DOI: 10.37199/o41006118 ISSN: 2959-4081

Actions for sustainable development: A strategy for rural growth in Dropull municipality

Laia Gemma García Fernández

The rapid depopulation that is emptying the rural areas around Europe is a common problem that also affects Albania: countryside areas in Albania are facing serious social and economic changes due to the abandonment and decay of the smaller town centres, where the age of inhabitants is unstoppably growing due to the centralization of the industries and production services in bigger urbanized areas. The lack of infrastructures and facilities for the community as well as for potential tourists, brings about the necessity of re-thinking how to design a rural development model that satisfies the social, economic and environmental sustainability for the development of rural areas. The overview of villages in Dropull municipality shows how depopulation has given rise to the degradation of vernacular architecture and therefore, the decline of the construction and the local businesses related to building materials. This has led the Albanian government to launch the initiative “100+ village academy”, whose main objective is to design tailor-made development models for rural areas, based on tourism potential. Therefore, finding strategies to promote the gradual reactivation of buildings, public infrastructures, community services, monuments and tourism attractions seems to be key to succeed in the development of rural areas in Dropull municipality. Acknowledging the great contribution that rural and vernacular architecture can give to the development of the area, this work aims to understand the building typologies, uses and techniques, as well as the urban fabric of the Dropull villages, with a focus on Jorgucat. In addition, the current situation of the built environment will be applied to specific building contexts, with the intention not only to build sustainable infrastructure but also promote the economy of the community by the reactivation of rural tourism and businesses. The design and construction as a trigger in the development process of a rural village becomes a key moment to foster the economy, the environment and the sense of belonging to a community.