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“It is important to understand that the square is also a political statement”

Interview with Erion Veilaj, Mayor of Tirana, and Johan Anrys, architect and author of the winning work of the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2018.

In this interview, the author and developer of the winner of the 2018 Prize point out that more than being a square, more than its material condition, the Skanderbeg square is an agora. In the words of the Mayor, Erion Veliaj, the aim was to transform the old square, “from a place of transit, which you cross to go somewhere else, into a destination”.

The transformation of the square from a traffic roundabout into a pedestrian area was the result of a long process which, beyond the technical complexities involved, led to a huge debate. Major changes were made to the original plan after the input of future users was received. Finally, Skanderbeg Square is now filled with people, and this fact has given the new space a wide range of different uses, especially for children, who have unexpectedly turned out to be its greatest fans.