Tirana, Albania | Urban Land Regularization and Informal Development Upgrading

World Bank and USAID, 1994 to 1998

From 1994 to 1996, the Center for Urban Development Studies at Harvard University (CUDS), as a subcontractor to PADCO, played a lead role in establishing an inter-jurisdictional Land Management Task Force and creating the framework and process to undertake a preliminary structure plan for Tirana. It also coordinated a team of experts providing technical assistance in the areas of structure planning, land regularization, servicing of informal settlements, institutional development and community-based approaches to urban management and the provision of infrastructure. The Unit also provided training on strategic approaches to planning and redevelopment of older neighborhoods.

From 1996 to 1998, the Unit helped the government prepare a project funded by the World Bank. This project will enable the government to provide essential urban infrastructure to under-serviced and informally developed areas in Greater Tirana and other urban centers and strengthen the institutions responsible for the delivery of urban services at the national and local levels. CUDS’ assistance was provided by a Japanese PHRD Grant under the joint administration of the Ministry of Public Works and World Bank. The project design represented a fundamental departure from traditional urban investment programs with a shift from a supply driven to a demand driven urban planning and implementation process linked to strategic urban growth objectives. Under the project, municipalities, in association with community residents prepare an urban concept plan for the participating neighborhood, highlight priorities for infrastructure servicing and develop preliminary cost estimates. This information forms the basis for the development of a partnership agreement that provides a framework for the organization and coordination of public and private household inputs.

CUDS established a framework and terms of reference for coordinating the activities of local officials, NGOs and private contractors to prepare digitized maps of existing conditions in pilot sites, and proposed planning and infrastructure servicing options. Physical conditions, land uses and socio-economic data gathered from community surveys in the pilot sites were integrated utilizing GIS software. The compiled maps and data bases were made available and actively used by local officials, community groups, planners and engineers to develop “concept plans” and infrastructure servicing options.

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