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Physis City Tirana - Walking every street.
A project of the Studienkolleg zu Berlin.

Half of the world’s population lives in towns and cities, and the proportion is ever increasing. These urban areas are a dense concentration of construction, transport, government and community. How lightly such statements escape our lips: “New York is a lively city” or “J’aime Paris” or “Ich bin ein Berliner” – Thoughts which reduce a daily experience to a handful of words. A city in four words? The research group ‘Physis City Tirana’ aims to go beyond such simplifications in its investigation of the variety of urban life. We want to comprehend the city by perceiving it with the senses. We want to make a record of the entire city – as viewed from the streets. In March 2009 we walked through every street in Tirana, experiencing the city and capturing and documenting what we witness. Tirana is particularly interesting for us, since despite its dynamic and rapid development it is still a blind spot in the awareness of most Europeans.

Our main question: How does the body of the city appear?

We presented the results of our research to the public on the 7th July 2009 at the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin. The presentation was accompanied by an exhibition of the documented material. This webpage complements our project: It goes over our route through the Albanian capital and interactively links our findings with the relevant locations. The research group ‘Physis Stadt Tirana’ consists of six young academics from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, bringing together disciplines as varied as Politics, Art History, Physics, Archaeology and Philosophy. The one year project was taking place as part of the Studienkolleg zu Berlin, a program funded by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and the Hertie Foundation.