ETH Zürich – Institut für Städtebau
HIL H44.1 – Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5 – 8093 Zürich




Shocks of Change

Urban Planning and Development in Prishtina and Tirana


Through this trip, urban developments of the capital cities of the Republic of Kosovo and Albania - Prishtina and Tirana - will be explored. We will not only observe how the contradicting urban artefacts coexist in the city as legacies of transfomation shocks, but will also be confronted with the challenges urban planners face in their attempt to adjust regulations for these to overtake the initiative from the self-development that has characterized these cities’ transformation in recent years.


Due to their political circumstances in different periods of time, both cities have undergone significant urban transformations, representing processes that might be identified in many other Balkan cities. Processes that are driven by the change from a state-socialist regime to an open-market economy and liberal democracy. There are two main turning points identified in the urban development history of these cities, which lead to a phenomena of transformation shock, caused by:


1. The socialist tabula rasa urban reconstruction as blueprint of a political ideology;

2. The post-war/post-communist massive informal development, outpacing the speed of changing planning regulations and development predictions (huge demand of housing after the war, internal migration, introduction of the real-estate market, etc).


Therefore, on this trip, on one hand we will visit some fragments of the cities which evidence these transformation shocks, and on the other hand we will meet the representatives of the local authorities and/or civil society organizations to understand how do they currently deal with the engagement of different interventions and actors to mend and sew up fragments of the cities.
Arriving to Tirana from Prishtina, the landscapes of both countries will be observed. Therefore, we will stop by in the city of Prizren, the cultural and traditional centre for both countries. In Prizren different elements of natural and built landscapes coexist, by conserving and inheriting the multi-culturalism of the nation. Unlike Prishtina, in Prizren, it is possible to enjoy the harmonious coexistence of not only architectural and urban artefacts, but also of different ethnic groups.


Participants will sketch their observations and keep descriptive records during the trip. Once back in Zurich, you will be asked to hand in a 1-2 page response paper regarding your experience during the seminarweek, incorporating selected sketches and short descriptions.



• Participants: Min. 10 - Max. 20

• Expense Category: B (including: flights, accommodation, transport, fees for entrances and guided tours)


Outbound flight (Zurich-Prishtina): Saturday, 18.03.2017, 06:50
Return flight (Prishtina-Zurich): Saturday, 25.03.2017, 19:45
Intro Event: Monday, 06.03.2017, 18:00 (ca. 1 hour)

Visa requirements:





Contact: Gyler Mydyti


Image: Luis Dafor / Alamy Stock Photo, 2010