- Director of Research
- Coordinator, MS in Urban Planning for Transition
The city of Venice is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly in relation to sea-level rise and flooding. As the sea levels continue to rise due to melting glaciers and thermal expansion, the city is becoming more prone to flooding and experiencing high tides.
Venice is built on a series of islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges. The city's historic buildings, infrastructure, and cultural heritage are all at risk due to climate change impacts. The city is already experiencing more frequent and severe flooding events, with the most recent major flood occurring in November 2019, which resulted in significant damage to the city.
To address this issue, Venice has implemented a range of measures to protect the city, including building a series of mobile barriers called MOSE, which can be raised to protect the city during high tide events. Additionally, the city is also investing in sustainable urban development and adaptation strategies, such as the promotion of green infrastructure, and the restoration and preservation of historic buildings.
However, despite these efforts, the long-term viability of Venice as a city remains uncertain due to the ongoing impacts of climate change
Climate change has become a common denominator across many countries and efforts to sustain and prevent further damage from occurring has been in order. As part of the Smart and Healthy Cities Studio, the city of Venice is under review regarding climate change threats and how the built environment can help reduce its negative effects.
As a city of islands, Venice experiences frequent flooding, which poses a threat to its residents and visitors, as well as its infrastructure. Additionally, Venice is impacted by its historical and non-typical city-wide circulation network. During peak season, there is a near-constant strain on the city due to its collection of narrow alleyways, streets, and bridges. The designs generated by students in the Smart and Healthy Cities Studio will work to alleviate these stresses on the city and allow for landmark areas to function better for visitors and residents. Through urban innovations and sustainable planning, the studio projects address the changing demographics in Venice.
The population of Venice has been declining over the past few decades due to several factors, including:
- High cost of living: Venice is known for its high cost of living, particularly in terms of housing. This makes it difficult for many people, particularly young families, to afford to live in the city.
- Lack of economic opportunities: Venice is a relatively small city with limited economic opportunities, particularly compared to larger cities in Italy or Europe. This can make it challenging for young people to find jobs or build careers in the city.
- Aging population: Venice has an aging population, with a large proportion of residents over the age of 65. This has led to a decline in the birth rate and an overall decrease in population.
- Tourism: While tourism is a significant source of income for the city, it can also have negative impacts on the local population. The influx of tourists can drive up prices and make it difficult for residents to access basic services such as healthcare and education. Additionally, the city's infrastructure and services are often geared towards tourists rather than residents.
Overall, the combination of these factors has contributed to a decline in the population of Venice. While efforts are being made to address some of these challenges, such as promoting sustainable tourism and investing in economic development, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be enough to reverse the trend of population decline.
For more info on Venice please see information from the Venice Municipality, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the European Commission.