Conference Workshop, 2021: “Emergent Urbanism”

This workshop addresses key questions concerning the development of Tirana in the last 30 years. Questions that are extremely important nowadays. It does so through the thematic lens of emergent (or spontaneous) urbanism and its interrelation with statutory planning activities

With the fall of the communist regime in 1991, Albania has started to favor market logics and the recognition of property rights. Indeed, what followed after such revolutionary political transition was a rapid privatization process and, according to many, an apparently chaotic urban development which often fall into a grey legal situation. This transition was based on two main reforms. Firstly, the Law n. 7501, which allocated and distributed national land to famers for agricultural purposes at a “family scale” (around 2 ha). Secondly, a national program aiming at the “legalization, urbanization and integration of the informal settlements” which opened a season of extended recognition of property rights. This process has generated a series of planning problems and questions which are still visible and largely unresolved.

Contrasting development forces are in places today in Tirana. On the one hand, several informal, emergent settlements built over time in the last decades, still lack formal recognition and protection. On the other, new real estate development projects are taking place in the city, sometimes in substitution of already existing informal settlements. This process cannot but raise important ethical, legal and design concerns. For example, existing and longstanding households are often displaced but not fully reimbursed, neither physically (for instance with a new apartment) nor financially. The point is that the complex situation with property rights and tenures has become a hindering factor for further developments, and some important questions concerning the future of these settlements emerge: how is it possible to plan, design, and govern the process of substitution, densification and development of settlements which were largely constructed spontaneously over time? How should planners treat and deal with the already existing urban tissues? How should the State deal with the issue of property regime?

This workshop proposes an evolutionary, historical approach in the analysis and exploration of two relevant case studies – namely, the Kashar and Paskuqan areas – which are undergoing the above mentioned processes of substitution and densification. The goal is to unfold the complexity of these settlements by investigating their morphologies, (spontaneous) rules, property regimes, architectural types, social aspects and main development concerns. The general scope of the workshop is to come-up with ideas, policies, designs and strategies that can deal with such contrasting development forces and give workable answers to the ongoing property transition, municipal development strategies, housing rights and economic interests.

First Day
Lesson 1: Tackling the urban and regional development of Tirana. Bibliography: Lesson prepared by the Lecturer, Artan Kacani. Historic Data, Official Plan of Tirana.
Lesson 2: Emergent urbanism: clarifications, virtues and problems.
Bibliography: Lesson prepared by the Lecturer, Stefano Cozzolino.
Lesson 3: The case studies in Tirana: Kashar Area and Paskuqan Area.
Bibliography: Lesson prepared by the Lecturer, Artan Kacani. Historic Data, Official Plan of Tirana.

Second Day
Lesson 4: The construction of collective/public spaces.
Bibliography: Lesson prepared by the Lecturer, Stefano Cozzolino.
Lesson 5: History of the single housing unit in Albania: From the first informal settlements to now-days evolutions.
Bibliography: Kacani, A. (2021) Land tactics of the single housing unit in the informal urban growth in Albania. A+P Forum Journal. Polis Press. Tirana.
Lesson 6: The nature and genesis of informal rules.
Bibliography: Lesson prepared by the Lecturer, Stefano Cozzolino.
Lesson 7: Types of informal rules in the case studies.
Bibliography: Prof. Dr. Sotir Dhamo
Lesson 8: Institutional changes, laws, regulations, transactions.
Bibliography: Lesson prepared by the Lecturer, Artan Kacani.
Lesson 9: Living conditions in a conflictual situation.
Bibliography: Lesson prepared by the Lecturer, Artan Kacani.

Third Day
Fied Trip to Kashar – From the City entrance.
Group Work.

Fourth Day
Fied Trip to Kashar – From the South.
Group Work.

Fifth Day
Group Work.

Sixth Day
Student’s work prestation’s.

Students at the end of this workshop should provide good answers to the following questions:

  1. What can be learnt from the case?
  2. What can be done to improve the neighborhoods?
  3. Is the current redevelopment praxis/method just?

What can be done to improve it?

Bibliography

Bertaud, A. (2014). Housing Affordability: Top-Down Design and Spontaneous Order. New York University Marron Institute of Urban Management New York.

Cozzolino and Moroni (2021). Multiple agents and self-organisation in complex cities: the crucial role of several property, Land Use Planning. doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105297.

Cozzolino (2019). The (anti) adaptive neighbourhoods. Embracing complexity and distribution of design control in the ordinary built environment. Environment and Planning B. Doi: 10.1177/2399808319857451.

Easterly, W., Freschi, L. and Pennings, S. (2015). A Long History of a Short Block: Four Centuries of Development Surprises on a Single Stretch of a New York City Street. NYU Development Research Institute conference.

Porta, S., & Romice, O. (2014). Plot-based urbanism: towards time-consciousness in place-making. In Dortmunder Vorträge zur Stadtbaukunst [Dortmunder Lectures on Civic Art]: New Civic Art (pp. 82-111).

Kacani, A. (2021) Land tactics of the single housing unit in the informal urban growth in Albania. A+P Forum Journal. Polis Press. Tirana.

Kacani, A (2018) Defining the hindering factors of the informal settlements in the General Regulatory Plan of Shkoder Municipality – Projecting Shkodër. Operative fragments in-between lake, river and sea. Observatory of Mediterranean Basine.