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.

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