Eranda Janku

XXXII Cycle - (A.A. 2016-2017)

Home Institution: Polis University Tirana
Curriculum: Urban Planning (ICAR13)
Research Topic: Urban-Rural Territorial Dynamics
Tutor DA-UNIFE: Gastone Ave
Tutor Polis University: Besnik Aliaj
Nationality: Albanian



Eranda Janku is an Urban Planner and assistant lecturer at the Department of Urban Planning and Management of POLIS University in Tirana, Albania. She holds a Master of Science on Urban Planning and Management and a Professional master on “Housing and Land Development Policies”, in collaboration with the IHS (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam, The Netherlands). At the moment, she is doing her PhD research on the topic of “Urban – Rural Territorial Dynamics”. Her major areas of interest are spatial planning policies and landscape urbanism. Eranda has been project manager on many development plans, including regional, strategic and master plans for several and regional areas in Albania. On 2014 she was part of the group, who developed the first Albanian National Spatial Vision, namely “Albania 2030 Manifesto”, presenting for the very first time a methodology of spatial planning at national scale for the Albanian planning context. During 2016 Eranda worked near VTTI (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Blacksburg, VA, USA), researching on the topic of Traffic Safety Cultures, a project under the framework of Horizon 2020. From January 2018, she’s temporarily moved to Portugal to do research work on the topic of “territorial diffusion” near MINHO University in Guimaraes. Eranda is also a very active member of the organizing teams of TAW (Tirana Architecture Week) and TDW (Tirana Design Week). Her interest on European matters also has been materialized on her membership and participation in VOLT, a pan-European, progressive movement that stands for a new and inclusive way of doing politics, in order to bring real change to all European citizens. With an international educational and working experience, she is as well a member of ISOCARP, International Society of City and Regional Planners, representing both POLIS and Albania.

Research skills
Territorial Planning | Spatial Strategic Planning | Territorial Cohesion | Regional Policy | Land Development and Management

Scientific activities



Doctoral research

Urban-Rural territorial dynamics and the continuum that lies in between. Understanding the shifted nature of the planning paradigm from a contemporary point of view, Albania as a case-study.

As societies are on constant change and evolution, the concepts that define and describe their behaviors should reflect on these dynamics as well. For the last decades, we’ve witnessed an oscillated relation between the traditional “urban” and “rural”, making official the outdatedness of the dichotomy and giving rise to what can be seen also as a continuum between the two. Interdependence and integration are the definitive traits of today’s urban- rural dynamics, so a myriad of common issues on which both they can relate to, economically, socially and environmentally speaking, cannot be investigated separately anymore, therefore a contemporary understanding of the planning paradigm is needed and an integrated territorial approach should be undertaken. The urban- rural continuum needs to be harmoniously re-imagined. Merely, we can consider that a built living environment is made of spatially defined characteristics, which become its physical features, and of social ties and systems, which make for its driving mechanism. But with the evolution of these social ties and systems, today we can talk about a new kind of large-scale urban society, which has become increasingly independent of what we call the city, and which is not exclusively city-based anymore (Webber, M.M., 1968). Improvements in transportation, technology and communication, have broken the ties of our geographical togetherness, leading to scattered patterns of both, living and economic environments. Furthermore, the blurring of the “urban” and “rural” dichotomy covers nowadays a wide range of dimensions, leaving space for confusion between the understanding of the “old rural” and “old urban”, and the current developments on both these grounds. Out of this discrepancy, new concepts like ‘rurban’, ‘peri-urban’, ‘exurban’, ‘sub-urban’ etc., have emerged, boosting in some way confusion between the “traditionalism” of the planning practices, translated in urban and rural development as apart from each other, and the contemporary changes deriving from the blurring of the two notions (Dymitrow, M. et al., 2016). We’ve come to whiteness that, either by administrative decisions and/or morphological transformations, the country side of today (what would generally be coined as “rural”) has gradually shifted from being a landscape of production, to also being a landscape of consumption, consequently often transforming into a functional extension of the city (Millward et al. 2003). Rural population has nowadays explored the “urban jungle”, either by migration, or by the patterns of sprawling and enlargement of the cities. While rural to urban migration happens, outmigration from the main urban centers towards new small to medium towns is also happening very actively. Agriculture, merely considered as a main rural feature, is not exclusively rural anymore, today we speak about industrial agriculture. Employment is shifting from the production of goods to services, and communities of spatially dispersed members are emerging. This moment of transition is surely an opportunity for exploring further into the topic, and rediscovering the loci of growth in the urban- rural continuum. Successful development is most likely to be dependent of proper territorial governance (Dymitrow, M. et al., 2016), and that can only be assured if the matter is properly understood. With all these changes, is only logical that continuing with “business as usual” should not be an option anymore, when it comes to the planning paradigm. Considering this momentum of crisis, as an opportunity for reflection, this research work aims to investigate whether it is time for a new understanding of the urban- rural continuum, which will mark the shift on the paradigm of territorial planning, looking beyond the limitations of “urban” and “rural” development. Questions like “how to understand and translate the blurring”, “how to empower the continuum”, and “how to plan on today’s conditions of desaturated differences between the urban-rural dichotomy”, will emerge in order to understand the shifted nature of the planning paradigm from a contemporary point of view, to grasp on how to make this shift happen, and to determine how we as professionals can facilitate this shift.

Urban | Rural | Territorial Dynamics | Diffusion | Territorial Cohesion