The Bartlett School of Architecture


Space Syntax Laboratory Research Seminar Series: Blerta Dino

02 May 2017, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Space Syntax Lab seminar: Blerta Dino, Tirana

Please note: this event was originally due to take place on 21 March 2017.

Event Information

Open to





Room 6.04, The Bartlett School of Architecture, 22 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0QB

Mapping the Ideological Dimension of Urban Growth

Blerta Dino

In contrast to planned cities, where subsequent growth tends to occur mainly at the urban periphery, in contemporary Tirana this trend has been accompanied by the striking densification of existing neighbourhoods. This has happened through the appropriation of previously public spaces by newcomers in need of a place to live, local opportunists and speculative developers.

This transformation of Tirana’s built environment has occurred within a very short space of time, during which the radical top-down urban planning ideology associated with the communist regime was succeeded, in 1991, by an equally radical ‘bottom-up’ model, characterized by mass urban migration and unregulated capitalism.

Four distinct historical stages are presented to represent the evolution of Tirana’s urban form through contrasting ideological regimes: 1921, 1937, 1989 and 2016. Conzenian and space syntax approaches provide the methodological basis for morphological research into Tirana’s urban growth.

On the basis of these analyses, the research finds that Tirana’s expansion is consistent neither with the typical pattern of urban growth on a western model, nor even that of a ‘one size fits all’ post-socialist transformation. On the contrary, its distinctive features must, in the first instance, be interpreted in the context of Albania’s twentieth-century history.