Informality is a significant aspect of the recent processes of land development, which has attracted the interest of academics and policy‐makers, in the context of the crucial role that land has acquired for the global economy and the prevalent trends of capitalist activity. A wide variety of reforms and policies for dealing with informality have been adopted in many countries worldwide, often under the guidance of supranational organisations, though with contradictory impacts.
The objective of this article is the critical appraisal of informality in land development processes in Albania, a former socialist country in “transition”, by exploring links with land reforms and socioeconomic dynamics, as well as the interaction of various actors from the global to the local level. We argue that, through multiple synergies and conflicts, informal practices serve a wide variety of interests, while informality in itself, as well as the policies for controlling it, may also lead to the intensification of socio‐spatial inequalities and exclusions
Our approach is based on the analysis of the land development processes in the coastal settlement of Jal as a case study. The article focuses on an incident of demolitions of informal constructions in Jal in 2007, which was associated with a World Bank's development project, as well as on the land development dynamics prior to and after this incident. We employed a mixed‐method approach, based on qualitative tools, which combined fieldwork in Jal, semi‐structured interviews in Jal, Tirana and Athens, evaluation of land reforms and review of official reports and articles in the local and national press.