In an increasingly urbanising world, governments and international corporations strive to increase productivity of cities, recognized as economy growth hubs, as well as ensuring better quality of life and living conditions to citizens. Although significant effort is performed by international organisations, researchers, etc. to transform the challenges of Cities in to opportunities, the visions of our urban future are trending towards bleak. Social services and health facilities are significantly affected in negative ways owed to the increase in urban populations (70% by 2050). Air pollution and urban exacerbation of heat islands is exacerbating. Nature will struggle to compensate in the future City, as rural land is predicted to shrink by 30% affecting liveability. VARCITIES puts the citizen and the “human community” in the eye of the future cities’ vision.
Future cities should evolve to be human centred cities. The vision of VARCITIES is to implement real, visionary ideas and add value by establishing sustainable models for increasing H&WB of citizens (children, young people, middle age, elderly) that are exposed to diverse climatic conditions and challenges around Europe (e.g. from harsh winters in Skelleftea-SE to hot summers in Chania-GR, from deprived areas in Novo mesto-SI to increased pollution in Malta) through shared public spaces that make cities liveable and welcoming.
Operating under the PH-1 Operational Framework, the local implementation of VARCITIES will focus to reduce the high pollution levels of busy Rue D’Argens, (Triq D’Argens) Gzira. A cohort of experts from four University of Malta faculties together with tech company Dartekk Ltd., several NGOs and the Gżira Local Council to work with citizens to improve their quality of life.
The researchers will measure traffic flow, air quality and noise pollution, also taking into account environmental factors such as wind and temperature along the street.
VARCITIES will also focus on addressing the citizens themselves.