Summary of the general Local Plan of Dropull Municipality
Author: Polis University
Affiliation: Polis University
The inhabitants of Dropull have historically recognized themselves as a community, kept together by the common traditions, culture and territory. But it was during the recent years that the territory was comprised in one municipality. The establishing of the new administrative unit created the opportunity for developing a new General Local Plan. POLIS University offered to the newly formed municipality the possibility of drafting the plan in a participated process that would profoundly and comprehensively involve the community. The plan is one of the most important instruments for governing the territory and for managing the future opportunities. In this sense the plan is structured in a series of consecutive documents, organized in three groups. The initial and primary document is the analysis of the territory, its culture and its economy. Out of this analysis a series of treats and opportunities emerge. The second document builds on the strengths of the municipality and tries to translate the opportunities into a vision. Dropulli’s vision foresees the municipality as a linear development corridor of settlements, and as rural development pole between the regional centers of Gjirokastra and Ioannina, from one side and the southern mountain ranges of Albania and the Ionian coast on the other. A territory with a strong historical and cultural character and identity, a model of coexistence between different nationalities, an important gateway to the cross-border area and a bridge between Albania and Greece. The municipality can turn into a center focused on the development of tourism, agriculture, livestock, and processing industry that utilizes local products to create a complete production cycle. The territory can welcome and provides space for research and for the establishment of start-ups based on tourism and bioproducts. In this way it can become a cross-border pole that uses sustainably the potential of a consolidated local economy and a favorable atmosphere for the return of population and for the attraction of investments. In order to achieve this vision, in the third and implementation part of the plan, four strategic objectives are proposed. The firs one fosters the higher accessibility to the territory and its integration to the larger infrastructural networks. This topic represents one of the most important challenges to the new municipality which is heavily influenced by the geographic position and by the rough terrain. The second strategic objective is the strengthening of the regional and cross border economic position through the development and diversification of the local economic activities. In this case, the geographic position of the municipality can be further exploited in order to become part of larger exchanges networks. The fourth strategic objective is the protection of the rural character of the settlements and the improvement of the quality of life. This objective is one of the most complex to achieve because it requires the creation of a balanced and sustainable development model which gives value to the historical settlements, without altering them but at the same time avoiding the freezing of every development initiative. The fourth and final strategic objective foresees the protection of the environment and the prevention of natural hazards. The strategic objectives are then turned into an operative form through the proposal of programs and projects which are consequently represented in the land use plan and in a budget.