NAKHARA (Journal of Environmental Design and Planning)


Lily C. Wong

Publication Date



Investigating historical maps and texts, this essay charts the changing role of water in the spatial understanding and city design of three consecutive polities in Southeast Asia: pre-colonial tributarysystem, modern nationhood during the colonial period, and contemporary globalized neoliberal government. The role of water shifts from a heuristic device that is interwoven with political and territorial imaginings to a technocratically engineered commodity that is sacrificed in pursuit of modernization. Using the current urban design of Phnom Penh, Cambodia as an example, water remains the blind spot for urban development, despite the discussion of water sustainability at the regional scale.

First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.