More than 200 scientists, researchers, and specialists took part in the International Conference on Science and Technology in Urban Development on May 4, to share new and innovative ideas for Mongolia’s urban development.
Opening remarks were presented by United Nations Resident Coordinator BeateTrankmann, Mayor of Ulan-Ude Alexander Golkov, Deputy Head of the Russian Institute of Urban Development and Investment Victor Elistratov, and Senior Advisor and Urbanist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University Dr. Bharat Dahiya. Mayors of Ulaanbaatar’s sister cities sent video messages to be played during the conference.
Interactive sessions were held on the following topics:
1. “Urban Development – Legal Environment”, which focused on evaluating urban development in Mongolia and the legal systems of cities
2. “Urban Development – Innovation”, emphasizing the importance of finding new and innovative urban development solutions based on science and technical advancements, especially for infrastructure, waste management, and air and soil pollution
3. “Urban Development – Economy”, which covered financial solutions to improve Ulaanbaatar’s economic situation and further develop the city; participants also shared experience and information about effective policies to strengthen the city’s budgeting and financing
Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold, the founder of Mongolian Cities Association NGO and initiator of the conference, couldn’t attend the conference due to a prior commitment. T.Gandi read a statement from the Speaker for the conference’s attendees.
The Speaker’s statement read, “Policymakers will stumble across a few hurdles. First of all, there’s a need to deliver cheaper but better utility services and infrastructure to the residents of the city. Second, environmental pollution, such as air and soil pollution, are still urgent problems faced worldwide and will continue to be in the future. Lastly, we need to find ways to protect and shield the public from climate change, natural disasters, terrorism, and other crimes. I believe these are our main directions for cooperation, public and private partnership, and technological innovation. Cities might have different histories and development routes, but the issues we face are the same and so are the solutions.”
Speaker M.Enkhbold expressed his confidence that the conference will become a valuable event for advancing and sharing urban development solutions, and thanked everyone who took part in the conference.
Head of the Ulaanbaatar City Council and President of the Mongolian Cities Association Ts.Sandui spoke about the history of Ulaanbaatar and shared some of his ideas for the city’s development during his speech on the present status of urban development and legal reform.
He noted that Ulaanbaatar requires spatial and economic restructuring, and suggested that a new general action plan needs to address the management of employment and residential settlement, as well as clean air and environmental sustainability projects.
“The tendency for Ulaanbaatar to transform into a megacity in its second phase of development is becoming more evident. Residents in the capital and their needs are starting to shift towards either the suburbs, agglomeration, or the countryside. The city will expand into different regions, which will eventually cause suburbanization and rapidly increasing employment in the suburbs,” Ts.Sandui stated, recommending developing satellite cities in an orderly manner.
“Urbanization is occurring rapidly in most countries across the globe. This is the starting point and the foundation for industrial and post-industrial societies. At present, developed countries are already highly urbanized. Mongolia was ranked 85th in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Urban Population 2014 report. There’s a requirement for Ulaanbaatar to create an escape destination by decentralizing large shopping centers; developing Nalaikh, Baganuur, Bagakhangai, and Ulziit into satellite cities; and manufacturing consumer goods in small towns,” he advised.
Mayor of Ulaanbaatar S.Batbold, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of raising productive and intellectual individuals, especially researchers and scientists, for more effective and sustainable development initiatives.