Magazine article Geographical

New Lives for Nomads

Magazine article Geographical

New Lives for Nomads

Article excerpt

As Genghis Khan once said, 'Conquering the world on horseback is easy. It is dismounting and governing that is hard'

For the last four years, Mongolia has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, as a mining boom saw growth hit double figures.

Rapid urbanisation has followed. In 1989, just 26.8 per cent of Mongolia's population lived in the country's capital Ulaanbaatar. Today more than half of the population of the entire country lives in the capital--around 1.2 million people.

'The migrants come primarily from the countryside and originate from nomadic families. For many, it's the first time they are living in a city. It's a big adjustment to transition from a free and independent nomadic lifestyle to a modern urban lifestyle where there are rules and restrictions and where one has to have regard for each other,' says Meloney Lindberg, country representative for the Asia Foundation. As a result of this rapid population growth, more than half the area of Ulaanbaatar today consists of unplanned settlements--called ger districts--which house more than half of the city's residents. The effects of this growth are obvious, especially in the capital where cranes dominate the skyline and luxury stores compete for space to attract customers. …

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