Urban open and green spaces: is Malta planning and designing them to increase resilience?

Keywords: Urban open and green space systems, Urban sustainability, Climate change, Urban resilience, Urban design


2030 has been set as the target for achieving most of the sustainable development goals and in this path urban open and green spaces have been identified as drivers and accelerators for increasing resilience and adapting cities to climate change. The pandemic has acted as a further catalyst for the reorganization and re-assessment of the role of open spaces. This work focuses on the system of urban open and green spaces whose planning and design, through a systemic approach, can address current and future urban challenges such as climate change. The main aim is to provide local decision-makers with urban open and green spaces planning and design principles based on a mixed-method approach adopting Malta as a case-study. Findings suggest that EU and international strategies advocate open and green spaces as an indisputable requirement for increasing resilience, energy sustainability and adaptive capacity of urban systems. However, in comparison, there is still scope for improvement when considering Malta’s planning framework. While there is a growing sentiment for the appreciation and need of green open spaces from the users, important characteristics are still lacking within the planning processes.


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Author Biographies

Sarah Scheiber, Faculty for the Built Environment, University of Malta

Sarah is specialised in urban design and spatial planning and is a lecturer within the Faculty for the Built Environment. Her research focuses on the planning and design of urban open spaces and sustainable mobility in relation to green infrastructure; inclusivity; integrated planning and design; and sustainable and resilient cities. Her PhD in particular, looked into the adoption of an ‘Urban Green Infrastructure Planning Approach’ in the Maltese context. Prior to entering academia, Sarah spent several years working as an urban designer in both private and public spheres in The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Malta. Sarah is passionate about improving the quality of the urban environment and is co-founder of 'Dawra Madwarna: Connecting People, Connecting Places', a platform set up to create a network of interdisciplinary professionals working to contribute to the transformation of public spaces within Malta’s urban areas for a more sustainable future.

Floriana Zucaro, University of Naples, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

She is an engineer, Ph.D. in Hydraulic, Transport and Territorial Systems Engineering at the Department of Civil, Building and Environmental Engineering (DICEA) – University of Naples Federico II. She received a M.Sc. in Environmental and Territorial Engineering at the University of Naples Federico II with a specialization in management of urban and territorial transformations. Since 2021 she is an assistant professor at DICEA and she has currently been involved in three main research projects: she is a component of the research team of the ERASMUS + Key Action2: Project “Development of a Master Program in the Management of Industrial Entrepreneurship for Transition Countries” (MIETC); she is a component of the research team of the Centro Nazionale per la mobilità sostenibile – Spoke 8 – MaaS & Innovative services (CUP E63C22000930007) within the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan supported by funding from the Next Generation EU programme; she is head of the TeMALab research team, with Gerardo Carpentieri, of the project STEP UP – Walkability for Women in Milan financed by Fondazione Cariplo.  Her research interests are in the field of land use planning and energy saving integration in urban policies and sustainable mobility.


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How to Cite
ScheiberS., & ZucaroF. (2023). Urban open and green spaces: is Malta planning and designing them to increase resilience?. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 16(2), 331-352. https://doi.org/10.6093/1970-9870/9951