Albania is Europe’s last hidden gem. It’s beautiful, robust, raw landscape, inhabited by friendly tradition-driven people, now has the opportunity to shine. Vlora’s central position regionally and on the Mediterranean can help greatly to its transformation into international local city and economic leader. In  order to maintain this unique character it must cleverly approach environmental- and urban challenges and challenges of uncontrolled development and over-development.

In the coming years Vlora will approach urbanization levels found in comparable European cities due to its strategic position on the Adriatic sea and reserves and developed assets. The proposed terminal of trans-Balkan Gas & Oil pipeline from the Black Sea area, the Port development and the potential construction of a new airstrip at Pishporos, 10km from Vlore, could further accelerate development. Effects of post-communist transformation have become visible in  physical and in spatial patterns, and in the living condition of the people. High rise buildings, inconsiderate locations of industrial sites within the city, destruction of green areas, wet lands and chaotic urban sprawl up the hilly slopes have greatly degraded the urban landscape and its potential touristic appeal.

The central aim of this project is to transform Vlora and its waterfront into a highly attractive place for tourists and citizens alike. More than simply designing a facelift, now is the opportunity to make the exceptionally beautiful natural landscapes and maritime environment work alongside the city’s potential prosperity. The project should emphasize local, existing qualities; improve infrastructure and create opportunities for diverse, sensitive and controlled development. In doing so, Vlore has the potential to become one of the most attractive centers in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.

Working as part of a team, vD-K developed the following proposal for an International competition.