Accepted paper:

Navigating water-routes in the Southern Albanian coast

Authors:

Natasa Gregoric Bon (Research Centre SASA, Slovenia)

Paper short abstract:

This paper inquires how people living in the coastal plains of southern Albania navigate the water routes and how on the other hand they determine their daily lives and migration paths.

Paper long abstract:

This paper inquires how people living in the coastal plains of southern Albania navigate the water routes and how on the other hand they determine their daily lives and migration paths. Albanian landscape is rich in rivers and streams that cover 721 kilometers of its surface. Besides the rich river network, the Albanian landscape is surrounded by 476 kilometers of coast opening to the Adriatic Sea in the north and the Ionian Sea in the south. The sea and rivers have always been important locations generating the present and future land and water routes in the area. Throughout centuries, people living in the coastal plains were using sea-routes for trading with people in areas of today's Italy and Greece. Whereas these paths were blocked during the period of communism which forbade any outgoing border crossings, after the collapse of the regime the sea-routes opened again and witnessed massive migration flows that redrew the new paths through the sea. According to social memory, these trading and migration routes have reshaped the seascape as the 'window' to freedom and democracy. Nowadays the rapid urbanization of the coastal area enhances the erosion (soil erosion and abrasion) of the area. Due to these processes, the landscape is becoming ever more fluid as the seascape solidifies. In particular, the heavy urbanization of the coastal areas by elite groups from the capital of Tirana leads to the heavy and uncontrolled development of the coastal scape, escalating in land tenure issues, causing environmental changes and gentrification.

panel P132
The winding roads: infrastructures and technologies of (im)mobility