Main Planning Challenges within Urban Conservation Areas
Malta is a small country with an extensive history spanning over 7,000 years of human habitation. This has resulted in an eclectic melange of architectural styles from the rather plain local vernacular through the ornate baroque to the modernist breakaway from tradition and concluding in the contemporary. Covering a total area of 316 square kilometres and with a population of over 420,000 people, the pressures for development are substantial.
The Maltese Islands are comprised of 68 localities, 59 or which have a historic urban core. The main challenges in these areas centre on allowing modifications within these historic areas such that current needs are catered for without disruption of the inherent charm, attraction and values. One of the main challenges is how to ensure rehabilitation and re-use of properties where at times current necessities such as cars, use of modern materials and intensive alterations which alter the character of buildings cannot be catered for. The introduction of renewable energy sources is also causing a substantial negative visual impact on these historic cores, a solution for which is not readily available. While some urban cores are actively used and face development pressures, other cores are in decline since people are moving out for reasons not related to spatial planning.