City Planning in Cambodia

  • Martin Stuart-Fox
  • Paul Reeve
Living reference work entry

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City planning in Cambodia has gone through four phases: (i) 800–1431 when Angkor was the capital of the Khmer empire, (ii) fifteenth to nineteenth century, (iii) during French colonial rule (1863–1953), and (iv) since independence.

City Planning at Angkor

The key concept that informed early Khmer city planning was the cosmological belief that symbolic correspondences existed between the divine macrocosm of the Hindu gods and the mundane microcosm. The Khmer believed that the flow of power from the former to the latter could be ensured by giving these correspondences material expression in the configuration of centers of power.

In Hindu cosmology, the gods live in a divine city atop Mount Meru, the axis of the world, presided over by Indra, king of the gods (Mabbett, 1983). The mountain is surrounded by annular seas beyond which are the continents of different shapes located in the four directions, the southern one being the triangle of India. The Khmer king was believed to be the...


Mekong Delta City Planning Colonial Government Khmer Rouge Royal Palace 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.BrisbaneAustralia