Assignment Asia Episode 32: Life in the City

Asia has among the most rapidly developing cities in the world. This week’s edition of Assignment Asia tells the stories of some of these urban centers, and how they are coping with challenges.
In Mongolia, hundreds of thousands of pastoral herders from the steppes settled in the capital Ulaanbaatar after harsh winters killed their livestock. But without proper urban planning, the city is finding it difficult to keep up with the influx of new residents and provide basic services for them. Pearly Jacob visited Ulaanbaatar’s so-called “ger” districts, named after the herders’ traditional tent-style houses, to see how the former nomads are adjusting to city life.
As the country’s economy grows, more and more people are lured to work in the Chinese capital, even those who live outside. Some 300,000 residents of Hebei province commute two to six hours every day to work in Beijing, while enjoying the lower cost of living in their county. As Yin Hang reports, this has prompted government to improve the city’s infrastructure while working to develop Yanjiao County into Beijing’s satellite city.
Agriculture normally has no place in cities as congested as Hong Kong. But some residents there have found spaces to plant, grow, and harvest food in the midst of the urban jungle: on top of buildings. Experts say “vertical farming” would not only improve Hong Kong’s food supply and give residents easier access to organic food, but also make the city greener. Li Jiejun reports.

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