Phnom Penh was subject to westernisation during colonisation. Constructions of European styles and great public works sequentially proceeded to transform the city. Ancient canal dating to 1413 was restored enclosing French city for flood prevention and leaving locals outside. Not until 1899 did then urbanism orient to localisation and the canal was developed for a green-space. Semantically, this paper showed a long vista of the green terrace likely featured a main gate into Phnom Penh, through which its characters could be recognised as a commercial, peaceful and modern city. Spatial structure persists, but socio-economic changes gradually transform its face as a centre of infrastructure for commerce to be a tourist spot, where urban memories from the events are layered. No sooner have restrictions been imposed than the developments. The area is now a site of Cambodia’s first skyscrapers, so the study suggested historic district preservation system into the current practices to protect desired image of this small historic site.
Keywords: French colonial urbanism, Phnom Penh, Ernest Hébrard, historic district preservation, green-space, vista