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Urban Yurts

Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, was planned by the Russian government in the 1950s with extensive infrastructure and lush city parks. That infrastructure is deteriorating, while more of the nomadic population move to the city to survive.

40% of Mongolians are nomadic, following their herds around the countryside and living out of yurts (tent-like homes). That way of life is becoming harder to maintain, and the nomads are finding they must move to the capital to survive, moving into "yurt districts."

Sarah Bassett writes about Ulaanbaatar's history: "During Soviet occupation, the first master plan for Ulaanbaatar was developed and began its implementation in the 1950s, following with revisions in urbanization policy guaranteeing the planting of gardens and trees and provision of municipal services. By the 1980s, Ulaanbaatar was a vibrant city flush with park space, community friendly courtyards, functioning roadways, and infrastructure maintenance. It has been during the past twenty years that a massive change in the conditions of the city has occurred."

Full Story: Post-Soviet Urbanism in Mongolia, by Sarah Bassett

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