Asian Cities

Urban Development in the Margins of a World Heritage Site - In the Shadows of Angkor

This volume addresses the relationship between the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor (Cambodia), and the nearby town of Siem Reap. While previous work on heritage sites has mainly focused on protected areas, this book shifts the attention to the margins, where detrimental, tourism-driven urban development may take place. By delimiting a protected site, a non-heritage space is created in which spatial fragmentation, disruptive development processes, and unjust power plays can occur. In post-war Cambodia, liberalization and collective aspirations for progress have provided a strong incentive for modernization. Controversial interests compete in the arena of urban development, and real estate development prevails over planned growth. At the same time, Siem Reap's marginal position allows for some freedom in architectural and urban design. In the shadow of institutional control, this architectural space expresses alternative visions of the Khmer heritage and connects them with images of urban modernity.

Dr. Adèle Esposito is an architect and researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research. Her research deals with the uses of cultural heritage in the contemporary development of Southeast Asian cities. Combining the examination of spatial transformation with the analysis of social behaviours, political strategies, and collective meanings, her research considers cities and human settlements as complex cultural phenomena which give an account of the evolution and legacies of Southeast Asian societies.


Adèle Esposito is the Series Editor of the IIAS Asian Heritages Series.

In 2013, she was based at IIAS as a postdoctoral fellow. Parts of this book were written during this period.  

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