Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
The population of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, has increased by 197% in the last twenty years, resulting in the creation of sprawling districts with no basic infrastructure that house over 60% of the city’s population. Current development plans are proving ineffective as they require huge investments toward land-owner compensation and infrastructure, and rely on developers for implementation. As an alternative, we have developed a strategic framework for sustainable and affordable district upgrading for these sites as an Incremental Development Manual. The manual offers a strategy for in situ development that accommodates incremental growth and collective improvements to residents’ shared plots. It operates on a small scale, working on the mutual benefits of four households working together as the basic unit for all further transformation. This paper will demonstrate how this strategy reflects the diversity of housing needs and incomes of ger district inhabitants, and discusses potential financial tools for housing and infrastructure provision, including the potential for cooperative development.