Green Corridor Plan (1975): Land Policy in Ulaanbaatar

Land in Mongolia is a valuable resource given that over 80% of its land (156 million hectares) are pastureland[1]. Historically, Mongols did not have the concept of private land ownership for specific land areas[2]. There was mutual recognition on particular locations near the Tuul river that would be rotated around occupants[3].

Under Soviet rule, all Mongolian land was under state ownership where the privatization of pastoral land is prohibited[4]. At the same time, the local land administration system entitled Mongolian citizens to claim certain plots of land in Ulaanbaatar[5].

According to the Law on Allocation of Land to Mongolian Citizens for Ownership Article 7.1, each Mongolian family in Ulaanbaatar can own up to 0.7 hectares of land for residential and agricultural purposes[6].

The provision of private land ownership became a controversial issue as it created procedural complexities but provided the flexibility for intensive commercial usage[7].

Adding to the complication of land ownerships, the urban phenomenon of ger districts in Ulaanbaatar do not fit within the formalities of the law[8]. Interestingly, these informal settlements are accepted formally as the local traditional housing[9] that continues to function over the years. Ger district residents are also entitled to their land and property, recognized by formal planning institutions[10].

The above various land policies pose as a huge challenge to enforce urban restructuring as large number of stakeholders are concerned. It can be observed that there are increasing plots of ger districts in the Green Corridor Plan which raises the potential of gers as an option for permanent urban dwelling[11] that could alleviate population growth while co-exist with modern apartments as they are under different land administrative systems.

Fig.1: The distinct urban form of gers and apartments co-existing in Ulaanbaatar (Source: Carmel, “Getting to Know Ulaanbaatar: A District Guide,” RE Talk Asia, April 05, 2016, , accessed December 19, 2018, https://www.retalkasia.com/news/2016/04/05/getting-know-ulaanbaatar-district-guide/1459818113.)

[1] Tim Hanstad and Jennifer Duncan, “Land Reform In Mongolia: Observations And Recommendations,” RDI Reports on Foreign Aid and Development #109, Rural Development Institute (April 2001): 1.

[2] Jennifer L. Hanson, Nations in Transition: Mongolia (USA: Facts On File, 2004), 83.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Hanstad, Land Reform, 1.

[5] Raven Anderson and Michael Hooper, “Competing Organisational Perspectives on Rapid Urbanisation and Its Management: A Case Study of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,” 39, no. 2 (2017): 188, doi:https://doi.org/10.3828/idpr.2016.30.

[6] Law On Allocation Of Land To Mongolian Citizens For Ownership, Cap 1 § 1 (2003).

[7] Hanstad, Land Reform, 1.

[8] Raven, Competing, 188.

[9] Tseregmaa Byambadorj, Marco Amati, and Kristian J. Ruming, “Twenty-first Century Nomadic City: Ger Districts and Barriers to the Implementation of the Ulaanbaatar City Master Plan,” Asia Pacific Viewpoint 52, no. 2 (August 2011): 167.

[10] Raven, Competing, 188

[11] Byambador, Twenty-first, 167.

References:

Byambadorj, Tseregmaa, Marco Amati, and Kristian J. Ruming. “Twenty-first Century Nomadic City: Ger Districts and Barriers to the Implementation of the Ulaanbaatar City Master Plan.” Asia Pacific Viewpoint 52, no. 2 (August 2011): 165-77.

Anderson, Raven, and Michael Hooper. “Competing Organisational Perspectives on Rapid Urbanisation and Its Management: A Case Study of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.” 39, no. 2 (2017). doi:https://doi.org/10.3828/idpr.2016.30

Carmel. “Getting to Know Ulaanbaatar: A District Guide.” RE Talk Asia. April 05, 2016. Accessed December 19, 2018. https://www.retalkasia.com/news/2016/04/05/getting-know-ulaanbaatar-district-guide/1459818113.

Hanson, Jennifer L. Nations in Transition: Mongolia. USA: Facts On File, 2004.

Hanstad, Tim, and Jennifer Duncan. “Land Reform In Mongolia: Observations And Recommendations.” RDI Reports on Foreign Aid and Development #109, Rural Development Institute (April 2001): 1-68.

Law On Allocation Of Land To Mongolian Citizens For Ownership, Cap 1-7 (2003).

 

2 Comments on “Green Corridor Plan (1975): Land Policy in Ulaanbaatar

  1. I find it surprising to learn about the policy on citizens’ right to claim 0.7 hectares of land in Mongolia. In my opinion, this is in some way an irresponsible and passive urban planning solution to the booming population issue caused by the nomads’ urban settlement and migration though it can be justified as a policy paying respect to the original nomadic living style in ger and conserving Mongolian traditions. The urban fabric is left scrambled and infrastructure in the ger area is almost undeveloped. Do you think this is a suitable way of planning in Ulaanbaatar or do you agree the goverment should make more effort? If so, do you have any suggestion in terms of land use planning and management for Ulaanbaatar?

    • I agree with Lynn idea of how the urban fabric is left scrambled, where there are areas that is under development but the ger district are definitely need attentions. In other cities there are regulations / master plans that launched by the government in a way to improve the urban fabric of the city. For Ulaabaatar, there are public facilitates situated within the ger district which some are actually managed by the citizen itself. It might be possible for the government to take in charge on the city should be organised instead giving the amount of hectares to the citizen and leave it for them to decide how they going to use it. Somehow coordination is needed to improve make the city functioned better.

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