Architects Say Barriers Outside Parliament Only Widen the Gap Between Politicians and People (MaltaToday)
In a statement on Wednesday, the chamber said that while it appreciated the need to ensure the security and safety of all citizens, it was “disturbed” by the “grossly impeded use of public spaces and the whole disproportionate” occupation of freedom square.
“Renzo Piano’s Parliament Building and the surrounding urban space were designed to promote transparency of the democratic processes. The multiple layers of barriers that are being erected around this building emphasise the gap between the elected and the electorate: a gap which the architectural and urban design sought to eradicate,” the chamber said.
The Chamber of Architects stressed that the Barcelona Declaration on Public Spaces for Habitat III established in 2016, which Malta is a signatory of, stated that people’s right to “stake a claim on the city” implied the need to “respect and protect a number of rights and freedoms, such as the right to freedom of expression and assembly, the right to information, consultation and participation in decision-making processes.”
The chamber said that politics and public spaces have an intimate relationship, “both deal with public life, the relationships we have with others, how we live and interact with each other. Public spaces are the stage of public life; they are the places where we congregate to celebrate, to protest, to meet, to trade, to seek inspiration and tranquillity. We must ensure that our public spaces sustain our quality of life and our culture and that they express what our society considers to be important.”
It stressed that the protests taking place in freedom squared expressed the public sentiment and should no the, “unduly restricted.”