Title: Cities as story: Redevelopment projects in authoritarian and hybrid regimes
Author: Dorina Pojani
Abstract: In the past decade, so-called hybrid regimes—authoritarian regimes in the guise of democracy—have emerged in Europe. Similar to the authoritarian or totalitarian regimes of 20th-century Europe, the association between urban design and politics is evident in the capital cities of hybrid regimes. This article recounts the stories of the recently proposed and/or completed redevelopment projects in the centers of Istanbul (Turkey), Skopje (Macedonia), and Tirana (Albania). In all 3 capitals, the interventions have been rather contentious, and have produced violent protests in the case of Turkey and Macedonia. The author has collected and presented the stories of the users of these three city centers and their reactions to these spaces before and after redevelopment. Users’ narratives bring to light elements of the situations and the characters involved that have so far been implicit. Conceptualizing urban planning through storytelling is meant to bring an element of Balkan magic realism into this field, which historically has been dominated by theories produced in the Anglosphere.