INCREMENTAL URBANISM
ULAANBAATAR'S GER DISTRICTS

For thousands of years, Mongolians have been living in gers – portable structures made of timber, felt and canvas. It is a perfect dwelling for the nomads. Yet, when this specific type of dwelling forms the basic unit of inhabitation for Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, it has led to unsustainable urban development, resulting in sprawling districts that lack basic urban infrastructure and contribute to toxic levels of air pollution in the city from coal burning stoves.

The report positions the Ger districts of Ulaanbaatar as a unique example of an informal, yet legal, settlement. It documents their spatial characteristics and mechanisms of growth and the impact of this urbanisation process. Based on this research, the creation of an incremental urban strategy for the Ger districts through the implementation of a series of architectural prototypes, sets out an alternative model for how these districts can be upgraded. As a more agile, bottom-up solution, it could offer much needed sustainable development solutions for the fringe districts of the city. As the ger district phenomenon is not just specific to Ulaanbaatar, but exists in every urban area of Mongolia, it could have widespread ramifications for the entire country.


Download Research Report:

Executive Summary    Final Report
       


The research project “Incremental Urbanism: Ulaanbaatar’s Ger Settlements” is funded by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.