Viewpoints

18 Mar

Are we ready for high-rise buildings?, by Maria Grazia Cassar

January 2017 In the wake of the approval of the Townsquare and the Mriehel Towers, Din l-Art Helwa launched the Skyscraper Campaign to raise the funds necessary to make appeal cases against these two permits. The first hearings took place in November, and the process will resume in January. The response from the public, was extremely encouraging, and goes to show that...

18 Mar

Skyscrapers at the crossroads

by Maria Grazia Cassar We have heard the phrase that we did not ‘inherit’ our world but are taking care of it for future generations so often that the severity of this claim no longer has any impact on our sensitivity. We live, we use, we thrive and it is all in the moment, without any real consideration of the future. Contrary to...

03 Feb

Our green challenges

by Martin Galea Our environment, both natural and cultural, is under siege. There is a spiralling increase in construction in our outside development zones, demolition of our vernacular historical buildings, and as yet an unnoticed tacit approval of five floors in all our three-floor areas within development zones. We are told that we need high-rise to ensure that we do not create...

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...

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...

18 Jun

More on highrise

by Petra Caruana Dingli Believing that high-rise will take the pressure off the countryside is wishful thinking. Applications for construction in rural areas continue relentlessly, for petrol stations, schools, old people’s homes and more. Small and large permits are continually granted outside the development zone, eating the countryside away, piece by piece. At Żonqor, a chunk of rural land will soon make...

12 Jun

Wied Ghomor

by Joanna Spiteri Staines Hats off to a unanimous decision by the Planning Authority board, chaired by Vince Cassar, in refusing the so called “rehabilitation of a quarry in Wied Għomor” to be used as an old people’s home. It is indeed heartening to see an entire board of people from different bodies and representing different interests coming together to protect the...