In response to a freedom of information request, the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism has provided Exit with the official contract between the Ministry and the consortium that developed the Tirana 2030 Masterplan, also known as the General Local Plan, worth 56.835.870 lekë. In spite of the public profile given to the project by Italian architect Stefano Boeri, the documents have been signed by UNLAB director Andreas Faoro.
Although the documentation provided by the Ministry of Eglantina Gjermeni does not contain the specific Terms of Reference, it does include several articles that relate to the duties of the contractor. The article most relevant to our argument is the following one:
10.1 The contractor has to provide the services and fulfill his duties with all the effort, efficiency, and economy in accordance with generally accepted professional techniques and practices.
In other words, the contractor is contractually obliged to deliver quality work.
Let me take a few examples from previous articles (there are many more) that show that no quality work was delivered by UNLAB and Stefano Boeri.
The masterplan contains three different numbers for the population of Tirana in 2031. Most prominent is the number 1,600,000, mentioned on p. 94 of the report. However, on p. 414 it contains official data from INSTAT, which predicts a population size of 724,167. On p. 415, the authors of the report suggest the number 700,000. Considering that population growth is one of the most important figures underlying the planning of urban expansion, it is unacceptable to have these contradictory numbers in the same report.
The report omits several other key data, for example water usage in Tirana: “Tirana currently serves it population through [water] tubes, arriving at xx% of the population” and “Tirana has currently lost xx% of its water because of leaks.” Either these data were not available, or they were not included in the final report. Again, this is an unacceptable oversight of the authors and irresponsible if we again keep in mind that this masterplan will have to last until 2030.
The finally, and most shockingly, many of the “strategic projects” proposed in the Tirana 2030 Masterplan have no budget, but only an indication “XXX.” Again the omission of crucial financial data, which will influence the municipal budget for 13 years to come is a sign of gross negligence.
According to art. 23(1)b, the Ministry is allowed to annul the contract if the contractor fails to implement any part of it. I think I have showed clearly that this is the case. Moreover, art. 25(1) allows Minister Gjermeni to annul the contract “at any time if it judges that this action needs to be undertaken to serve the public interest as well as possible.” There is no denying that the public interest would very well be served by annulling the contract, or at least demanding proper work to be delivered by the contractor.
The National Territorial Council (KKT) still hasn’t officially approved the General Local Plan (PPV) of Tirana. On February 8, the KKT approved the PPVs of Kruja, Kukës, Gjirokastra, Ura Vajgurore, Skrapar, Poliçan, Cërrik, Librazhd, Kurbin, Divjaka, and Korça, but is unclear when the other municipalities, including Tirana, will be discussed. So it’s not too late to demand quality for money, yet.