HOW CAN WE PRESERVE THE IDENTITY OF OUR CITIES?
Edi Rama — the mayor of Tirana, Albania, for 11 years — was an artist before a politician.
“I still paint. I love the joy that color can give to our lives and to our communities,” says Rama, “I try to bring something of the artist in me to my politics.”
Tirana, Albania’s capital city, was downtrodden when Rama took office. The city budget was squandered, corruption was rampant and crime was the norm. But Rama had an idea to raise the spirits of his town — he painted a grey building a bright orange.
As Rama set out to have more of the city painted in loud colors and bold designs, he met resistance from other countries in the European Union. He was asked to opt for more neutral colors.
“I told them no. Compromise in colors is grey,” explains Rama. “When colors came out everywhere, a mood of change started transforming the spirit of the people … People started to drop less litter in the streets. They started to pay taxes. They started to feel something they’d forgotten … Beauty was giving people a feeling of being protected. This was not a misplaced feeling — crime did fall.”
In my opinion, in order to preserve a cities identity, you have to preserve its history. If the history is rubbish, create a new identity. Tirana has done this. Right now in Port Said, historical buildings, that once made the City a popular tourist attraction, are being torn down in order to make way for developers and their bulldozers.
This article explains this: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/0/55386/Heritage/Egypts-threatened-heritage-Port-Saids-history-brea.aspx.
This idea of demolishing and re-design has goverened the start of my Project 3 work.