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Safeguarding the urban areas

Photo: Mario Galea

Photo: Mario Galea

While an integral aspect of organising urban areas to reduce the need to travel, reduce demand for supporting infrastructure and contain urban sprawl is resolved through high densities, without parallel mechanisms to manage the associated impacts arising from higher densities, in certain instances this may lead to negative impacts at a local level.

Urban areas should provide a safe living environment supported by the provision of adequate social and community facilities together with a thriving and compatible retail community. The liveability of urban areas is dependent on how these factors are comprehensively organised and managed.

Increasing densities have had a number of negative effects manifested to different degrees in certain localities with impacts on the quality of streetscapes and public open spaces, social and community facilities, increased traffic flows and on residential amenity and the general upkeep of the environment.

The thematic issues and the Maltese spatial structure identified four thematic objectives that cover the urban area:

Objective 13: To accommodate socio-economic development in those parts of the urban area well served by public transport and existing infrastructure, to contain urban sprawl and minimise the need to travel.

Objective 14: To improve the townscape and environment in historic cores by controlling form, scale, density and type of development within historic cores and their setting and facilitating appropriate housing types for the historic cores.

Objective 15: To identify, protect and enhance the character and amenity of distinct urban areas.

Objective 16: To ensure that all new developments are energy efficient and provide a sense of place, respond to the local character, improve amenity and the pleasantness of place and ensure safety.

Mepa is currently carrying out a public consultation exercise on government’s Strategic Objectives for the preparation of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED). How social aspects, economic growth and environmental standards are addressed by this plan will affect your quality of life. This is an opportunity to influence the decision-making process to shape the way development will take place – you can give a voice to your opinion.

The document can be accessed online from: www.mepa.org.mt/public-consultation.

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