Architects and engineers highlight Ulaanbaatar’s city planning issues
Architects and expert engineers convened on November 9 to discuss pressing issues in Ulaanbaatar’s city planning and Mongolia’s construction policy as a whole during a conference organized by the Association of Construction Designers, an NGO of designers in the construction sector.
A main topic of the conference was finding viable solutions to decrease Ulaanbaatar’s relatively high population density in an effort to address imminent issues in the capital’s city planning.
In particular, participants of the conference were quick to point out the shortcomings of the Mongolian government’s policy on city planning and the construction sector as a whole.
“In 2000, a general plan was drafted on the development of Ulaanbaatar. Mongolian engineers and architects drafted this plan. Foreign experts don’t say this is a bad plan. However, it is not implemented. Basically, you can say Ulaanbaatar has a general plan of development just for the sake of having one,” said president of the Association of Construction Designers and advisory engineer N.Dorj.
In his opening statement, N.Dorj underlined the government’s incompetence in both city planning and the construction sector as a whole.
“The construction sector has seen three minister changes in the last five years. Only one of them was an expert in the construction sector. We are organizing this meeting today to voice our opinions and make a certain contribution as professionals in this sector,” he stated.
Addressing Ulaanbaatar’s road system, advisory architect U.Ganbold said that reducing traffic is not possible if the correct road system was not put in place to begin with.
“Buildings last for maybe a 100 years. Cities remain for 500, which leaves mainly roads. A city cannot hope to reduce traffic if it has not planned out the correct road system to begin with. Businesses and individuals have built buildings where and how they see fit. We cannot live like this in the 21st century. All of these buildings have to receive permission from the city before commencing construction. We need to discuss why this is happening,” advisory architect U.Ganbold underlined.
U.Ganbold stressed that Ulaanbaatar needs to look to the future. He added that he believes a comprehensive law on the valuation of land in Ulaanbaatar is essential.
“When the government tries to build more roads and decrease traffic, buildings come in the way of this. This results in the government having to pay billions of MNT in compensation. They are squatting on public land and demanding billions of MNT.
In place of this, we could have a system where a private company evaluates the value of the land and the government compensates the owners accordingly. Of course, we cannot damage citizens’ property. This is the way we can make Ulaanbaatar a more organized city,” the architect stressed.