Tirana city and metropolitan area nearby is a typical and complex example of a city in transition, which is continuous, and incorporates mixed structures and historical events. Tirana is a symbol of urban culture between the sea and the mountain, preserving Illyrian, Roman, Byzantine cultures in a Oriental atmosphere;... between European elements and those typical Mediterranean' and Balkans' ones; surviving from the most authoritarian urban planning discipline of fascism and communism to the most anarchist chaos of medieval and modern times of 21-st century...
In short, Tirana is actually one of the most dynamic cities in Europe and obviously represents a city of a typical and prolonged transition, which remains still the main and most dramatic challenge of the present days.
Starting from 1920, Tirana city has been always subject to studies and works to improve its architectural and urban development. Several studies are carried out recently also since 1994 and today, the most significant to be are "The Strategic Plans for the Greater Tirana and Kamza Municipality", which constitute a full set of documents including the complexity of the numerous social-economical issues, land use principles as well as future activities, infrastructure needed for normal development, what represents so far, the most recent urban research work for Tirana and Albania.
In the eve of the new millennium Municipality of Tirana initiated important urban operations that are completely changing the image of the Albanian capital. Tirana Municipality's goal is to prepare a vision of development that is flexible and adaptable to the rapid changes of the city. This necessarily requires the complete reformation of the town planning legislation as a process that should go side by side with the development of the city. The new urban regulation of Tirana can serve as good starting point for the new package of laws on Town Planning, which the country needs desperately. The drafting of this new regulatory plan as a process and in partnership with many specialized institutions and other interested groups and communities, regardless of the differences that might exist, is likely to be efficient and not prone to raise contestations or create obstructions and urban chaos as it's been the case so far. Let us hope for a positive change in the future.
It bears stressing also that authorities of Tirana Municipality have realized that developing a new urban development plan should not be over estimated, for this plan cannot resolve automatically all the complicated problems of Tirana, except for it will raise transparency and will guide better the municipal administration in the process of outlining a clear vision for the city's development by considering improving the logic of development in the hope that distortions similar to those we have witnessed so far will be minimized and prevented.
Following the lessons learned from the urban planning in the past, taking into consideration the current urban phenomena, as well as the new proposed urban plans for Tirana Region (what is described in this Guide), the future of Tirana is a challenge that depends on the contribution of its citizens, the role of communities, private business and the leadership of the public administration. Tirana is in with a good chance of becoming a competitive city in the Balkans, creating opportunities for domestic and foreign business, and providing better services for inhabitants and visitors. Such chance must not be missed.
This book routes since early 90-s, thanks to the individual and separated initiatives from both authors. Over time the idea for doing something about the history of the city and its development, become stronger, as somehow authors found each other on the way of their researches. They belong to a generation of architectural and urban planning subjects. It is not fair that the new generations suffer the same. This fact probably encouraged both authors to write a book. The dramatic changes of 90-s in Tirana and Albania, especially in terms of urban developments is also another strong inspiring factor. This book might be followed in the future by other books. For the moment this is a good start.
The main target of the publication of this Guide of History of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tirana City is to incite the decision makers and civil society to take advantages of the current hope to assure its citizens and the whole Albania that "this country will make it", despite the very difficult times in the past.
In the Annexes of the Guide there are included also several interesting chapters related to Archaeological Evidence around Tirana city, a short History of Tirana, Cultural Traditions, Cultural Life, Fine Arts and Tourism resorts, in order to present a complete panorama of cultural and natural resources of Tirana city and the metropolitan region.
As a conclusion, the authors of this Guide are confident that Tirana will work it our if many hands, hearts and heads will work together, so we are pleased to receive any comment to the ideas expressed, and discuss them in the form of an open and civic forum to the benefit of our beloved city, Tirana.