Petra Caruana Dingli

Petra's blog follows events and news on the rural and urban environment, and on cultural heritage - mostly in Malta

03 Jun

Mixed Views on Maltese Heritage

by Petra Caruana Dingli The temperature is rising at the Planning Authority. This week activists protested against the government policy to allow what appears to be an endless stream of new, large petrol stations in the countryside. This policy was introduced in 2015 and its disastrous consequences are now becoming tangible. The public objected loudly at a planning board meeting, calling...

13 Mar

An incinerator comes to town

Our ancestors in centuries gone by did not throw things away. They used and re-used whatever they could. An unintended consequence of rising living standards since the 1960s is the increased generation of waste. Affluence creates more rubbish than poverty. People buy and consume more products and packaging, and discard much more. Nowadays many items are even specifi­cally intended for single...

08 Oct

Memories of a forgotten village

by Petra Caruana Dingli    ‘Gwardjani tar-rahal’ by Stephen C. Spiteri We can all think of imaginary places which we wish we could visit. Perhaps Tolkien’s Middle Earth, or the world of the Game of Thrones. These are fictional, magical landscapes which resonate in the imagination. Old European tales include forests, mountains and castles, picturesque towns and small, rural villages, just...

03 Sep

Creating order from chaos

by Petra Caruana Dingli One thing which has not let up in the summer heat is resident protests against development. In an unusual twist to the usual story, the Environment Minister himself has protested in the streets. One snag for him is that he will now be expected to support other protests too. I don’t know whether this has happened before. On...

29 Jan

Protecting the skyline

by Petra Caruana Dingli In his thought-provoking ‘Midas Curse’ article on high-rise projects last year, Archbishop Charles Scicluna worried about the skyline with the impact of these “cement monstrosities on the soft rambling contours of our countryside and traditional townscapes”. Soon afterwards, government whip Godfrey Farrugia said the skyline is “a natural heritage domain” belonging to everyone and that no land owner...

29 Jan

Bus terminus revamp

by Petra Caruana Dingli The kiosks at the Valletta bus terminus have been given three weeks to shut down, making way for the upgrade of the area. This project has been in the pipeline for years. When architect Renzo Piano drew up his plans for the City Gate area, the bus terminus and ditch were an integral part of the overall design. Keeping...

15 Jan

The Paceville wish list

by Petra Caruana Dingli The call for a master plan for tall buildings in the Paceville area may have been well-intentioned but it has backfired. Essentially, this plan has gathered nine large proposals from property developers and laid them out in 3-D format. The outcome is that these mega-construction projects will now be pre-endorsed before they even reach the planning board...

16 Nov

A metro for Malta & the Gozo tunnel

by Petra Caruana Dingli The idea of building a tunnel to Gozo is still doing the rounds. My personal view is that a road tunnel, enabling cars to drive directly to the supposed ‘eco-island’ of Gozo, is not a good idea. A professional study carried out last year calculated an increase of 1,500 cars per day in Gozo if a permanent...

09 Aug

The Singapore Solution

by Petra Caruana Dingli Last week I was caught in traffic on my way to an evening event in Valletta. There were road closures for the Msida festa. Every morning, cars are stuck in roads around San Ġwann. At Paola, delays have worsened again. So, what’s new? Road congestion keeps growing and nobody seems able to tackle it. The Transport Minister is...