UPP Technical Workshop on Municipal Finance and Urban Audit

October 25-26, 2018 - Vlore, Albania

On October 25-26, 2018, in Vlore, Albania, the Urban Partnership Program in collaboration with theMunicipality of Vlore welcomed around 40 participants from Albanian and Macedonian cities and municipalities, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Finance from both countries and from the Albanian Association of Municipalities (AAM), to share experiences, challenges, and best practices with their peers, in a trusting and familiar context.


The UPP has been fostering financial management and sustainable urban development, as well as supporting capacity building with a network of local experts in the region, through the Municipal Finance Self-Assessment, the Urban Audit and related tools. In the latest UPP survey, 67% of respondents said that the MFSA helped to improve the financial management of municipalities and 82% that the UPP improved the delivery and quality of municipal services to citizens. The success of the program that has involved more than 80 municipalities and 500 practitioners and decision makers is mainly due to regular interactive workshops and events where experts have the opportunity to exchange best practices and discuss solutions to main issues of local finance and development with their peers from neighboring countries and beyond.


The main focus of the workshop was the presentation of the new MFSA V2.0 application to participants after the testing phase and before its official launch. As most of them have already worked on the previous version of the MFSA, presenting the new configuration of the web-based platform, how it operates and what are the benefits for the municipalities using the tool, was greatly appreciated. Participants were given a chance to test the MFSA V2.0 together with local experts and tried to identify aspects that could be improved. The received feedback, comments and recommendations for further improvement of this tool were collected and will be presented during the City to City Dialogue. The MFSA V2.0 application is currently being tested with users, revised and customized, and it will soon befully released and disseminated.


Workshop participants were welcomed both by Honorable Dritan Leli, the Mayor of Vlore, as well as Mr. Rama, Deputy Mayor of Vlore. Mr. Leli pointed out how important and positive the cooperation with the World Bank has been for the city, and highlighted the essential role played by these types of technical workshops in improving urban development while Mr. Rama, outlined in his keynote address the most important economic growth priorities for the municipality, which included tourism, infrastructure improvement and PPPs. During the first day, participants had a chance to exchange experiences on common topics such as financial management and integrated urban development, financing capital investment projects and furthering citizen participation and transparency for project selection processes. The workshop was also used as a platform to discuss further integration between the MFSA and UA; e.g. what data/information can be used from MFSA as input to UA and vice versa. Urban Planning experts outlined how the UA evolved from identifying territorial and service deficiencies and needs, to fostering international partnerships and regional networking for LED. This was shown through two best practice examples shared by Municipality of Kucove, Albania, and Municipality of Gazi Baba, Macedonia.



At the end of the first day, participants had the opportunity to hear about the Urban Lab Participatory approach implemented in Ksamil, Saranda in Albania under UPP. Professor Markus Tomaselli, from the University of Technology in Vienna (TU Wien), explained how undertaking the lab and conducting workshops/surveys/questioners with different constituents of Ksamil, a town that highly depends on tourism with its population increasing tenfold during the summer period, brought to light several new, but very important topics and issues to be addressed.


The site visits and field trips to Zvernec provided clear insight into infrastructure development and challenges linked to the local economy. Road investment, sewage treatment plant, Petrolifera, gas power plant are among the most important infrastructural projects for Vlore which will allow better living conditions, but also allow increase in attractiveness to tourists and visitors. As a highlight, participants visited lagoon of Narta and island and monastery of Zvernec as they represent important cultural touristic attractions in the area.


The second day of the workshop was opened by Professor Dr. Arben Malaj, Honorary Consul of Austria to Vlore who stated how these kinds of workshops are symbols of the need to shift emphasis to the local level, in order to shorten the distance between voters and decision makers and tackle critical global challenges and address EU. During the course of the day, participants had the opportunity to discuss systems of debt management and financing capital projects. Our UA experts led a group exercise where participants discussed capital projects selection and financial sources. Groups worked on sources of funding for capital projects including PPPs, local government budgets, commercial loans, fiscal autonomy, MSIP and other IFIs, and others. For more information please see the full summary report.


Participants were inspired by local best practices in Macedonia and Albania as well as the World Bank MSIP and PIUTD programs where the UPP is supporting municipalities in project selection and application for funds.


Once again, the cities and municipalities appreciated the opportunity to share and discuss important issues of joint interest, provide suggestions and support to one another, and to pose questions to the Ministries and LGA representatives in a safe environment.


Final Agenda - Vlore, October 24-26 2018.pdf

Citizen Enagement in Decision Making - S. Kdolsky.pdf
Citizens Engagement, Fier - R. Hyseni.pdf
Citizens Engagement, Prilep - B. Jankuloski.pdf
UPP Survey review, Workshop - Vlore 2018.pdf
Urban Audit, Municipality of Kucova - Xh. Kostreni.pdf
Urban Audit of MGB for LED OF Municipality Gazi Baba - S. Trajkov.pdf

City of Vlore - J. Puka and A. Paparizo.pdf
PIUTD - Tuo Shi.pdf




"The MFSA tool is very useful and can help LGs assess their financial performance and look for additional financing. On the other hand, it is a huge responsibility to translate the budget into strategies that will drive LG's development",
Reisa Duraj, Head of Finance and Treasure Relations Sector of the Shkoder Municipality, Albania

"This capacity building program will enhance knowledge and skills of local governments, particularly of medium and large cities."

