Erion Veliaj

Redesigning for the People: Tirana Transformed

MIT Architecture | Spring 2020 Lecture Series

6:00pm, Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Organized by Associate Professor Rafi Segal

Characterized by a continuous urban sprawl in the last three decades and the legacies of an isolated past, Tirana, now the capital of an EU candidate country, witnessed in the last years the vital need to transform and first and foremost provide for public spaces where citizens feel that they belong to. By far, Tirana has undergone an urban transformation marked primarily by the vision of giving the city back to its citizens by opening up public spaces, increasing green areas and adapting infrastructures to child-friendly designs. Coping with a limited budget and the challenges of citizens’ distrust, Tirana’s Mayor, Erion Veliaj, currently serving a second term, will talk about the steps of Tirana’s transformation to a better, greener and more humane city.

Erion Veliaj

Erion Veliaj was re-elected as Mayor of Tirana in June 2019, after being firstly elected as the 42nd Mayor of Tirana in June 2015. His first term in office is marked by an urban transformation of the city, oriented towards the implementation of child-friendly policies as part of his vision of giving the city back to the citizens. Prior to his tenure, Veliaj served as a Member of Parliament of Albania and Minister of Social Welfare and Youth from 2013 through 2015. Before joining the ranks of the Socialist Party of Albania in 2011, Veliaj had a long experience as the leader and founder of the youth movement “MJAFT”, a civic organization which gained huge popularity for inspiring peaceful protest since its creation in 2003. Veliaj has also worked with several international humanitarian organizations in the Americas, Eastern Africa and Kosovo. Veliaj holds a Master’s degree in European Integration from the University of Sussex and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Grand Valley State University.