Dr. Pojani joined UQ’s planning program in 2015. Prior to moving to Australia, she lived, worked and/or studied in Albania, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, and the USA. Her research interests encompass urban transport, urban design, and housing. She has published books and numerous articles on urban planning. Currently, she is editing a volume on urban transport in emerging economies, to be published by Springer in 2016.
Sustainable transportation; Urban design; Transformations of post-communist cities
Since World War II, most of the urban areas in the world have been transformed into automobile plazas. Now unpleasant conditions for pedestrians, substantial pollution, conditions too unsafe for travel by bicycle, inadequate public transport, and incessant traffic jams are standard urban conditions. In Tirana, this type of evolution was delayed until the 1990’s; now Tirana has reached the international urban standard for automobile related problems. In Tirana, as in other cities with similar problems, there is a high level of dissatisfaction over the maladies caused by urban traffic, as revealed by this study. However, in regards to the translation of dissatisfaction into public action, local traditions are still weak – the outcome of the fifty year police state. On the other hand, the potential for overcoming the urban devastation of automobile domination is particularly great in Tirana. The city is so compact that bus and bicycle travel could serve much of the population and make it possible to reach most points within a short amount of time. A critical result of these conditions is that substantial changes can be implemented without substantial costs. Furthermore, the city still has a strong pedestrian culture and a substantial portion of households still do not own cars, and thereby feel that they have nothing to lose from inconveniencing automobile traffic in order to regain a decent urban environment. This is this dissertation's premise.