International Competition: “Affordable Housing Design Challenge 2018″_May – August 2018

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My friends and I have very little time to chat because we work overtime every day. What’s important is that my friends and I don’t want to live like this. We want a place with certain standards; i.e. with enough equipment and a bathroom inside, with enough space to live in. (Hem Sela, 26)

Cambodia (Khmer: Kampuchea, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia) is currently experiencing something of an industrial revolution in the 21st century. Cambodia is developing to become an economic centre for manufacturing and production, graduating from the status of a Low income country to a Low- middle income Country in 2016. As more international companies move their production within Cambodia’s borders, the capital city located on the banks of the Tonlé Sap and Mekong River, Phnom Penh, is experiencing rapid urbanization.

As low-income workers flood the city to live nearer to employment opportunities, and to pursue better living conditions, the city struggles to build infrastructure and affordable housing to support its new residents. Despite the national economic optimism, many urban residents live in dismal, slum-like conditions. Small multi- family units with poor ventilation, light, and water access are offered without proper rent protection, leaving the city’s most desperate residents vulnerable to their landlords. Often, the housing available to these low-income workers is little more than a poorly constructed room.

The Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, in association with United Nations Development Programme SDG Finance initiative and Building Trust International, aims to support the transition from Special Economic Zones to SUSTAINABLE Economic Zones in line with the UN SDG Goals. This first challenge focuses on building new affordable social housing for low- income workers.

These new units should be well-designed, sustainable, and most importantly, improve the quality of life of the intended residents and the surrounding community. More than just housing, this new project should build a future for workers and their families in Cambodia.


Design professionals, Engineers, Architects, architecture/design/engineer graduates or architecture/design/engineer students are eligible to participate.

Key Dates:

Competition Officially Announced: 1st May 2018

Registration deadline: 15th July 2018

Closing Date for Submissions: 1st August 2018

Announcement of Winners: 1st September 2018

The winners will be posted on

To download catalogue with more info:

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