Val­letta Lo­cal Coun­cil presents 10 pro­pos­als for a Greener Val­letta Cli­mathon ad­dresses sus­tain­abil­ity in Val­letta

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Wa­ter col­lec­tion on Val­letta’s roofs, PV-pow­ered air­con­di­tion­ing by pump­ing cool air from wells, green roofs, so­lar­pow­ered wa­ter taxis, city bike shar­ing and com­mu­nity gar­dens cre­ated through civic waste man­age­ment ini­tia­tives were some of the ideas pre­sented dur­ing the re­cent Cli­mathon event held at the Val­letta Univer­sity Cam­pus.

Cli­mathon forms part of Cli­mate-KIC, the EU’s largest pub­lic pri­vate part­ner­ship ad­dress­ing cli­mate change through in­no­va­tion to build a zero car­bon econ­omy. Ed­u­ca­tion is at the heart of th­ese themes to in­spire and em­power the next gen­er­a­tion of cli­mate lead­ers.

The global cli­mate change event took place si­mul­ta­ne­ously in ma­jor cities around the world, in­clud­ing Val­letta where it was or­gan­ised by Paragon Europe. In Malta, the event’s theme was, How best to be pre­pared for Green Val­letta Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture 2018 and saw a num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses pre­sent­ing their ideas and in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions for greener ini­tia­tives – be they ar­chi­tec­ture, trans­port or busi­ness-re­lated.

Par­tic­i­pants were di­vided into three seper­ate work­shops namely sus­tain­able ar­chi­tec­ture work­shop, a mo­bil­ity work­shop and a waste man­age­ment work­shop and asked to present ideas re­lated to their re­spec­tive as­signed work­shop.

The win­ning idea came out from the Mo­bil­ity work­shop and con­sid­ered the cre­ation of a Last Mile Sys­tem – a sys­tem for the de­liv­ery of goods to Val­letta that is cen­tralised and out­sourced. The sys­tem fore­sees the use of the old power sta­tion site just out of Val­letta re­con­verted into a cen­tral hub for the col­lec­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of goods to re­tail­ers, busi­nesses and cit­i­zens in the city cen­tre us­ing elec­tric or low emis­sion vans thus re­duc­ing con­ges­tion, pol­lu­tion and in­con­ve­nience.

Dr An­ton Theuma, CEO of Paragon Europe ex­pressed his sat­is­fac­tion at the turnout of the event and pointed out the im­por­tance for Malta to start think­ing more se­ri­ously in terms of green ini­tia­tives that will lead to greater sus­tain­abil­ity and ef­fi­cien­cies.

“The ideas pro­posed by the a three work­shops were ideas aimed at mak­ing Val­letta a greener and more sus­tain­able city by re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions in or­der to help our cap­i­tal city face the re­al­i­ties of new en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges. How­ever, re­ally and truly, most of the ideas pre­sented dur­ing this 12-hour marathon of meet­ings and dis­cus­sions may be ap­plied in most lo­cal­i­ties across Malta and Gozo. Th­ese ideas could eas­ily serve as a ba­sis for a truly na­tion­wide green master­plan for our coun­try,” said Dr Theuma.

Cli­mathon was also ad­dressed by Alex­iei Dingli, mayor of Val­letta who ex­plained how this event was hap­pen­ing at a very ex­cit­ing time for a city whose lo­cal coun­cil has al­ready out­lined a strat­egy for a greener Val­letta based on 10 dis­tinct ini­tia­tives in a bid to make the city the Euro­pean Green Cap­i­tal.

“Be­sides the in­tro­duc­tion of plants, planters and other green el­e­ments with the di­rect in­volve­ment of the busi­ness com­mu­nity as well as the ac­cess to a num­ber of green lungs such as monas­ter­ies’ gar­dens and the gar­den at the Arch­bishop’s palace, the lo­cal coun­cil is ac­tively look­ing at how it can sup­port the use of ped­elecs and ebikes in­side the city through the in­stal­la­tion of bike racks and ebike charg­ing sta­tions. The Coun­cil is also plan­ning a 5km path­way and cycle path by the sea round Val­letta.”

Dr Dingli also re­ferred to other ini­tia­tives be­ing planned for Val­letta with re­gards to im­prov­ing mo­bil­ity namely the in­tro­duc­tion of the VATIS app (Val­letta Ac­ces­si­bil­ity Trans­port In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem) pro­vid­ing live data of the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion round and in­side Val­letta to re­duce con­ges­tion, the in­stal­la­tion of park­ing sen­sors that in­di­cate avail­able park­ing and re­duc­ing cruis­ing in­side the city, new park­ing ar­eas, elec­tric cabs and self-driv­ing cars, waste man­age­ment tech­nol­ogy, ur­ban roof gar­dens and ini­tia­tives that mon­i­tor pol­lu­tion and pro­mote more so­cial in­clu­sion to help cit­i­zens adopt health­ier liv­ing pat­terns.

