13.06.2011 - UNESCO Venice Office

Culture and development in Venice: from restoration to revitalization?

©Aqualta 2060, JDS Architects -Venice

The UNESCO Venice Office is organizing on 20 and 21 June 2011, with the participation and support of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, an international workshop on Culture and development. This event is part of the process of reflection and consultation started in 2010 to assist the Venetian authorities in developing, through a multi-stakeholders participatory approach, a shared vision for the protection of Venice and its Lagoon, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987.

Four preparatory thematic workshops have been foreseen, focusing on seal level rise scenarios, climate change and coastal area ecosystems, culture and development, socio-economic challenges, with a view to the organization in Venice of an international conference on 13-15 November 2011 on “The future of Venice and its Lagoon in the context of Global Change”. Reports and conclusions from the workshops will be presented officially during the international conference in November. The workshop on Culture and development, organized with international experts from different backgrounds, will discuss four main topics:

- Restoring Venice: how to better impact economic, social and human development?

- What is quality tourism in Venice? Promoting cultural assets and resources in a historic city; a living heritage?

- Sustaining the dynamics of intangible cultural heritage

- The making of a Creative City? Prospects and challenges for Venice

While addressing transversal global issues (tourism, governance, creativity, restoration, revitalization), the workshop will shed some light on the possible future(s) of the City of Venice, in particular concerning the restoration of Venice, the enhancement of sustainable and quality tourism, the revitalization of a living heritage, and the building a dynamic and innovative cultural sector.

Thus, important urban rehabilitation projects offer today a new opportunity to question the main social and cultural purposes of historical preservation in a historic city like Venice. Meanwhile, the growing concern with regards to the ever declining resident population and the current trends of mass tourism, poses an unprecedented range of questions for the enhancement of sustainable cultural practices and the possible emergence of a “creative city”. Despite a very fragile human and social fabric, can Venice gain and maintain a competitive edge in the global cultural arena?


World Heritage List - Venice and its Lagoon 


Jan Van der Borg at vdborg(at)unive.it

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