Green roofs, walls and redesigning streets to improve air quality and well-being

The City

Gzira is a small city in the central region of Malta with a population of around 13,000 inhabitants. The city covers approximately 0.6km2, within basin-type terrain that is partially at sea level. Malta itself is an island state subdivided into 68 localities each administered by a local council. Besides the open waterfront, Gzira's green and open spaces are mainly composed of recreational fields, urban green areas like Luna Park. The lack of sustainable urban master planning and integration of green has led to a densely built environment including all buildings and narrow streets that also houses substantial air pollution and Urban Heat Island effects.

Regulating dense urban microclimate through green constructions and design elements, ensuring a healthy, safe, comfortable streetscape through citizen-based monitoring.

Focus in JUSTNature

Exploration and Activation Site

The CiPeL’s main focus is the major traffic road 1) the Strand and 2) Sliema road (both blue), which connects to another major feeder, Rue D’Argens. Both are located in a neighborhood characterized by an ultradense environment. The Strand is a major residential and commercial area and a center for shopping, bars, and dining. It is characterized by numerous rocky beaches, water sports, and hotels. The neighborhood is subjected to intense real-estate development that has resulted in significant traffic, parking, air pollution, and construction-related noise pollution issues.


  • Development of green roofs & walls in densely built-up areas with very limited open space, as aerodynamic barriers to effectively block pollutants from transferring to pedestrian zones and reduce exposure by 10%
  • Development of green roofs & walls for the mitigation of UHI, especially regarding their use as natural insulators to reduce the use of HVAC needs of poorly insulated buildings, hence to reduce the waste heat rejected and as such the heating up of the atmospheric boundary layer.
  • Use of vegetation such as heat-resistant preserved moss as a carbon capture mechanism to directly reduce GHG emissions.
  • Proposals on the redesign of narrow streets to turn double carriageways into single ones, introducing cycle lanes, and using NbS to increase awareness and to promote active mobility rather than individual car use.
  • Learning-based innovation space: a place to share knowledge within local & regional context, to address burning questions, co-create, test, and evaluate NbS.

Key Stakeholders

  • Citizens
  • Local businesses
  • Schools and University
  • Civil society (NGOs)
  • Industry
  • Public administration
  • Media