Erion Veliaj

Erion Veliaj

MAYOR, MUNICIPALITY OF TIRANA, ALBANIA

As the Mayor of Tirana since 2015, Erion Veliaj has focused on the implementation of child-friendly policies aimed at transforming Tirana into a long-term sustainable city.

As part of his vision of giving the city back to its citizens, his administration completely renovated the city's central square, which was awarded the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2018, and created the Orbital Forest; a two-million tree belt that will serve as a pivotal element in addressing the environmental concerns of the city by 2030.

Mr. Veliaj entered politics after a long engagement with the civil society, international organizations and media. In 2003, Mr. Veliaj founded the movement "MJAFT" (Enough), an organization that unified the activist and protest spirit of the Albanian youth, which in 2004 received the United Nations Award for civil society.

In 2011, Mr. Veliaj joined the Socialist Party of Albania as Secretary for Youth and Migration. In the parliamentary elections of 2013 he was elected as a Member of the Albanian Parliament in Gjirokastra. Soon after he was appointed as the Albanian Minister of Social Welfare and Youth where he reformed the entire Social Security system, introduced the National Youth Action Plan and revamped social services and vocational training.

Mr. Veliaj was the Albanian Socialist Party's choice for the capital city in the local elections held June 2015, where he won by a landslide against the opposition. On July 30th, 2015 Mr. Veliaj was sworn as the Mayor of Tirana, Albania where he currently serves.

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Presentation:

Taking Back the City: Tirana, a city transformed by and for the kids

How do you transform a city into a space that encourages children to use it? Children themselves have been our biggest allies in building designs that create community life. Engaging children actively in novel initiatives that foster interaction and planning infrastructures that invite them to get closer to nature and have not only the curiosity, but the opportunity to explore public spaces, have served as tools of transforming Tirana into a city where children and adults alike can cherish the benefits of child-friendly urban planning. Whether it is a new playground, an extended bike lane or a tree planted, a city that is more liveable for children provides for a better quality of life for all citizens. Being eager to embrace change, children have been the best advocates of making Tirana a better, greener and more humane city.




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