Participatory engagement in urban design process: The case of an urban settlement in Malta
Public participation in urban design matters goes beyond public consultation, a useful tool which is being reduced to endorsement of documents prepared by bureaucrats in national development planning agencies. Effective engagement of the public at an early design stage is useful for having a socio-economic and environmental sustainable urban design. Based on a case study from Malta, this paper provides insight on how residents are the prime movers of an urban planning issue involving the re-development of the site where their residences are located. Through fieldwork surveys and interviews with the residents, data of the site and the surrounding environs was collected. The design team mapped and interpreted the findings. In light of the results derived and taking cognizance of the concerns of the general public and national developmental and environmental planning policies, an urban design proposal was prepared. The resultant layout was a co-designed solution of the team with the residents in full respect not only of existing socio-economic realities of the community but also of the natural environs, the geophysical context of the site. Furthermore, although more compact than the present, the proposed layout is more environmentally sensitive and socio-economically sustainable.
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