En­tre­pre­neur An­gelo Xuereb also ad­dressed the Cli­mathon event and pre­sented his most re­cent master­plan for Val­letta based on a di­rect cor­re­la­tion be­tween a de­crease in ac­cess by cars and an in­crease in com­mer­cial and so­cial ac­tiv­ity.

“Although Val­letta was never planned to ac­com­mo­date ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic, ev­ery year the city sees over a mil­lion cars through its streets. We have also wit­nessed a con­stant de­crease in com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity and a de­crease in the city’s pop­u­la­tion. In 1939, Val­letta’s pop­u­la­tion was ap­prox­i­mately 24,000 whereas in 2011, the city’s pop­u­la­tion stood at 5,785. Whereas in 1995 there were 833 va­cant prop­er­ties, in 2011 th­ese va­cant prop­er­ties went up to 1,363.”

“Val­letta needs to be re­vived. This can be done by re­duc­ing traf­fic in­side the city and en­cour­ag­ing a wide pedes­tri­an­i­sa­tion project with a grad­ual move of cars to ded­i­cated park­ing ar­eas in Flo­ri­ana. This will in­volve a wide traf­fic man­age­ment plan that sees the use of free elec­tric buses in and round Val­letta, more use of mar­itime links be­tween the in­ner har­bour ar­eas through a sealink be­neath Val­letta and di­rect­ing traf­fic un­der­ground from the north to­wards Sa Mai­son di­rectly lead­ing to a huge un­der­ground carpark in Flo­ri­ana.”

Mr Xuereb also em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of con­tin­u­ous restora­tion and up­keep and pro­posed in­cen­tives by government to en­cour­age peo­ple to come and live in Val­letta by help­ing them in the restora­tion and up­keep of their build­ings and com­mon ar­eas.

The Cli­mathon will be fol­lowed by a se­ries of Ideation Events dur­ing this month and De­cem­ber where re­spec­tive in­di­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies and ex­perts can fur­ther de­velop ideas. The full list of ideas will be gath­ered to­gether in a pub­li­ca­tion.

The Val­letta Lo­cal Coun­cil’s pro­pos­als

A Greener City – Plants and Green El­e­ments in a joint ini­tia­tive with the busi­ness com­mu­nity and the cit­i­zens to en­sure the up­keep.

Ac­ces­si­bil­ity to Val­letta’s hidden gems such as monas­ter­ies, gar­dens, court­yards which will start be­ing opened to the pub­lic more fre­quently.

A 5km walk­way and cy­cle­way by the sea round Val­letta in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Grand Har­bour Re­gen­er­a­tion Cor­po­ra­tion (GHRP). This with be part of a wider project in­volv­ing a sim­i­lar path­way from Bugibba all the way down to Kalkara.

Smart plan­ning one’s trip to Val­letta with a new app called VATIS (Val­letta Ac­ces­si­bil­ity Trans­port In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem). This app will pro­vide live data of the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion on Val­letta’s ring road and at Val­letta’s ac­cess points so that peo­ple driv­ing to Val­letta will know which ar­eas are more con­gested and avoid them thus avoid­ing fur­ther con­ges­tion. This will be linked to a park­ing sen­sor sys­tem that re­duces cruis­ing in­side Val­letta lead­ing to less con­ges­tion, less traf­fic and less pol­lu­tion.

Val­letta ditch will in­clude a new park­ing area that will not in­ter­fere with the cur­rent city gate project. Light­ing and bet­ter ac­ces­si­bil­ity through pedes­trian ways lead­ing up to the city cen­tre will en­sure safer and 24-hour use of this park­ing site.

En­cour­ag­ing less cars into Val­letta through ini­tia­tives that in­cen­tivise car-pool­ing and car­shar­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Greener trans­port op­tions – elec­tric cabs, more use of fer­ries, elec­tric bikes, travel­la­tors, self­driv­ing cars and elec­tric buses in­side the city.

In­tel­li­gent waste man­age­ment sys­tems through use of sen­sors that di­rect col­lec­tors to those waste sites that are most full to avoid over­flow­ing. This re­duces costs of col­lec­tion. Another study is look­ing at Val­letta’s tun­nels which would sup­port 80% of a sys­tem that vaacums waste to a re­cy­cling site out­side Val­letta.

Ur­ban rooftop gar­dens and in­cen­tives to prop­erty own­ers in­side Val­letta to utilise their roofs as roof gar­dens.

City Plus Project – a set of ini­tia­tives that deal with the peo­ple liv­ing in­side Val­letta and that pro­mote so­cial in­clu­sion. More ini­tia­tives that mon­i­tor pol­lu­tion, that com­bat obe­sity and that en­sure more child safety.

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