Albania: Rama’s Obsession With Tall Buildings Reminiscent Of Communism

Albania: Rama’s Obsession With Tall Buildings Reminiscent Of Communism

“Successive Albanian regimes have always tried to rebuild Tirana according to their image. The history of urban development in Tirana is the political history of Albania,” said Vincent Van Gerven Oei to Neritan Sejamini on TV Show “In a Few Words” last night.

Vincent added he isn’t surprised that Prime Minister Edi Rama is trying to impose his vision on Tirana as a way to leave a legacy of his own.

He explained that he thinks the obsession with building tall buildings and the mania of construction in the capital is something that is very much embedded in the legacy of communism and the dictatorship.

“If you read articles or comments from the dictatorship period, for example, on the erection of headstones that were important political monuments of the time, there are frequent comments about the fact that everyone wants to make them bigger than they should be,” he said.

“This fixation with creating tall buildings is not something that comes from Rama himself, but rather part of the story in which he grew up. This, presumably, included importance in creating big, tall things such as lapidars or towers in order to strengthen the appearance of political power. Edi Rama has been obsessed with tall buildings since he became the Mayor of Tirana. Now he has the opportunity to realise them,” he added.

But the question is, who will live in these tall buildings? Vincent said he believes they will remain empty as no one can afford to live in them and so many people are leaving the country.

“If you look at the communist period, entire parts of Tirana were demolished to build these three or six-story buildings throughout the city. And now Edi Rama is doing the same. He is creating Tirana according to his image because he has the opportunity to do so.”

In terms of the plans of the government to force people to leave their homes and to compensate them with an apartment, Vincent made the following analogy;

“Image you have a pension fund. You put money into it, the fund grows and when you retire, you get money from the fund. Suppose a bank robber comes and says “I will steal all this pension fund, BUT I will give you EUR 1000. Isn’t that good? Isn’t it nice that everyone gets EUR 1000? See, everyone wins!” This he said, is exactly what is happening in the so-called “transformation areas”

The value of the land, he said, is much higher than the value of the apartments or offices, or whatever the private company has promised the government.

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