A visit to the port of Durres, on the Albanian coast, should be a regular visit for students in urban planning and tourism development. Most of what can go wrong in the dash for quick cash has done so in Durres. Urban planning rules and directives for hotel constructions have been ignored in order to maximize the economic return of every single square meter. The result is an unattractive diversity of huge apartment blocks and hotels, built 2 meters from each other with little or no green areas. Add to this the universal presence of uncollected garbage, free flowing sewage water which finds its way through the hotel areas and into the sea where the majority of the tourists go swimming. In the centre of town, a new front line of properties are emerging out of the sea, through massive land fills. One can only imagine the reaction of those hotel and apartment owners, who some years back invested (and most certainly paid off public officials) in front line property to wake up one morning and see a new row of blocks being built right in front of their noses. Their only salvation will be that in 5 years time the same faith awaits the current front liners (until the construction boom reaches the shores of Italy…)
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