From: Alba Mborja
Tirana Urban Planners as Zoologists

During an interview for Top Channel, Director-General of Urban Planning at the Municipality of Tirana, Ditjon Baboçi, talked about a project that would connect the zoo with the botanical garden through an underground tunnel.

He stated that “an underground tunnel will be built that will be an aquarium with sea animals or butterflies from all over Albania.”

The connection between the two parks is a good development, essentially, and perhaps necessary to give the zoo the space necessary to be a park appropriate for the city.

Talks about joining the two parks and creating a single one have actually been around for over five years. The issue is whether the parks will be joined by a bridge, a tunnel, or another park segment.

As the saying goes “tell me how you treat the animals, and I tell you who you are,” the situation in the zoo tells a lot about Tirana. The way the animals have been treated shows of our indifference.

Therefore, the Municipality of Tirana is doing the right thing when deciding to modernize and improve the animals’ home.

However, like many other projects, the project of joining the parks comes as a surprise, like an achievement of the municipality somewhere behind the curtains.

There haven’t been any public consultations, presentation of alternatives, or competitions.

The feeling invoked by the interview is “next surprise will be… the National Tunnel of Butterflies.” After the national main square, next comes the National Tunnel of Butterflies.

In fact, these “butterflies from all over Albania” are a confirmation of a problematic concept, or rather the lack of a clear concept. Filling the connecting tunnel filled with patriotic butterflies is perhaps the least worst solution. Maybe, the municipality of Tirana should plan the creation of a real space to join the two parks with more than one patriotic tunnel.

Tunnel of butterflies and birds are found in many zoological parks. They are built so that the the microclimate for these unique species can be appropriately monitored. They are not joining tunnels, that serve to traverse the parks, in an almost secret way.

It is rather worrying that the Albanians have come to the butterflies. Even more worrying is the fact that the Municipality of Tirana’s urban planning has become an instrument of propaganda rather than serving its citizens.

At least, the Municipality of Tirana should implement planning techniques such as the Transfer of the Development Rights, widely proclaimed by the Municipality of Tirana, especially because the butterfly or aquatic animal tunnel seems to be plucked out of thin air. With or without butterflies, let it be a decision coming from zoologist or botanists, but not the municipality.