New City Park

By Julian Dierkes

I have mentioned the increase of green space several times in my notes about how Ulaanbaatar is changing. One big new development is the opening of the large park that is South of the Shangri-la Hotel and West of the amusement park.

There had been a lingering threat for some time that this might be developed, losing yet another large parcel of open space in the downtown core, but the creation of the park seems to have averted that.

In a way this park also preserves the layout of Urga with an opening to the South and the Bogd Khaan Mountain, replicating the open door of a ger to the South.

The park opened on July 4 2024, with the likely raising of a large flag at its flagpole perhaps to come on Flag Day, July 10.

The Park

Given the size of the parcel of land, the park offers a lot of recreational opportunities.


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From an initial first visit, I did notice the relative absence of benches or other places to sit down, but there are bathrooms. What also seems to be missing is some spaces for skateboards, bicycles, etc. activities that have become much more visible in downtown Ulaanbaatar and that might be particularly important to younger Ulaanbaatarites.

I was really very happy to see that apparently Tumen Ekh, the cultural ensemble whose building had been demolished, will have a new home in the park as well.

Really happy to see that while Tumen Ekh building was torn down, it looks like institution will live on in new #Ulaanbaatar city park.

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— Mongolia Focus ( Jul 4, 2024 at 9:34 AM

In its newly opened state, the park offers a lot of open space. There are many paths to go for a stroll, a large lawn area that looks to offer space for families to come together, and lots of other features


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The Impact

As I have noted, the amount of green space in Ulaanbaatar has been increasing steadily over the past several years. There are several examples of public spaces that are either open for recreation or gatherings, or that offer some vegetation to urban residents. The largest of these are the National Park and some of the park areas along the Tuul river. From casual visits past these parks, it seems like Ulaanbaatarites are delighted by these recreational opportunities. Even the National Park which is somewhat outside of the very core of the city seems to be getting lots of traffic with joggers, strollers, and families.

I thus suspect that the new city park will be received with some enthusiasm. Its proximity to Sukhbaatar Square suggests that many people will wander over to the park in the summer and some of the energy from the Children’s Park immediately adjacent, will spill over into the city park.

All of that in turn suggests a possible migration of the centre of activity of the city core towards the park. The opening of the Shangri-la had a similar impact some years ago where activities along with retail and food offerings sprung up that were now two blocks of Sukhbaatar Sq. The restoration of the open space around the Chojin Lama Temple has further reinforced this shift.

If the focus of (summertime) activity will be drawn toward the new city park, what might this mean for further developments?

The southern border of the park is the large Narni Road that stretches along the railroad track.


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The narrow strip between the road and the railroad tracks is currently filled with garages and other drive-by businesses. It would seem likely that despite the obstacle of a busy road, that strip might develop into food/retail options to serve park visitors, at least during the summer months.

If such a shift and development occurred, it might also bridge the significant divide that currently exists between the downtown core and anything that lies beyond the Peace Bridge, stretching toward Zaisan. To me, this would be a very welcome change with some recreational options, but also a further development of the city centre.

About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He toots
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