2. Current environmental issues
Ulaanbaatar City has expanded rapidly as its population
increased even more in a decade. At present, the population is about 1.3
million with half of the population of Mongolia living in the capital city. The
urban characteristics of Ulaanbaatar are different from other growing cities in
Asia with thought to a cold climate, history of nomadic life, socialistic-based
urban planning system, etc. After democratization and reform to the capitalist
economy in 90’s and land privatization to citizens, UB City has faced various
urban issues such as an uncontrolled expansion of urban areas, traffic
congestion, unstable urban economy and market, infrastructure gap, hazard risk,
worsening living environment, pollutions, and inappropriate urban management.
At present, air pollution has become one of the most
tackled issues of every citizen living in the capital city. The main source of
air pollution is ger-area which can be 60-70% source of air pollution. Twenty
percent of Mongolia’s population has migrated to Ulaanbaatar over the past
three decades. The Dzud is kind of natural disaster that has driven many to
leave their traditional way of living herding cattle and sheep and move to the
capital. Dzud is an ultra-cold-weather event supposed to occur in five-yearly
cycles but has been increasing in through the country. The dzuds reduce the
farmers’ livelihoods, and due to lack of political systems, the only option
left is to move to Ulaanbaatar and get a work. The people migrate to the city
with their gers, the amount of stoves increases too, each belting out enough
fire to cook three meals a day and burn the cold gers through the wintertime.
Ger is Mongolian traditional house that is very suitable
for nomadic people who move very frequently. However, the ger is not convenient
for living in city area because of hazard risk, no connection of water,
drainage, sewerage, heating, solid waste collection, etc. The ger areas have no
running water or waste disposal, while school and health hospital are massively
exceed by citizens.
3. Urban planning of the area related to environmental
The old built-up areas of the city center include some
130 km2 but the whole central area of UB, including ger areas, is now estimated
at around 4,700 km2. Basic services are extremely poor or even non-existent in
ger areas because of a population of ger area which includes 60 percent of
total population of UB. Approximately 85 percent of ger citizen’s burn wood or
coal in stoves for heating, in contrast, all apartment buildings are connected to
the central heating system. Ger residents must buy water at public water
kiosks, while apartment residents enjoy stable supplies of piped-in drinking
and hot water. The people who lived in ger area faced health risks such as
respiratory diseases and hepatitis because of poor urban services that can have
led to environmental degradation, including the pollution of air and soil.
Enormous efforts have been made for the planning of
ger-area development by the UB City government since 2002 when the urbanization
process significantly began in UB. Urban planners are required to hold some
physical and spatial images for the development need to be delineated. In order
to develop and planning ger-area should be considered about various aspect of
the environmental issue. In this report, I would like to more consider to
develop ger area above the two way that would provide better condition to live
for the citizens: (i)Housing and land, (ii)Roads and Public Transport
Housing and Land: Citizens
tend to privatize land that effort has been increasing after the country’s
change to a market economy. Private ownership of land and houses is generally
high. In older and established ger areas, nearly 99 percent of families own
their own dwellings and land. Private ownership of land is around 60 percent
for apartments and 92 percent for single family housing. A long-term goal is to
move ger area into the apartment. Mongolian government present plan to
construct apartment instead of ger area. But, the plan has been put on hold
because of growing economic pressure.
Roads and Public Transport: The poor
condition of unplanned and unstructured earthen roads
in ger areas is one of the most serious concerns expressed by ger residents.
Many parts of these roads are impassable for vehicles, have drainage
problems, pose traffic safety hazards and are the source
of a substantial amount of dust. Also, the lack of street lights contributes to
higher crime rates after dark.
Inadequate access to public transportation ger citizens
at a problem because they spend many times to go their work and schools. Residents
who live in suburb tend to rely massively on public buses because they cannot
buy a private car. Inhabitants of ger areas walk long distances from public
transportation because some other transportation such as buses, mini-buses, and
taxis cannot serve on the small dirt roads in ger areas.
on current plans.
Housing and Land: About
an apartment market price is on average Tg(Tugrug Mongolian currency)43.4
million–Tg60.2 million ($31,000–$43,000) which are worthy assets for families
in the city. On the other hand, the market price of ger area is lower than
apartment except for the area Tg29.4 million ($21,000) where is located near
to downtown. Also, the price decreases central area to suburb area Tg1,820,000
Resident in ger area will not have a chance to live in an
apartment without some loan because of their lack of a financial problem. Furthermore,
a mortgage loan is just starting to develop in the city. 10 percent of house
owners using and fewer than 20 percent of apartment residents use mortgage loan.
Solving this critical issue, the
government should more consider some alternatives way like low-cost housing and
low-income public rental housing.
Ger area residents are not generally satisfied with their
living environment due to such factors as air pollution and the lack of key
infrastructure and social facilities, including roads, garbage collection, and
public space. Numerous citizens, particularly those living close to downtown
and in the remote ger areas, would prefer to live in apartments. However, a
number of residents, who live near the city center, prefer to retain their
existing housing but with recovered living conditions and greater
infrastructure and services. Even for residents who have steady incomes and
could afford to purchase apartments, getting loans from commercial banks at an
affordable rate would be a key challenge. This is because bank loans are scarce
and credit and mortgage market are still evolving.
Roads and Public Transport: One
of the key reasons operators do not provide service to these areas is the
extremely poor condition of roads, which prevents them from
entering many areas. Improving road quality would
encourage public transport providers to extend their operations, and it would
appear that demand is high for public transport services in these areas. While
paving roads would increase access, it would also have a dramatic
impact on area development, both in terms of land
use and socio-economic activity. As such, any plans to pave or build roads must be
considered in light of local land use plans.
If roads are to be paved, facilities for pedestrians,
including sidewalks and street lighting, must be included.
It would also make sense to consider preserving the rights-of-way for possible
future utility services (power, water and waste water), although
this could involve considerable additional expense.
However, because of the significant cost involved, the provision of water
supply and sanitation services should only be considered if there are apartment
blocks along a paved road’s alignment.
Maintaining the improved roads would present another
challenge. The value of maintaining roads has long been recognized: Roads in
good condition reduce vehicle operating costs, decrease travel times, and
contribute to safe driving conditions. All road projects would need to be
carefully reviewed and subjected to a variety of technical assessments. These
would include geotechnical studies and hydrological reviews, as well as
economic, financial, environmental and social analyses to ensure their
viability and value for money.