Venice is a less obvious place than it seems. However, its multiple identities, including the one of creative city, tend to be obscured by the powerful image – almost a caricature – it has acquired during the last century. Venice is one of the most famous cities in the world, celebrated as a shrine of human creativity. Its unique monumental and cultural heritage has entitled it to be listed, in its entirety along with its lagoon, as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The image of the city that is most well known is the one of a fragile urban environment built on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. However, the city of Venice is more than an agglomeration of islands. Looking at the number of people residing in the municipality of Venice in 2012 (269.743 people) only 1/5 of the population (58.682 people) lives in the historic city built on water, while around 3/5 of residents (176.000 people) lives in the mainland, mostly in the large urban districts of Mestre and Marghera. From this point of view, the actual Venice only partially corresponds to the romantic image of the decadent city that made its fortunes worldwide. It is rather configured as a “bipolar city". On one side the ancient urban core, site of political and cultural power, where regional and local administrative offices, universities, international cultural institutes, and visitors' attractions are located. On the other side of the long bridge connecting it to the mainland there is the modern city – Mestre and Marghera – that, after Second World War, grew into a very dense urban agglomeration made up of industrial (Marghera) and residential (Mestre) areas. This spatial divide is also visible in the economy of the city of Venice that ranges from mass cultural tourism to petrochemical industries and glass handcrafting, as much as in the composition of the population. Venice is a shrinking city; it sees a constant decrease in number of residents paralleled by an increasing number of city users (communities of tourists, commuters, students, etc. that make up around 25-30.000 presences per day) in the historical city centre and large immigrants communities settled in Mestre and Marghera. In the last decades of the XX century the gap between the monumental, historical Venice and the mainland seems to increasingly be reduced by the current switch of Mestre and Marghera from an extensive production model to a development model of service-based economy. On the other side the historical city of Venice seems to have reached that time in which its economic, social and environmental sustainability is jeopardized by the disneyfication that exploits the city leaving little out for traditional and original productions and markets. Calls multiply both nationally and internationally for Venice to rethink its identity and struck a new balance between the historic city centre and the post-industrial mainland. One of the specificities of the city is precisely this: it attracts attention from all over the world and a variety of institution try to intervene more or less explicitly on its governance. Debates and public projects on the “safeguard” of Venice can be traced back to November 1966, when an exceptional high tide submerged the city causing the worst flood known in its history. The natural disaster was followed by intense debates in the national and international media, within the scientific community, supranational organisations like the UNESCO, civil society organisations and the national parliament. Since 1973, when Venice was declared a matter of “prior national interest”, the “safeguard” of the city has been under the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works, whereas the urban and architectural maintenance of the city have remained largely under the responsibility of the Municipality of Venice. In 1984, a new “special law” for Venice specified that the national government was also entitled to intervene on Venice via a consortium of private engineering and construction companies. To counterbalance the large powers attributed to the Consortium, a special “Committee for Policy Coordination and Control” was created to ensure high-level political supervision on all matters concerning Venice. It is in this complex web of political, economic and cultural interests that the Venice tries to re-invent its future also by looking at creativity as a way of combining different issues: 1. Combining the cultural demands of the few city dwellers and of the masses of tourists; 2. Maintaining an international outlook as a global city while preserving local traditions and symbols; 3. Creating new connections between the diverse economies existing in the city to sustain each other’s in a virtuous economic cycle. Whether the conceptualisation of contemporary Venice as creative city can provide an answer the above is still be seen. What is indeed an obligatory passage point is the consideration of Venice as a city that built much of its economic power and cultural supremacy on various expressions of creativity across centuries.
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Titolo:||History, dilemmas and hopes of Venice as a creative city|
|Titolo del libro:||Creative cities in practice. European and Asian perspectives|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||3.1 Articolo su libro|