 All testemonials >>>


Urban Partnership Program 'Placemaking' Workshop
Belgrade, September 19-20, 2019

Since 2010, the World Bank has partnered with the Austrian Government in the Urban Partnership Program (UPP) aimed to strengthen the capacity of local governments, to support cities in a process of modernization and reform and to promote and enhance urban development and governance in cities and municipalities of South-East Europe (SEE). The main idea in the current phase is to continue building leadership capacities of senior officials through various activities and implement EU standards with the final objective of achieving sustainable development. The Program is piloting participatory approaches in Serbia through supporting participatory planning and placemaking capacity building in major cities of Serbia, including Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad.

The first Placemaking workshop was held in Nis in June 2018, and around 40 participants from Nis, Novi Sad and Belgrade were introduced to and trained in placemaking techniques and how to use them in their daily work. The second workshop, held in Belgrade in September 2019, was focusing on applying the learned placemaking tools in a real case study for the City of Belgrade. The participants comprised urban planners, architects, landscape architects, local economic development officers, city officials, young professionals/academics, Civil Society Organizations, and representatives from the local government association of Serbia and the Ministry of Construction, Infrastructure and Transport. They joined together to learn about the potentials of placemaking and people centered urban planning in general, and link them to the concept of Transport Oriented Development (TOD).

The main objectives of this workshop were to strengthen the capacity of urban planners and associated officials in the area of participatory planning, to introduce new tools and approaches in planning and to develop and organize a participatory planning intervention that addresses the local challenges and builds on the opportunities of an area within one urban neighborhood in the City of Belgrade. The workshop was designed and delivered in collaboration with Roland Krebs, Mara Haas and Katarina Sesic, urban planners/academics from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria and Superwien Urbanism, Vienna. A step-by-step guidebook on placemaking will be developed as a result of this process. The guidebook will cover general placemaking strategies for cities and public spaces around railway stations in the context of Transit oriented Development (TOD).

The workshop introduced placemaking as an innovative planning approach, a method to transform a space into a place, a method where a public space is being activated and made more attractive by and for the local residents and entrepreneurs. Placemaking was introduced as an additional tool for urban development and a strategy for co-creation, which focuses on economic and social well-being and quality of life. It is a strategy for coping with urban problems and the actions to be taken in a neglected area with the aim of upgrading and revitalizing it. As both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region, placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces.

After the introductory session on the first day of the workshop, the participants learned more about Transit Oriented Development, a planning and design strategy that focuses on creating urban development patterns which facilitate the use of public transit, walking and cycling as primary modes of transport and which supports vibrant, diverse and livable communities. For the purposes of this workshop, the concept of TOD was linked to the principles of placemaking, as one of the important tools for achieving successful city projects. A variety of good local and international examples and practices were shared during the workshop. Participants were also introduced to the 8 TOD principles that can be implemented on the regional, corridor and station levels. They align human and economic densities on mass transit lines and nodes to ensure greater accessibility, thus creating compact regions with short commutes and ensuring resilience for the areas connected by mass transit. TOD should create vibrant, people-centric public spaces around mass transit stations.

Participants also had the opportunity to test some of the learned Placemaking tools using a case study in the city of Belgrade, which was the basis for the walk-on sessions that followed. During the Walkshop and Place Game sessions, the participants were divided into five different groups, each focusing on one particular case study area (Marsala Birjuzova and Sremska streets, plateau and corner of Sremska Street, passage from Sremska to Zeleni Venac and Zeleni Venac bus station area). An extensive list of results and recommendations was created based on the analysis of the gathered questionnaire responses and observations, as well as possible intervention and improvement areas for each of the public spaces.

A film screening at the local Remont gallery was organized during the afternoon to show and discuss a couple of short documentary films about topics similar to Placemaking. The first movie played was ´Open Book Shelf´, a film by Yilmaz Vurucu, from Austria. The storyline was about a small street library where people could exchange or borrow books. The second film was ‘Stara Trznica`, produced by Eutropian for Open Heritage. It shows the activation of an old market hall in Bratislava, Slovakia, which was closed to the public for many years.

During day two of the workshop, participants continued to work on their case study by creating a Project Framework for the entire planning area. Lastly, the Role Play session produced possible insights in potential stakeholders’ perspectives on different activation scenarios. It was very helpful and interesting to see how different stakeholders like students, retirees, business owners, elderly women and parents may react to different outcomes and ideas for space improvement.

The workshop in Belgrade generated great interest and participants appreciated the inputs and information shared, as well as the positive energy and new knowledge which they are eager to apply in their future work. The expectations of the workshop, which were identified at the beginning of the workshop, were fulfilled: The participants gained new knowledge and shared their experiences. They learned new tools that follow a citizens-oriented, participatory and creative approach. By testing the new tools in the local context, a common vision for this planning area was created, but participants also got new ideas and inspiration for their own projects in their home towns.
The most useful and easily applicable parts for the participants were collective brainstorming and dialogue between different cities, sharing of ideas and innovative approaches. This is why UPP plans to continue with a follow up practical, implementation centered workshop in Novi Sad, which will focus on a topic that fits well with the local situation and will also bring into action additional placemaking concepts and techniques and participatory planning methods.


WB_UPP_Placemaking Workshop - Annex 1_Toolbox
WB_UPP_Placemaking Workshop - Annex 2_Placemaking and TOD Input session
WB_UPP_Placemaking Workshop - Enabling TOD in Belgrade Placemaking workshop 19. 09. 2019.

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