About Us

Urban Research Institute (URI) investigates the social and economic problems confronting the country along with the central and local government policies designed to solve them. URI’s mission in this undertaking is to raise awareness of the society and sharpen thinking about these problems and the impact of governmental policies, with the final purpose of improving the quality of decision-making and implementation at the central and local governmental level.

Urban Research Institute is a non-profit and non- governmental organization founded by a joint group of independent professionals and established by the Decision of the Court of Tirana on May 28, 1999. The highest forum is the Board of Trusties, represented by the Executive Director, who is elected by the Board. The organizational structure is composed of three main departments: (I) Development; (II) Research and (III) Finance and Administration.

URI’s general management philosophy is the decentralization of duties, authority and responsibility among the group of experts.

The group of experts prepares project proposals, conducts research, develops analysis and proposes solutions.  In response to specific requirements of its clients and the service, URI works also with part time experts.

URI’s offices are located in the downtown area of Tirana, while contacts with institutions, local experts and coordinators are established almost all over the country. The office provides the necessary equipment for a facilitated operation.

Scope of work
    The Urban Research Institute focuses on the following main subjects of expertise:

  • Environmental and Tourism;
  • Governance Reform;
  • Infrastructure and Public Services;
  • International Experiences;
  • Social Initiatives.

Public policies are more effective when they are designed evidence-based. URI develops socio-economic analysis based only on official data from state institutions or, otherwise, data collected from field surveys conducted from URI.

Urban Research Institute does not take partial positions on socio-economic issues; the group of experts consists of independent professionals who share views and recommendations deriving from research work.

URI’s research work inspires integrity, intellectual honesty and respect among the institutions and organizations with which it cooperates, fostering innovation and constructive debate, where diversity of opinions is welcomed

URI Staff

Zana Vokopola

Executive Director

Entela Kallamata

Finance and Economics Expert, Research Department

Xhulia Tafaruçi

Project Assistant, Administrative Office

Edlir Vokopola

Director, Planning and Development Department

Drini Nushi

Legal Expert, Research Department

Marinela Spahiu

Public Administration Expert, Research Department

Dritan Gorica

GIS Expert, Planning and Development Department

Ina Janushi

Human Resources and Finance Expert, Administrative Office

Era Kraja

Environmental Sustainability Expert, Research Department

Over the last 10 years I have had the opportunity to know the work of the staff at the Urban Research Institute: dedicated professionals with impartial stand, active participants in important developments of the country, such as the Administrative and Territorial Reform and the National Decentralization Strategy.

Bledar Çuçi | Minister of State for Local Issues

Significant is the fact that, despite difficulties encountered over the implementation of “ArTVision: A live art Channel”, considering its international dimension and complexity, their good management and persistence towards the supervisory authorities made it possible to achieve a final level of realization of 98% on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, constituting a successful story for projects of similar magnitude.

Mirela Kumbaro | Minister of Culture

URI as a partner and valuable consultant, is characterised by professionalism and fairness in the development of local development projects and delivery of final products.

Viktor Tusha | Mayor of Lezha Municipality
URI is part of the National Council of European Integration in Albania. URI is a supporting partner at ENergies for Local Administration to Renovate Governance in Europe (ENLARGE).