In amidst of workshop intensity of fathoming the city in 3 days and collecting as much data from the community life, two of the participants joined a morning radio program hosted by Radio Shkodra in the last day. As former citizens of Shkodra, Ms. Jona and Ms. Klea expressed the different sensation they have received from the dynamics of the city by observing it not only with a more objective point of view after being withdrawn for years, but also as architects and urban planners. Hereupon, they felt more determined to fully engage in this Workshop, not only because of being one of the rare activities of this kind being hosted in the city, but also after perceiving the faint sense of belonging by the community, who might awaken to discuss issues of their rights to the city and protect them by watching young generations and professionals tackling these issues. Moreover, the participants shared how this experience of wandering around the city, allowing to be absorbed by it through interacting with the community, have transformed the way they approach project implementations; understanding the importance of civic participation. Notably, these observations are what have brought them to the conclusion of intervening into small polycentric public spaces, comprehending the potentials of the small spontaneous spaces among buildings that can become revived shared spaces.
The participants promised to work hard on this last to elaborate all what they have been able to gather these days and announced the open forum taking place online on Friday the 20th, where not only will they present to the audience the results, but also invite the viewers of this morning program to join and learn from the current realities of other cities in the Balkans brought through the 11 key speakers.
Despite the obvious pessimism perceived by the community, Ms. Jona and Ms. Klea emphasized that Shkodra is not yet under intensive construction as Tirana, therefore the city is still in time to protect their right to the public space, what belongs to them.
Sofia Salardi has a master in Economics of Public Administrations and International Institutions and a specialization in European Affairs achieved at the Sciences-Po University in Paris. She is manager in the Municipality of Mantova Fundraising and European funds unit. As project manager she runs complex projects, about management of cultural heritage, energy efficiency, local development, involving the municipality and other European partners. She worked for the Regional Government, Economic Development General Direction, with a direct involvement in projects directed at the simplification of bureaucratic procedures involving local public bodies. She was in charge of marketing and communication projects for the 2015 International Exposition of Milan.
Vladan Jeremić is Belgrade-based artist and theorist whose research-oriented work comprises drawing and text, installation and intervention in public space. He holds PhD in Cultural Studies and MA in digital arts from the University of Belgrade. He explores the relation between art and politics, unveiling the contradictions of today’s societies and developing transformative potentials of art in the context of social struggles.
Sonja Dragović is a researcher in the fields of urban studies and critical geography. She obtained a joint master’s degree in urban studies in 2015 within the interdisciplinary program “4Cities”, which consisted of four semesters of study and practice in Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Madrid. Prior to this, she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. Her main interests include analysing practices of urban activism and working with local communities towards improving participatory methods, public policies, and shared spaces. She is a Ph.D. student at ISCTE-IUL and currently active in Lisbon, Portugal, and in Podgorica, Montenegro. She is a member of Urban Studies Lab, an experimental research collective based in Lisbon, and of KANA/Who if not Architect, a group of architects and urban researchers dedicated to the preservation of modernist architectural heritage and to the study of policy and practice of urban development in Montenegro.
Arbër Sadiki is an Kosovan architect based in Prishtina. He is a lecturer at Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, UBT, Prishtina. Sadiki received his PhD at the University of Belgrade and was a finalist of “AgaKhan Award for Architecture” in Geneva for two years. He won an Erasmus+ exchange program in #Dessau International Architecture Graduate School, near Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Dessau, Germany.
The first day of the # Right2theCity Workshop, participants started by reading the city of Shkodra from Mount Tarabosh.
Then, they walk around the city, trying to make him feel like every citizen.
The students shared their experiences and findings with the facilitators of the Workshop, the architects Arber Sadiki, Kujtim Elezi, Pezana Rexha, Eltjana Shkreli and Armir Ferati.
Many free discussion topics became part of the debate:
1. The city as an open book has in its content of many layers, may they be social, historical, circulating arteries of streets, public spaces, building typologies… All these have a common denominator, which is the collective memory, that works as a subconscious, but it is fundamental guide for the future of cities.
2. Human behaviour is a very valuable asset in shaping cities. Communities are always ahead of development because they belong to the city and are inextricably linked to it, so when planning and designing urban spaces, we need to include community thoughts and suggestions. The designs are beautiful on paper, but remain on paper. The challenge is how to implement it into physical space. Reality is and remains people, because otherwise cities turn into monsters without human feeling.