UNESCO Studio Phnom Penh

The UNESCO Chair in Urban Landscape has been running a research-creation program called the UNESCO Studio (formerly WAT UNESCO) since 2003. The program works with cities worldwide and brings together scientific experts, practitioners, and students to address the pressing issues of sustainable urban development. During an intensive two-week period, they work with local authorities and stakeholders to identify the population’s needs and major challenges related to infrastructure, economic development, and ecological systems. The UNESCO Studio supports UNESCO values concerning equity, diversity and inclusion in cities, gender equality, empowerment, and access to knowledge. The UNESCO Studio has taken place in various cities like Hanoi (Vietnam), Reggio di Calabria (Italy), Marrakesh (Morocco), Saida (Lebanon), Mahdia (Tunisia), Ganghwa (South Korea), Shanghai (China), Kobe (Japan), Rome (Italy), Montreal (Canada), Binzhou (China), São Paulo (Brazil), and Évry (France).

The UNESCO Studio employs urban ethnography methods to generate representations of the city. These representations are then used to propose future development of the areas, utilizing creative design, planning skills, and discipline-specific tools. At the end of the studio, research findings and design proposals are presented in an exhibition.

Since 2023, the UNESCO Studio focussed on cities built along major rivers as part of the ongoing UNESCO Chair in Urban Landscape projects. This studio is part of the larger research project “Fluvialités”, which aims to develop practical and transferable knowledge about major rivers’ governance and integrated management.

The upcoming edition of the UNESCO Studio will be held from May 13-24 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.