Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 December, 2021 at 9:41 am by Andre Camilleri
Malta needs to shift planning towards greener concepts, as green spaces are essential for the well-being of society, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said.
A conference organised by the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning and the Planning Authority titled ‘Greening our Grey – Redefining Urban Spaces’, brought together major players to contribute to the formulation and implementation of an urban greening blueprint for Malta.
Minister Aaron Farrugia said that if planned, designed, and developed well, green urban areas will greatly benefit the environment, health, economy and urban ecosystem to make it more resilient to climate challenges.
During his address, Minister Farrugia announced that to this end, a new structure for main stakeholders will be set up to oversee the blueprint’s implementation. It will replace the IPCF once this forum presents its results. A protocol for the planting and maintenance of trees, developed by the Environment and Resources Authority will also be published.
The conference initiated a broad discussion on the management of the urban environment. “It explored the idea that, through urban greening, we can shift our vision of urban areas from being spaces that primarily provide areas for structural development to thriving human habitats that support our physical health, good environmental quality, and the country’s economic competitiveness in a rapidly changing world,” a statement by the ministry read.
Minister Farrugia said that “the government’s vision towards greener infrastructure has already begun to be implemented, as a number of major urban greening projects have already commenced, including GreenServ projects in Mosta, Ħamrun, Qormi, and Żabbar, with a budget of more than one million euro each. Works have also commenced on existing gardens such as Romeo Romano Garden in Santa Venera, Belvedere Garden in Marsa, and Spencer Garden in Marsa through an investment of over €4 million. A number of green walls and green roofs are being installed around the country. The Planning Authority’s own Development Planning Fund was reformed to encourage more green projects, and this year, agreements for nearly €5 million worth of projects have been signed.”
“Today’s conference serves as a platform for key stakeholders to make their voices heard and come up with ideas on our urban greening policy. We can no longer rely on the individual initiative of one developer or another, or a governmental or other entity to ensure that we have greener environments in the most populated areas. This is why we are creating a clear blueprint that guides decisions so that our children can enjoy a better quality of life. After all, the most important responsibility we have is to ensure that we create an even better country for our children,” the minister said.
Dr Antoine Zammit, Architect and Urban Designer, Senior Lecturer and Design Tutor in Spatial Planning, Urban Design and Urban Governance, addressed participants and presented the positioning of green infrastructure in the promotion of green urbanism.