On the 22 of August, the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj attended the 40th edition of the Meeting for Friendship among Peoples, an annual event held in Rimini, Italy since 1980, which is attended by a number of personalities in politics, urban planning and architecture from Italy and beyond. Tirana, was one of the cities that captured the attention of the attendees, and was commended as a success story in terms of its transformation into a child and environment-friendly city. In the panel “Cities of today, cities of tomorrow”, alongside Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala and renowned architect Stefano Boeri, Mayor Veliaj discussed the challenge for cities like Tirana to become more welcoming and friendly for all citizens. Veliaj emphasized the great work achieved by the Municipality of Tirana in adding playgrounds in every neighborhood, building new schools, the ambitious Orbital Forest project, where by 2030, 2 million trees will be planted, but also a series of other infrastructural projects that have been implemented in collaboration with the world’s most prestigious architecture studios.
“We have done a good job in Tirana. When we talked about the Urban Planning project during the first term, no one believed we would be able to finish the New Boulevard or that we would build new schools, hence, this year, we could finally continue Tirana’s old tradition with Italian architects, 100 years later. We have begun work on the construction of the new “Kristo Frasheri” and “Mother Teresa” schools, and I believe that the concept of 24-hour schools will probably be our most innovative idea for this second term. We have also rehabilitated the “Kosova” school, which will be followed by “Servete Maçi” school. However, i believe that 17 new schools will truly be able to transform their reality ”, said Veliaj.
In regard to the New Boulevard, Veliaj stressed that all we have to do now, is the finalization of the project with another ceremonial square.
“ Another plan for the New Boulevard, is working on cleaning up and raising awareness in regard to the Tirana River, so that it is not seen as a place where sewage and pollution is dumped anymore , but together with the mindful citizens of Tirana, we can keep the water clean, as an element that can transform a community. In the past, our Lana River, was littered with waste and sewage, but with Edi Rama’s intervention, today Lana is actually the greenest segment of the city. We want to do the same with the Tirana River and I believe that soon, in cooperation with our friends from Abu Dhabi, we will negotiate loans or add grant funds, so that we can finish that project as well, ” said Veliaj.
As part of Tirana Municipality’s strategy for a sustainable city, Veliaj stressed that the new tree planting campaign in Tirana would soon begin.
“In October we will start with the Orbital Forest project, so our invitation is open to all companies, individuals, whoever has birthdays, anniversaries or special days to celebrate. We have planted 250,000 trees, out of the 2 million planned by 2030. I believe that this is not only a way to ‘cuddle’ the city, to entertain children, or to remember someone with a tree, but it is our attempt to save our future by making the cities green. This year we will launch the campaign a little earlier, in order to take advantage of the rainy season and we will continue for 6 months, to break our tree planting record, ” he added.
Renowned Italian architect Stefano Boeri commended the work done by the Municipality of Tirana, turning the city into one for the people and not cars.
“We are glad to have attended a meeting, which for 40 years has been regarded as one of the most important moments of Italian politics. We’ve talked about cities and their futures. With us, today was Giuseppe Sala, who represents Milan, another major European city. I truly appreciated how they both talked about cities as living spaces, talked about people, families, children, the community, ” said Boer. Tiranapost.al