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Valletta Cultural Agency Endorses Urban Gardening Project: ‘We Want Capital To Be A Green City By 2030’

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The Valletta Cultural Agency has endorsed an urban gardening project which aims to turn the capital into a “garden city” in the coming years.

Lovin Malta reached out to the VCA after organic store Barbuto, in collaboration with the Piscopo Gardens and the Ministries for Culture and Sustainable Development started work on a project to place plants all over Valletta.

The urban greening project started off in Old Theatre Street, with Barbuto’s Jean Paul Mifsud describing the initial public reaction as “fantastic”.

“The Valletta Cultural Agency has over the past years, amongst other things, carried out green and environmental projects, be they infrastructural or as part of the cultural calendar, namely the Valletta Green Festival, creating environmental awareness and collaborating with Malta’s main environmental agencies and authorities besides committing 25% every year to landscaping or embellishment of different areas in Valletta,” a VCA spokesperson said.

“As a matter of fact, last year, the Valletta Cultural Agency took the initiative and created beautiful landscaping including planters with perennial flowers and indigenous trees in Freedom Square, in front of Parliament. These initiatives are ongoing.”

The VCA recounted how its work on the Valletta Design Cluster, “a state of the art alternative energy infrastructural project” at the renovated Old Abattoir in lower Valletta, which includes the first public roof garden in Malta.

“The Valletta Design Cluster also makes use of solar energy, generated from a glass canopy installed atop the Cluster’s central courtyard that has in-built photovoltaic (PV) cells, thus reducing the Cluster’s dependence on fossil fuel energy,” it noted.

“The VCA welcomes green initiatives in Valletta, be they coming from the public or the private sector or individuals, as with the above case. This is a result of the green initiatives and dialogue that the VCA has been issuing and encouraging for Valletta with the hope that by 2030, Valletta will be the first green city in Malta.”

Ahead of the most recent Budget, the Valletta Cultural Agency proposed a range of measures to reach this goal.

The community garden at the Valletta Design Cluster

The community garden at the Valletta Design Cluster

It urged the government to immediately incentivise and encourage Valletta communities, businesses and government buildings to switch to solar energy.

By 2025, roof gardens should be added to historical buildings, such as Parliament and Spazju Kreattiv, Parliament and Auberges which house ministries in a similar mould to the Valletta Design Cluster. By 2030, new hospitality and entertainment permits should only be granted to those which are 100% eco-friendly.

In a particularly ambitious proposal, the VCA said that by 2023, all vehicles which provide services in Valletta, including waste collection, must be electrically-powered and sized in a way that respects the city’s narrow streets and environment.

That same year, delivery trucks and other services coming to Valletta must be provided on specific days and times of the week according to a schedule in agreement with the concerned owners.

By 2023, the transportation of people using the Park and Ride in Blata l-Bajda should be operated by 100% battery run vehicles.

By 2030, only electric vehicles should be allowed into Valletta.

The VCA also suggested the pedestrianisation of parts of St Christopher Street and Archbishop Street from the current Valletta Police Station up to the Archbishop’s Palace to Independence Square, including the Square itself in front of St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral.

The VCA said the Valletta police station should be shifted to the derelict arcade opposite Parliament

The VCA said the Valletta police station should be shifted to the derelict arcade opposite Parliament

Meanwhile, it said the Valletta Police Station should be shifted to the Freedom Square derelict arcade in front of Parliament.

“The Government should regenerate this spacious building, which is government-owned and in need of a facelift in Valletta’s entrance,” it said.

“It is up to the Government to decide the best outcome for this mostly abondoned building for many years. The Valletta Police Station will be much more suited at this place.”

Cover photo: Left and centre: The ongoing ‘Garden City’ project, Right: VCA chairman Jason Micallef 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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