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Celebrating the World Town Planning Day

18/11/2019

The 8th of November marked the 70th anniversary of the World Town Planning day. First initiated in 1949, this day aims at stimulating the interest of both the professionals and the general public in urban planning.

To mark this special day a roundtable was organised by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning/ the Institute for Spatial Planning in partnership with the Inclusive Development Programme. This event brought together representatives from both the central and the local administrations, academics, and professional urban planners. Students and young people, who have been involved in the Inclusive Development Programme, were also present and have fuelled the discussion with fresh ideas and observations.

The overarching theme of the roundtable was ‘the neighbourhood’ considered as a key scale in spatial planning. After discussing the regulations in force and the progress made toward their implementation, the floor was yield to Ilir Gjinolli, professor at the University of Pristina, who talked about the social relevance of the neighbourhood. Transforming theory into practice, representatives from the Municipality of Pristina then presented a project aiming at creating more affordable housing.

Young people then took the floor to share their reflection and experience. We first heard about the observations and ideas of students in architecture and social sciences who worked during an entire week in Mitrovica South to think about the possible development of the neighbourhoods situated at the south of the Iber River. Each group presented the result of their work, highlighting the key assets they identified and the main priorities for a sustainable development of the zone. The river, the artificial lake, and the green spaces often stood out as essential assets of the area whereas solving mobility challenges was pointed out as a priority to develop the neighbourhoods. Improving the connection to the rest of the city, enhancing the quality of the roads, creating bike lanes, and improving the lightning are some of the proposals which have been put forward by the students to reshape and sustainably develop the zone.

Before opening to a discussion, we finished the roundtable by hearing from the young people and students who helped collecting data in Vushtrri in support of developing the Municipal Zoning Map. They shared their feedback and their observations stemming from their experience in collecting data on the settlements of the municipality of Vushtrri. Although they witnessed the financial difficulties in different neighbourhoods with some abandoned houses, this experience has left them hopeful as they discovered all the human and environmental resources Vushtrri holds.

After this fruitful roundtable and the discussions which ensued, this event was brought to a close with the announcement of the winners of the photography competition which has been organised on the topic « Get to know my neighbourhood ».

The 25 shortlisted photos have been exhibited in the hall of the Rilindja building.

According to the professional jury composed by both photographs and urban planners, the three photos which stood out were « The Boy with the bicycle » by Valdrin Fetahu (1st place), « The Pumpkin Seller » by Shenoll Ismajli (2nd place), and « The Football Game » by Astrit Maloku (3rd place). Congratulations!

With an artistic twist, this event reminded us of both the importance and the potential the neighbourhood holds in thinking the future of our cities and settlements.