Where continuity has been broken

Until the 1980s, what is now Is-Simar wildlife sanctuary in Malta was a marshy area used as a dump. Back in 1995, BirdLife Malta took it under their wing (ahem!) and transformed this wasteland into a beautifully yet naturally sculpted wetland area where urban folk can come and enjoy the birds. It’s just a tad surreal. Within minutes of walking through the main gates, we were enveloped in greenery, completely hidden from the outside world.  Strolling along the pathway that encircles the sanctuary, our view of reality was shielded by bamboo fences  as birds and traffic vied for airtime.

Is-Simar wildlife sanctuary Malta

Is-Simar wildlife sanctuary Malta

Walking beneath the man-made arbors, the sounds of traffic filtered through the trees reminding us that we were in fact in an urban area, and not, as we might have thought, in the heart of the countryside. It took a little getting used to. Looking out through the narrow slits of windows in the hide, we watched the birds cavorting, oblivious to the fact that where they now lived was once a dump or that just yards from the edge of their world, life was moving at a different pace. Is-Simar wildlife sanctuary in Malta is an example … would all such areas be reclaimed.

Across the Atlantic, in the Portland/ Vancouver area of Washington State, the Urban Greenspaces Insitute has as its motto: In livable cites is preservation of the wild. I am reminded of Budapest last year when local councils wanted to lob down trees to make room for more parking spaces. There’s something not quite right with that picture.

Instead of laying down an arbitrary design for a region, it might be in order to find a plan that nature has already laid down…a regional design of streams and valleys that provide superb natural connectors, into the very heart of the urban area. Where continuity has been broken, the pieces should be reclaimed wherever it is at all possible. ~ William H. Whyte, The Last Landscape, 1968


Never miss a post

Sign up here to get an email whenever I post something new.

More Posts

Zalaszabar, Hungary, again

First-time visitors are easy. For them, everything is new. Repeat visitors are a tad more problematic. Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to see different

Szent György hegy, Hungary

The name Szent György hegy loses its magic in translation. The mundane St George’s hill doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the basalt homeland

Truth from the Cockpit

I miss travelling. I miss planes. And airports. And even RyanAir’s annoying we’re-ahead-of-schedule-but-only-because-we-buffered-the-timetable bugle call. Worse still, it’s taking me longer and longer to conjure

Dining with Pigeons in Southwestern Hungary

Unlike in Irish, the names of Hungarian villages and towns and cities don’t always translate into English. On the odd occasion that they do, they

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: