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Title: Space for place? : an exploration of Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium
Author: Chase, Jefferey Chase
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores meanings and intersections of place at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium in relation to three interconnected periods of the city’s recent urban history. Constructed during a period of nation building shortly after Cambodia’s independence in 1953, the stadium was symbolic of what the young nation was striving to achieve. A period of political instability would soon follow during the early 1970s, eventually resulting in Phnom Penh falling to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975. During the ‘zero years’ from 1975-1979 in which the city’s residents were evacuated into labor camps throughout the countryside, the stadium became a site of military training and executions. More recently, the stadium has become widely celebrated as one of the few remaining informal public spaces in this rapidly changing city. Here, the stadium sits as a living witness, an evolving public space that is layered with a complex history. This witness speaks to urbanists about the importance of place in the post-violence city. Drawing heavily on empirical research undertaken at and around the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh over a 12-month period of residential fieldwork, this interdisciplinary study contributes to the ways in which urban planning theory and practice conceptualizes and addresses place in the context of the post-violence city. Conceptually, place can be read as a product of relations, and is constituted through time and memory. As such, place offers a powerful portal to engage questions of urban repair. Such a framework is helpful in examining how the stadium emerges as place, and in articulating some of the meanings of place within this everyday public space in the contemporary post-violence city. This study yields important findings surrounding the active historical significance of the stadium, the ongoing utility of the stadium, and the critical importance of the stadium within the context of rapid neoliberalisation and neopatrimonial planning in Phnom Penh. In light of current redevelopment plans, these findings speak with urgency to the preservation of the stadium and align more broadly towards calls for revamped interdisciplinary responses to urban repair after violence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available