This year, We are here Venice continued to focus on climate change mitigation and ecosystem regeneration, in particular, through its saltmarsh restoration activities in the central lagoon and revitalisation of urban green space.
There have been so many developments during 2023 that we never found a moment to sit still for long enough to share our news. Before 2024 takes off, we decided to provide our project partners, supporters and associates at least a brief overview of what we’re working on along with warmest wishes for peaceful holidays and a peaceful world.
Venice is the Lagoon
As lead Italian partner for WaterLANDS, an ambitious Horizon 2020 project that aims to demonstrate best practice in wetland restoration, we have recently completed the ecological baseline survey to record a picture of the ecological state of the “Action Site” prior to the installation of biodegradable morphological structures, designed to support the auto-regeneration of the salt marsh habitat with all its physical and ecological functions. This baseline characterisation provides a more complete picture of the condition of the flora, in order to assess the impact of our approach in the seasons and years to come. The installation of the first structures to encourage sediment trapping and saltmarsh consolidation has also been completed, coupled with a system for monitoring changes.
In addition to these activities, entomologist Giovanni Timossi and ornithologist Alessandro Sartori are providing essential information in the broader context of the restoration work. This is allowing us to better understand the differences between natural salt marshes and reconstructed areas.
As part of the WaterLANDS project, from January to June 2023 we developed ‘Giants of the Lagoon’ a participatory experience that invites young people to explore the lagoon environment emphasizing the value of each single element in relation to all the others in a holistic vision.
The first outcomes of the pilot project were exhibited in May and again in September, when Claudio Beorchia, artist-in-residence, also presented the prototype of the educational game he is creating about the benefits of salt marsh restoration.
‘Giants of the Lagoon’ is continuing over the coming years, involving 13 classes from 3 different schools and offering multiple lessons and excursions aimed at observing the lagoon during all seasons.
In order to contribute to the development of a culture of greater participation in making choices on a territorial scale, WahV continues its work of investigating the relations of the local community and institutional stakeholders and how they interact with the lagoon.
Languages of Value
As part of the Green Spaces project, with the support of Patagonia 1% for the Planet programme, and together with a group of volunteers and residents, revitalisation of the abandoned flowerbeds in front of the former Sant’Anna Church has finally begun. After an initial season dedicated to experimenting with new approaches to ‘active citizenship’, promoting home composting with earthworms, and testing the feasibility of creating a garden on apparently inactive soil, a set of plants from the Canadian pavilion of the Architecture Biennale 2023 has just been adopted and transplanted.
The ‘Solo Transtori‘ project continues on the theme of housing in Venice and the importance of supporting different efforts to ensure the city remains alive. In particular, in collaboration with OCIO (Osservatorio civico sulla casa e la residenza), we have used a public poster campaign to highlight eight examples of public housing projects that were promised and never realised -instead turned into commercial activities or simply abandoned.
Exchange of Knowledge
Engagement with visiting students and scholars is a constant. In particular we wish to highlight the results of the collaboration with the Department of Linguistic and Literary Studies (DISLL) of Padua University now available in the volume “Ecologies of the Imaginary. Venice, the Environment and Fantasy Literature’. The creative writing workshop on ‘Venice, the lagoon and the fantastic’ included meetings with experts and an excursion to the Island of Sant’Erasmo.
Updates on Vital, the initiative to address the maintenance and enhancement of the natural capital of the Venetian Lagoon,are published every month in its online journal.
This month features an interview about our collaboration with photographer Matteo de Mayda – go to the article.
Call for new members
Joining We are here Venice is quick and easy and your support is vital for our mission to safeguard Venice as a living city – for Venetians and for the world.
Members are invited to actively participate in our AGM with thoughts and ideas about the different issues and areas WahV should address.
We rely on donations to fund our work advocating the safeguarding of Venice and evidence-based approaches to policy making.