Tirana,Albania The Story of Urban Renewal and Community Transformation


Robert Eduard Antal

Futurehubs.eu » Urban Innovation » Urban Planning and Development Shaping Tirana's Growth

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: Tirana, Albania

Innovation and Sustainability

Tirana, the capital of Albania, has made significant strides in committing to sustainability and innovation. The city’s goals include reducing CO2 emissions and promoting green technology to improve the quality of life for its residents.

  • CO2 Emission Reduction: Tirana has implemented various measures aimed at cutting down CO2 emissions through the promotion of sustainable transportation, like bike-sharing programs and electric buses.
  • Green Technology: The city is investing in solar energy projects and green building practices to ensure a more sustainable urban environment.

Smart City Initiatives

Tirana is leveraging technology to enhance urban life. Initiatives include using digital tools to monitor and improve city services, as well as efforts to clean waterways and enhance healthcare services.

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Smart Water Management: Implementation of IoT sensors to monitor and manage water quality in the Lana River.
  • Healthcare Enhancements: Telemedicine services and digital health records to improve healthcare accessibility and efficiency.
  • Traffic Management: Use of smart traffic lights and IoT technology to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Cultural and Social Projects

Tirana actively engages in cultural and social projects that support vulnerable groups and promote social cohesion.

Official City Website: https://tirana.al

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Community Cultural Events: Regular public cultural events, including festivals and arts exhibitions to foster community spirit.
  • Social Support Programs: Initiatives like food banks and shelters for homeless individuals.
  • Inclusive Education: Programs aimed at integrating marginalized groups into the educational system.

Urban Planning and Development

Tirana’s urban development projects focus on enhancing livability and tackling climate change. These projects aim to create more green spaces, improve public transportation, and develop resilient infrastructure.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • New Boulevard Project: Redesigning central boulevards to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Riverfront Development: Transforming riverbanks into recreational and green spaces.
  • Public Transportation Expansion: Extending bus and tram networks to better serve the population.

Youth and Education

Tirana is committed to creating a vibrant environment for students and young professionals by offering various educational and professional development opportunities.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • Startup Incubators: Establishment of hubs to support young entrepreneurs and startups.
  • Educational Programs: Partnerships with universities to provide cutting-edge courses and workshops.
  • Internship and Mentorship Programs: Opportunities for young professionals to gain real-world experience and guidance from industry experts.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

Being a part of the Eurocities network offers Tirana numerous benefits, including the exchange of best practices, opportunities for international collaboration, and access to funding for various urban initiatives. These advantages help the city to enhance its development strategies, achieve sustainability goals, and improve the overall quality of life for its residents.

Tirana, Albania


Tirana is the capital city of Albania, situated in the central part of the country. It lies relatively close to the Adriatic Sea, located about 30 kilometers to the west. The city is in a valley between the Dajti Mountain to the east and the coastal plains to the west. The region benefits from a Mediterranean climate, experiencing hot summers and mild, wet winters.


As of the latest estimates, Tirana has a population of approximately 620,000 people, making it the largest city in Albania. The city is known for its youthful demographics, with a significant portion of the population being under the age of 35. Ethnically, it is predominantly Albanian, with small communities of Greeks, Macedonians, and Roma.

Economic Overview

Tirana is the economic engine of Albania, contributing significantly to the country’s GDP. Key industries include services, trade, construction, and manufacturing. The city’s central location and infrastructure have made it a hub for business and commerce. The estimated GDP of Tirana is about $7 billion, accounting for nearly 40% of the national GDP.

Historical Significance

Tirana’s history dates back to the Paleolithic era, but it became more prominent in the Ottoman period. It was declared the capital of Albania in 1920. Significant periods include its time under Ottoman rule, the establishment of the Albanian Kingdom in the early 20th century, and its days under communist rule between 1944 and 1991. The post-communist era brought significant changes in urban development and modernization.

Cultural Attractions

  • National History Museum: Offers a comprehensive overview of Albania’s history.
  • Et’hem Bey Mosque: One of the most beautiful mosques in the city, showcasing Ottoman architecture.
  • Bunk’Art: A historical museum located in a converted underground bunker.
  • Skanderbeg Square: The main plaza named after the national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg.
  • Tirana International Film Festival: An annual event showcasing international and Albanian cinema.

Education System

Tirana boasts a robust education system comprising primary, secondary, and higher education institutions. Primary and secondary education are compulsory and managed by public and private schools. Major higher education institutions include the University of Tirana, Polytechnic University of Tirana, and the Agricultural University of Tirana. These institutions offer a wide range of academic programs and contribute to the city’s young and educated workforce.

Transportation Infrastructure

Tirana’s transportation network is well-developed, featuring road, rail, and air connections. The city is served by Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, located about 17 kilometers northwest of the city center, facilitating both domestic and international flights. Public transportation includes a network of buses and minibuses, and the city is working on establishing a tram system. National roads and highways connect Tirana with other major cities in Albania and neighboring countries.

Urban Development Projects

Several significant urban development projects are underway, focusing on improving sustainability and quality of life. The “Tirana 2030” master plan aims to transform the city into a modern metropolis with green spaces, efficient public transport, and sustainable housing. Projects like the “New Boulevard” and the “Orbital Forest” are specifically designed to enhance urban living.

Environmental Initiatives

Tirana is committed to environmental sustainability through various initiatives. The city is increasing green spaces, planting thousands of trees as part of its “Orbital Forest” project. Efforts are also being made to improve waste management, reduce air pollution, and promote the use of renewable energy. Bicycle-sharing programs and pedestrian-friendly zones are being implemented to reduce vehicular traffic and promote healthier lifestyles.

