There’s No Place Like Home. The White Building, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Crumbling, ramshackle and situated slap bang in the centre of a rapidly changing Phnom Penh, The White Building seems oblivious to the glass and steel high-rises sprouting up all around it. But the thriving community of more than 2,500 artists, nuns, sex workers and civil servants who live in this sprawling slum are all too aware that the place they call home is on borrowed time.
Cambodia is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia – its GDP climbed more than 7% each year between 2010 and 2013 – and foreign developers are keen to cash in on a booming market. In 2014, the construction sector attracted almost 2,000 projects, with a total investment of $2.5 bn, and among all this is The White Building which is squatting on prime real estate.
On 20th July 2015 residents were served a formal eviction notice amid rumours that the land has been earmarked for a luxury hotel. Although many have already been deported to the peripheries of the city, those who have stayed are finding creative ways to try and save the homes their families have lived in for generations.