72 Hour Urban Action is an international design-and-build collective born in 2010 at the Bat-Yam Biennale of Landscape Urbanism. 72HUA has been working in Malta with the Valletta 2018 Foundation since 2016 forming a prominent part of the Design4DCity program in the form of public urban regeneration workshops attended by local and international reative, as well as passers-by and anyone willing to give a hand for the improvement of the locality. The 72HUA workshop took place earlier in Valletta (2016) and later in Birżebbuġa (2017, 2018)
The concept behind the workshop is very simple: to perform meaningful and impactful urban regeneration activities in the timespan of 72 hours to improve accessibility and usability of the site, and strengthen the synergies between different communities and members of the same community. The workshop is preceded by in-depth research to identify problems and possibilities which underlie the locality in order to work and address them as a starting point for the works. Nobody knows in advance what will be built, not even the participants or the organizers. Everything will be decided on the spot and on location. Locals and passers-by are encouraged to take part in the conversation, to lend a helping hand and are very welcome to celebrate the final creation during the final public ceremony and talk.
The final results of the 2018 workshop were three urban interventions, coming together at the same site to facilitate the exchanges between the different users of Misraħ il-Qalb Imqaddsa and improve their daily experience on site. The three installations consist of:
- Moveable benches, to facilitate the interaction between the residents and the Għaqda Sajjieda Dilettanti Birżebbuġa members who use the adjacent area;
- A mobile workshop for the same association, in order for them to enhance their activities and the collaboration between members;
- A cozy seating area, which will serve as a point of rest and relax for the various communities living and using the area and adjacent neighborhoods.
A fourth intangible and invaluable result is the outcome of the learning process the participants and the community members went through, resulting in skill building and personal and professional growth, which was the added value to this initiative, having benefits on both the practitioners and the resident communities.
The project forms part of Design4DCity, a multi-year program aiming at improving the residents’ quality of life through micro-interventions in the Maltese urban landscape.