A Reflection on the Urban Mobility of the City of Tirana
Tirana has often been cited as one of the most problematic cities in Europe when it comes to pollution and traffic, as reflected in numerous studies where the level of airborne, cancer-causing particles have been reported to be three times the limit mandated by the World Health Organization, causing a lowering of up to two years in life expectancy; while the urban noise that the citizens are exposed to is an average of 20 decibels above the recommended limits.
The quality of life in the urban environment is deeply affected by these qualities, and as a principal contributor, mobility becomes one of the most crucial topics to be reflected upon.
The way we move drastically affects the way that one experiences the city, and the consequences of our collective transportation choices are felt throughout society– directly when considering statistics such as that traffic related accidents in Albania are 3.5 percent higher than in other Eastern and Central European countries, and more subtly when we take into account factors such as status, often influenced by the kind of vehicle one drives.
Although Tirana has a very strong premise to be lived at a human scale and with self powered vehicles, social constructs of the last 25 years give unbalanced value to the element of the car, which increasingly takes over public space and has radically changed the perception of the urban landscape. Within the context of Tirana Open, the first edition of ‘ULTRA’ will investigate and take a critical stance towards the the societal, legislative and economic reasons that influence mobility in Tirana, through different interventions in public space. By using a methodological approach, local and international designers, architects and artists will be invited to create site specific installations which aim to raise awareness and propose alternative realities of mobility and relation to public space.