Shortsighted Solutions Versus Long Term Planning

Effects of Rapid Infrastructure Developments in the World Heritage Site of Gjirokastra, Albania
  • Kreshnik MerxhaniEmail author
  • Valmira BozgoEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 26)


It is a case study of an approved infrastructure project for a new road known as the “Bypass”, which endangers the Historic Center of Gjirokastra, a World Heritage Site since 2005. The project’s initial aim was the diversion of automobile traffic from the city’s Old Bazaar, for a more tourist friendly pedestrian area. After few procedural problems, the project revealed a diversion form the original aim and technical solutions that posed a threat to the Outstanding Universal Values for which the city enjoys its UNESCO World Heritage status. This generated a wide and largely publicized debate among professionals opposing the development, and the government representatives that put through the proposal. Several technical and legal arguments were presented to responsible national and international authorities. Currently the project is in a “limbo” state, having been suspended by means of several media declarations from national authorities, while still being depicted in the local development plan. The case study will be discussed for its technical and professional problems, disagreements with the priorities of the historical center and the threat on the Outstanding Universal Values of the city. The bypass case, will be further utilized to illustrate the effects that shortcut solutions with no sound bases on strategic studies, can have on an urban historical landscape. Possible resolutions will be discussed for breaking the trend of rushed “politically impressive” developmental projects that present negative ramifications on historical landscapes.


Historical urban landscape World heritage site Infrastructure development Heritage under pressure Mobility and management plan 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Polytechnic University of TiranaTiranëAlbania
  2. 2.Environmental PlannerTiranëAlbania

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