another. But in working to transform one of the last low-rise cities in Asia, developers have had to produce the conditions of possibility to build—through the stories that they tell about Phnom Penh, with the city's ascendance imagined as if through shared development arcs that have transformed Asia; the social and regulatory structures that make the economy open and accessible to developers' attempts to unleash new property forms; and the market strategies behind built projects that must be continuously modified in order to make property in the city viable.
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Sylvia Nam; Urban Speculation, Economic Openness, and Market Experiments in Phnom Penh. positions 1 November 2017; 25 (4): 645–667. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-4188350
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