The idea of Timed Cities is an emerging concept that is gaining traction fast. Following the concept, cities are planned so essential amenities are 15 to 30 minutes away by foot. The layout of a city is designed for social interactions and community living, rather than cars. In this way, Timed Cities promote community and sustainability, as well as both physical and mental wellbeing.
Malta's geographical layout makes the island a stellar candidate for this type of planning. Dr Thérèse Bajada (Lecturer with the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development), Dr Wendy Jo Mifsud (Lecturer of Spatial Planning & Infrastructure, Faculty for the Built Environment, UM) and Perit Sarah Scheiber (Assistant Lecturer of Spatial Planning & Infrastructure, Faculty for the Built Environment, UM) explained to THINK Magazine how Timed Cities work and how they can be an example to follow in the Maltese Islands.
Currently, there is a Local Councils' Association initiative trying to bring the concept to Malta’s streets. Slow Streets, supported by the Ministry for National Heritage, Arts and Local Government; the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects; and Transport Malta, is engaging local councils in an attempt to remove cars from city centers. And it seems to be succeeding.
Another model that can be considered for Malta's concrete context is the Superblock model, applied in big cities like Barcelona. Small blocks are grouped together to make tight-knit communities. Inside, car access is limited, giving way to green spaces and social engagement. Traffic is redirected to the outer streets that surround the superblock.
The ways in which Timed Cities can be applied to Malta need to be researched, and the concept requires community awareness to gain momentum. At its heart, it is a flexible principle that puts community first and promotes a different way of living.
The full version of the article can be read in THINK Issue 36 or accessed online. This edition focuses on Destruction and tackles topics ranging from death to war to environmental devastation.