Tirana, Tirana (FUA), Albania
City population: 980000
Duration: 2017 – ongoing
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Meso-scale: Regional, metropolitan and urban level
Project area: 140000000 m2
Type of area: Agricultural area or farmland, Public Greenspace Area
Last updated: October 2021

The Orbital Forest of Tirana is an innovative urban forest that as a green belt forms a natural growth boundary for the City. Tirana has experienced rapid development in the past decades that led to population growth challenging municipal services and infrastructure, while climate change also posed extensive pressures to the urban area with intense flooding, precipitation, urban heat and degrading environment (1, 4). The Orbital Forest is a ring on the periphery of the City that connects 14,000 ha of Tirana’s parks, agricultural fields, and forests, maintaining the ecosystem and supporting biodiversity. (3, 4) The NBS aims to increase urban greenery through the plantation of 2 million trees that fit well to the existing ecosystem while also creating a natural boundary to halt urban sprawl (1,4,5). The afforestation of the Orbital Forest has been done through the “Donate a Tree For Tirana” campaign started in 2017 where citizens, businesses and international organisations can plant a tree adding to the green belt. As of 2021, more than 440,700 trees in the framework of the "Donate a Tree" campaign are also bringing urban nature closer to residents (3).

Orbital Forest Tirana
Source: https://www.archdaily.com/805105/tirana-2030-watch-how-nature-and-urbanism-will-co-exist-in-the-albanian-capital

Overview

Nature-based solution

  • Parks and urban forests
  • Large urban parks or forests
  • Pocket parks/neighbourhood green spaces
  • Green corridors and green belts

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Flood protection
  • Stormwater and rainfall management and storage
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Environmental quality
  • Air quality improvement
  • Regeneration, land-use and urban development
  • Promote natural styles of landscape design for urban development

Focus

Creation of new green areas, Maintenance and management of urban nature existing green areas

Project objectives

- Increase the number and size of green areas in the city for public use (1) - Halt the unsustainable urban expansion in the form of urban sprawls (4) - Contribute to soil erosion control and carbon sequestration (3,4) - Improve the local air quality in the city (3,4) - Improve local water and flood management (4)

Implementation activities

- Establishment of the "Donate a Tree' campaign through which individuals, corporations and companies can also take part in the tree planting activity. - Creation of a tree cadastre to see where and what kind of trees should be planted - Tree planting through the "Donate a Tree" scheme following the guidelines in the tree cadastre (1,2)

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Implement measures that prevent/manage desertification, soil erosion and landslides
  • Increase or improve urban vegetation cover to help reduce outdoor temperature
  • Create or improve outdoor spaces to help people escape from urban heat

Climate change mitigation:

  • Increase green urban nature for carbon storage (wetlands, tree cover)
  • Improve carbon sequestration through selection of more adaptable species
  • Raise public awareness of behaviours, lifestyle and cultural changes with mitigation potential

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups

Governance

Management set-up

  • Government-led

Type of initiating organisation

  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The creation of the Orbital Forest as a green belt and natural boundary was initiated by the municipality of Tirana (1). As part of the General Local Plan 2030 of Tirana, the plans of the Orbital Forest was created by the Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti that has been approved by Tirana City Council. (1,6,7) Through a cooperation with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, EBRD has been supporting the design and implementation process by providing a small team of experts to prepare a comprehensive technical, financial, environmental and social analysis while also providing financial support to the city. (4)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? No
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (The city of Tirana has a Local General Plan and a Green City Action Plan (GCAP) with the objective to improve its environmental challenges and address the impact of climate change in urban areas (1,6). "At the core of its GCAP, Tirana seeks to balance the need for expansion and improvement in local infrastructure, while reducing its exposure to climate risks, mitigating GHG emissions, improving local air quality and increasing resilience of local ecosystems" (4 p1). The Orbital Forest is one of the main project to achieve this goal.)

Financing

Total cost

Unknown

Source(s) of funding

  • Public local authority budget
  • Multilateral funds/international funding

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget (e.g. governament grants or subsidies)
  • Direct funding
  • Loan
  • Donations

Non-financial contribution

Type of non-financial contribution
  • Provision of labour
Who provided the non-financial contribution?
  • Citizens (e.g. volunteering)
  • Private sector (businesses, financial institution)

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate change
  • Strengthened capacity to address climate hazards/natural disasters
  • Enhanced carbon sequestration
  • Environmental quality
  • Improved air quality
  • Improved soil quality
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Increased protection against flooding
  • Green space and habitat
  • Promotion of naturalistic styles of landscape design for urban development
  • Increased green space area
  • Increased conservation or restoration of ecosystems

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Improved liveability
  • Improved access to urban green space
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Gain in activities for recreation and exercise
  • Cultural heritage and sense of place
  • Improvement in people’s connection to nature
  • Increased appreciation for natural spaces
  • Education
  • Increased awareness of NBS and their benefits

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system

Unknown

Presence of indicators used in reporting

Yes

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records

References

Orbital Forest Tirana
Source: https://www.archdaily.com/805105/tirana-2030-watch-how-nature-and-urbanism-will-co-exist-in-the-albanian-capital
Information about this nature-based solution was collected as part of the UNA global extension project funded by the British Academy.