Dr Antoine Zammit delivered a public lecture entitled ‘Alive and Liveable: Adaptive Reuse in Valletta’ to a packed audience at the Aula Magna, as part of the Valletta Heritage Public Lecture series organised by Frank Salt Real Estate.
A city is more than a physical, spatial entity. There are numerous ways to keep a city alive and relevant to its citizens and visitors. One influential way is through adaptive reuse strategies, for which Valletta provides an interesting example and test base, not least due to the recent attempts at injecting new life into the City. But does this necessarily make the city liveable? What are the unseen perils, such as ‘museumification’ and ‘gentrification’? Can redevelopments become new ‘urban catalysts’ within the City and what is the role of the urban spaces that surround them? Finally, and even more significantly, in rethinking the “city built by gentlemen for gentlemen” are we forgetting the crucial contribution of human capital to the city’s existence?
This lecture will reflected on these thoughts and sought to identify the manner in which Valletta’s urban fabric may be envisaged in order for it to be a living example of true urban regeneration. The role of good urban design strategies and the need for a holistic vision at both macro and micro scales were discussed therein. Through the use of some pertinent examples, the need to think about the longer-term implications of new strategies or interventions, particularly in view of the new cultural infrastructure brought about by Valletta’s role as European Capital of Culture in 2018, were illustrated.