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Building Malta with the help of research

The built environment includes more than just buildings as the University of Malta’s research magazine Think finds out, with a master plan project which aims to find cutting-edge solutions to Maltese traffic and water problems.

16 December 2015, 7:47am
Think, the University of Malta’s research magazine, may be picked up for free in newsagents around Malta and Gozo and in Agenda bookstores, it is now available online at http://www.um.edu.mt/think
Think, the University of Malta’s research magazine, may be picked up for free in newsagents around Malta and Gozo and in Agenda bookstores, it is now available online at http://www.um.edu.mt/think
One third of the Maltese Islands are covered in buildings, with little consideration for green space and urban design. The Faculty for the Built Environment is celebrating 100 years since it was founded, and recent graduates are now faced with the challenge of fixing previous mistakes.

Researchers at the Faculty are designing dementia-friendly and earthquake-resistant buildings. They are creating numerical simulations of contemporary Maltese buildings to see how they would fare in earthquakes. Dr Daniel Micallef who specialises in Computational Fluid Dynamics and wind engineering is building models which can lead to safer, more comfortable and energy-efficient urban environments.

The built environment includes more than just buildings. The University of Malta has a Master Plan project which aims to find cutting-edge solutions to Maltese traffic and water problems. Once tested at University the solutions could be implemented nationwide. However, the biggest challenge is to improve public transport and change people’s behaviour towards more carpooling.

Apart from the tragic traffic situation, Dr David Vella writes about how tragedy in literature can be a form of therapy. Literature can help readers see the world in a more enlightened perspective to learn to deal with their natural instincts when threatened in the real world.

Think tells Prof. Rena Balzan’s story, which combines a scientific and literary life. Prof. Balzan was one of the first women in Malta to carve out a scientific research career, whilst penning numerous poems and novels. Together with her team, she hopes that her research in aspirin in yeast will help prevent cancer in humans.

Designing a game does not sound like an obvious way to lose weight, but a pilot study at the Institute of the Digital Games showed that a group of students working on food-attitude related games collectively lost weight while the group designing other games gained weight.

Think also offers a wide selection of other stories. The Malta BioBank opens its frozen doors, students write about nicotine, brain disease, future transport and facial recognition, while the review section could be perfect for some unusual last-minute Christmas presents.

Think, the University of Malta’s research magazine, may be picked up for free in newsagents around Malta and Gozo and in Agenda bookstores, it is now available online at http://www.um.edu.mt/think, available on Issuu http://www.issuu.com/thinkuni, followed on Twitter @ThinkUoM http://twitter.com/THINKUoM or liked on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ThinkUoM.

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