Quality of Living

The quality of living in Tirana is regarded as improving, with enhancements in healthcare, education, and public services. The healthcare system is constantly being upgraded, with several public and private hospitals and clinics available. Safety levels are relatively high, with a visible police presence and low crime rates. The city offers various amenities, including shopping centers, entertainment venues, and recreational parks.

Quality of Life Indexes

  • Livability Ranking: Ranked as one of the more affordable and culturally rich cities in the Balkans.
  • Health Index: Growing healthcare infrastructure contributes positively to the city’s health index.
  • Environmental Quality Score: Environmental quality is steadily improving, with ongoing projects to reduce pollution and increase green spaces contributing to higher scores.

Mayor Profile: Erion Veliaj

Current Position

Mayor of Tirana, Albania

Political Affiliation

Socialist Party of Albania


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, Grand Valley State University, USA
  • Master’s Degree in European and International Studies, University of Sussex, UK

Professional Background

Before becoming the mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj had an extensive career in both governmental and non-governmental organizations. He served as the Minister of Social Welfare and Youth from 2013 to 2015. Veliaj was also a co-founder of the MJAFT! Movement, an organization aimed at increasing youth participation in social and political processes in Albania. His professional journey reflects a commitment to public service and advocacy for community development.

Achievements as Mayor

  • Sustainability Initiatives: Introduced numerous green projects, including the extensive tree-planting initiatives and the promotion of eco-friendly public transport options.
  • Urban Development: Oversaw the renovation of Skanderbeg Square, turning it into a pedestrian-friendly public space and improving the city’s aesthetics and livability.
  • Technological Advancements: Launched a smart city initiative that includes the development of a city-wide Wi-Fi network and the implementation of digital services for residents.

Vision for the Future

Erion Veliaj’s vision for Tirana includes transforming it into a smart, sustainable, and inclusive city. His goals encompass:

  • Smart City Initiatives: Integrating advanced technologies to improve urban management and public services, fostering a digitally connected community.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Expanding green spaces and enhancing waste management systems to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations.
  • Community Engagement: Encouraging active participation of citizens in decision-making processes and enhancing transparency and accountability in local governance.

Personal Life

Beyond his professional commitments, Erion Veliaj is known for his passion for running and regularly participates in marathons and community runs. He is also an advocate for environmental conservation, often engaging in activities such as tree planting and urban gardening. Veliaj emphasizes the importance of work-life balance and spends time with his family and is involved in various community initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for Tirana’s residents.

Awards and Honors

  • Innovation in Politics Award 2020: Recognized for pioneering urban development projects in Tirana.
  • European Mobility Week Award 2019: Awarded for outstanding achievements in promoting sustainable urban mobility.
  • Green Prize 2021: Honored for initiatives in environmental sustainability and green infrastructure development.

Tirana: Quality of Life and Cost of Living

Quality of Life


Tirana, the capital city of Albania, boasts a reasonably good quality of life. The safety index for the city is 40.51, which suggests that residents generally feel safe, though some caution is advisable. The city’s crime rate is relatively low compared to global standards, contributing to the overall sense of security for its inhabitants.


The healthcare system in Tirana is of decent quality, with a healthcare quality index of 58.49. The city offers various healthcare services, including public hospitals, private clinics, and specialized medical centers. These facilities provide a broad range of medical services, though the public system might face occasional challenges related to resources and wait times.


Tirana’s cleanliness is on the moderate side, with a pollution index rating of 68.77. The city has been focusing on improving environmental management and waste disposal systems, but air and noise pollution remain areas for further improvement to enhance overall urban living conditions.


Tirana has an efficient and reliable public transportation system, reflected in a transportation index of 25.79. The city offers buses, minibuses, and a growing number of bike lanes to provide varied commuting options. Although traffic congestion can be an issue, ongoing infrastructure projects aim to ease the flow and modernize the transportation network.


Tirana features a robust education sector with several well-regarded institutions. The University of Arts, Tirana, stands out as a notable institution, offering quality education in various artistic disciplines. Educational facilities in the city are designed to provide comprehensive academic growth, though higher education options are more limited compared to more extensive European networks.

Cost of Living


Housing costs in Tirana are relatively affordable. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center is approximately €200.65 per month. This makes it an attractive option for both locals and expatriates seeking urban living without the high costs associated with many Western European capitals.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery cost for a single person: €159.84
  • Average cost of dining out for a typical meal: €5

Grocery expenses remain manageable, making it easier for residents to maintain a balanced diet. Dining out in Tirana is surprisingly affordable, with many local and international cuisine options at reasonable prices.


Monthly utility costs for an 85m2 apartment average around €79.98. This includes expenses for electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage. Utility costs in Tirana are competitive and contribute to the overall affordability of living in the city.


A monthly public transportation pass in Tirana costs about €12.75, making it an inexpensive option for daily commuting. This affordable rate enhances mobility for residents, rendering the public transport system a popular choice.


  • Fitness club membership: Approx. €30 per month
  • Cinema ticket: Around €4

Leisure activities in Tirana are accessible and fairly priced. Whether joining a fitness club or catching the latest films at the cinema, residents can enjoy various entertainment options without breaking the bank.

Tirana within the Eurocities Network

As a member of the Eurocities network, Tirana engages in collaborative efforts with other European cities to share knowledge and ideas. This participation helps enhance the city’s sustainability, innovation, and overall quality of life for its citizens. By taking part in this urban network, Tirana commits to continuous development and aligns itself with broader European standards and initiatives.

Overall, Tirana’s quality of life paired with its manageable cost of living makes it an attractive locale for both residents and expatriates. With its strategic initiatives through the Eurocities network, Tirana is well-positioned to continue its growth and improve its urban environment.

Data Source: Numbeo

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