Shenzhen, China – The Shenzhen Urban Planning and Design Institute has been commissioned to undertake a masterplan to transform Sihanoukville into a modern sprawling metropolis, using the Shenzhen experience as its secret recipe.
The institute is a planning, consulting, research and design agency that focuses on creating and pragmatically solving urban problems.
The institute specialises in multi-disciplinary integrated planning to cope with the complex problems that arise during urban development.
Since its establishment in 1990, it has completed more than 3,500 projects in Shenzhen and more than 200 locations at home and abroad, covering macro-regional research, urban comprehensive development consulting, planning and urban design, transportation and municipal infrastructure, low-carbon ecological technology research and application, regional development policies and other areas.
It is with this conviction and decades of experience in turning a sleepy hollow of a fishing village into an industrial, technological and commercial metropolis, a huge success story for China as a whole, that the institute hopes to undertake the 18-months long masterplan for the coastal city’s rehabilitation and redevelopment.
Xiao Sima, president and chief technology officer, addressing a Cambodian media delegation in Shenzhen on Wednesday, said that representatives from the institute have already made three study trips to see first-hand the intricacies and challenges of mapping out a masterplan within 18 months from January 2020.
Preliminary findings from the trips were compiled into a report and sent to the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cambodia, which has forwarded it to Prime Minister Hun Sen for recommendations and approval.
“We are aware of the numerous challenges we will face. We have been actively meeting with various stakeholders, both government, private, nongovernmental organisations and civil societies organisations as well as international agencies such as UNIDO, Jica and Kotra,” he said.
“The objective of these consultations are to understand well and thoroughly the obstacles we will face in this massive undertaking. We have the experience in developing Shenzhen from ground zero to a sprawling metropolis,” Mr Xiao added. “In Sihanoukville, we are not starting from ground zero and this gives an edge and also a better understanding of the local elements which dictates development there.”
Mr Xiao said that the institute is also currently working on three other international projects. They are a conceptual plan for Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, Nigeria, a conceptual plan for a township project in Sri Lanka and a plan for Luanda New Town, Uganda.
As for the masterplan for the redevelopment of Sihanoukville, Mr Xiao said that the plan also includes the development of a Special Economic Zone, a logistics base for the soon to commence oil and gas industry, as well as sewerage, power and water supply projects.
“We are under no illusion about the massive challenges we will face in undertaking the master plan. But I am confident that with the support and consultations with the Royal Government of Cambodia, the provincial authorities and other stakeholders, including residents, we will be able to prevail,” Mr Xiao said.
“Toward this end, we are fully aware of the massive expectations placed on us. We will not fail. As for funding for the undertaking of the masterplan, it is still being negotiated with various stakeholders, including UNIDO,” he added.