Exploring Urban Challenges and Sustainable Solutions

On the evening of November 7, 2023, a thought-provoking event, unfolded in the form of a Movie Night activity offering members of Blueprint an engaging platform to delve into the documentary “City of the Future: Singapore.” The film which focused on the forward-thinking initiatives and innovations in Singapore, catalyzed a dynamic discussion on urban planning, sustainability, and the challenges faced by cities, with a particular emphasis on Tirana.

The discussion was led by a facilitator who initiated the conversation by inviting participants to share their initial impressions of the documentary. Opinions varied, with some perceiving it as a promotional piece for Singapore, while others contemplated the feasibility of applying similar urban planning strategies in Albania. The discourse unveiled the complexities of comparing different governmental approaches and their impact on innovation.

Participants, representing diverse perspectives, articulated their insights without direct attribution. One participant appreciated Singapore’s holistic approach to problem-solving, emphasizing the interconnectedness of various aspects of life and the importance of prioritizing citizen involvement in decision-making processes. Another participant admired how technology, even at a more basic level, could potentially offer solutions to problems faced in Albania.

Education emerged as a key theme, with a participant emphasizing its fundamental role in national development and suggesting greater investments in this sector. Aligning with Singapore’s core ideals, rather than replicating specific achievements, was underscored as a pragmatic approach by another contributor. The challenges faced by Singapore, including issues in democracy and farming, were acknowledged as a reminder that development must be carefully planned, considering its far-reaching consequences.

The focus then shifted to urban problems in Tirana, emphasizing shared challenges rather than differences between countries. Traffic congestion, inadequate public transport alternatives, and the absence of comprehensive bicycle lanes were highlighted as persistent issues. The discussion unfolded to include problems with ambulance lanes and the overall dissatisfaction with public transport, exposing concerns about overcrowding, infrequent schedules, and a lack of efficient planning.

The feasibility of centralizing public transport management was discussed, challenging the current privatized system. Urban replanning in Tirana, particularly the possibility of adopting a polycentric model to alleviate traffic concentration, was considered. However, participants acknowledged the difficulties in implementing such changes due to ongoing projects that focus on the city center.

Several participants raised concerns about Tirana’s long-term urban planning, pointing out problems with reconstructed roads and the challenges associated with traffic. Issues beyond transportation were also brought to light, such as water purity concerns and foreign expert influence in urban planning, possibly rooted in an alleged inferiority complex among Albanians.

In conclusion, this Movie Night facilitated a rich exchange of ideas, emphasizing the importance of citizen-centric decision-making, comprehensive urban planning, and the need for innovative solutions to address the challenges faced by modern cities. The event served as a reminder that learning from global examples can inspire local solutions, contributing to the collective efforts towards sustainable urban development.