The Malta Independent 15 July 2020, Wednesday

Building a more sustainable life

Thursday, 14 November 2019, 10:12 Last update: about 9 months ago

As Malta holds its first ever Sustainability Forum today, Laura Bonnici chats to one of the speakers of this dynamic event – Studjurban founding architect and urban designer DR ANTOINE ZAMMIT – to discover why sustainability should top everyone’s agenda.

Across businesses and households around the world, ‘sustainability’ is the new buzzword - and for good reason. Focusing on how humanity might continue to coexist with the planet’s natural environment and biosphere, sustainability is as much about prolonging our own existence as that of the planet we call home.

Later this week, on 14 November, the first-ever Malta Sustainability Forum, aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainability, while empowering citizens to make conscious decisions towards leading a sustainable life, as ‘Thinking Citizens’. Targeting both consumers and corporations, the day-long event will feature top local and international practitioners to address the three pillars of social, environmental and economic sustainability.


One such speaker sharing his expertise at the Forum will be Dr Antoine Zammit, founding architect and urban designer at design consultancy, Studjurban. “I feel honoured and excited at the prospect of participating at this Forum on numerous levels – with the aim of contributing to the awareness of sustainability in Malta, while being part of a bigger movement that is ready to implement much-needed change,” shares Dr Zammit. “I have always been a firm believer in merging theory and practice, and I set up an office that believes firmly in quality and sustainability, and tries to achieve it in every project that is implemented.”

Using his extensive experience in architecture and civil engineering, policy formulation and research, as well as his knowledge as a senior lecturer at the Department of Spatial Planning and Infrastructure within the Faculty for the Built Environment at the University of Malta, Dr Zammit will speak at the Forum about sustainable property rehabilitation in practice. “I will be sharing information on how to regenerate older properties while making them liveable and relevant to today’s needs,” he explains.

“We are always excited when given the opportunity to inject new life into an older building. One may still adapt the building for a use it was not originally intended for, without killing the spirit of the original fabric. There is merit with rehabilitating older properties and making them sustainable in the process, and the integration of sustainable principles should be a key component of the design process and not an afterthought. It is not simply about sticking photovoltaic panels on the roof; there is an inherent logic with 'reduce – reuse – recycle’ that we should not underestimate.”

Held at the Westin Dragonara Resort from 11am, the day-long conference will guide participants in developing a better understanding of the social, environmental and economic challenges the world currently faces, in the context of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. The Forum will be followed by a special edition of APS Talks in the evening, addressed by sustainability and CSR Strategist Prof Ioannis Ioannou.

“Beyond the science and technical knowledge inherent in the vast term of ‘sustainability’, at the Forum we can help translate this into very simple principles that are achievable for us all, empowering people with the knowledge to be able to make better decisions about their future,” continues Dr Zammit. “In Malta especially, given our limitations with size, resources and density, we must embrace the holistic concept of sustainability at different levels. Sustainability is about so much more than just recycling, yet even at the smallest scale we can all still contribute to making a difference, starting today - right now.”


The Malta Sustainability Forum is co-sponsored by APS Bank, COOL, GASAN MAMO, GO and PWC, and will be held on 14 November at the Westin Dragonara Resort, St Julian’s. The general public is invited to attend, and tickets are available here. The Forum will run from 11am until 4.30pm, with a networking lunch at 1pm. A special edition of the APS Talks series will take place after the Forum. Further details and combination tickets are available on the website.


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