30.05.2012 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Report 4. Impact of Global Change on the Socio-economic Development of Venice

©UNESCO and COSES - Book cover

The urban ecosystem of Venice and its Lagoon is among the most studied urban and environmental systems in the world. Acting as neutral broker and facilitator, UNESCO Venice Office has mobilized expertise in the interdisciplinary fields to identify and discuss the scientific, environmental, cultural and socio-economic challenges faced by the World Heritage Site of Venice and its Lagoon in the context of global change.

This document presents a summary of the results and discussions from the fourth of four thematic workshops that were held to gather the necessary expert inputs needed to evaluate the current situation of Venice and its Lagoon and to contribute to a shared sustainable vision for its future. The workshop on The Impact of Global Change on the Socio-economic Development of Venice was held 4-5 October 2011 at Palazzo Zorzi in Venice, Italy and was organized in partnership with COSES. The results from this workshop will form a basis to identify the challenges and perspective scenarios for the socio-economic development of Venice, requiring strategic decisions to be soon taken in order to avoid the slow deterioration of the city’s cultural heritage and society.

The results of the thematic workshops will be used by UNESCO to facilitate the vision, strategy and management plan for Venice and its Lagoon, and to prepare in collaboration with the local authorities a follow-up report to the one already elaborated by UNESCO in 1969 after the devastating acqua alta of 1966. This new report is intended to help guide sound decision-making and further enable sustainable management of not just the World Heritage Site of Venice and its Lagoon, but of urban coastal and lagoon systems worldwide that are facing challenges stemming from global change phenomena, and in particular those in the South-East European and the Mediterranean regions.

The socio-economic development of Venice and changes in the city’s population, the transportation, industry, trade, services and tourism in the Lagoon, as well as in the surrounding territory, are all densely interlinked. This report provides sound insight as to some of the potential consequences, both positive and negative, in trying to balance the above aspects and serves as a source of guidance for the local decision-making processes necessary for safeguarding Venice and its Lagoon.

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