The 2020 pandemic lockdown revealed, among other things, a lack of quality green space in Venice. Collaboration in 2021 with the “Multispecies Urbanism” project at The Netherlands pavilion (Venice Architecture Biennale) prompted WahV to address the state and distribution of green spaces in Venice and research how community-focused activities strengthen connections between different life forms, improve overall wellbeing, support biodiversity and create better public space.
Building on WahV’s mission, dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of Venice as a living city, the ‘Green Spaces’ project aims to explore how the regeneration of urban green spaces can rehabilitate active citizenship in the city of Venice while enhancing the benefits of a healthy urban environment through nature-based solutions.
The project is driven by the following key goals:
-Raise awareness and promote active citizenship on the most neglected green areas
-Regenerate urban (public) soil and vegetation
-Promote a platform for a more sustainable Venetian lifestyle through the correct use of accessible green spaces in order to improve the quality of city life
-Share and co-design green spaces related activities with local communities and institutions in order to optimise and enhance local knowledge.
In order to explore theoretically and practically these questions, in line with the Venice City Council’s ‘Adopt a flowerbed’ (Adotta un’aiuola) programme, WahV has taken charge of the 4 flowerbeds in Sant’Anna (Castello, Venice) for the coming years.
Our strategy is based on sharing and co-designing with local associations and institutions in order to optimise and enhance local knowledge. To attract the interest and engagement of the neighborhood residents, at the beginning of 2022 a letterbox was hung near the flowerbeds to allow anyone to share ideas and time. In this way, we collected the first impressions of the local community in order to start the project on solid co-design prerogatives.
Since then, a spontaneous and self-coordinating group of volunteers have been progressively created. Starting in March 2023 the group is operating in the area as the core group and core custodians, on the basis of consensus principles.
The group remains open to other volunteers to join, without any form of discrimination.
Main activities of the Sant’Anna core group:
-cleaning the flowerbeds
-reactivating the soil of the flower beds with moss, compost and worms
-fixing the fence where needed
-sowing of beans (different types) linked to the European INCREASE Citizen Science project
-sprout-related monitoring of INCREASE beans and the rest of the garden
-environmental data collection, especially rain
-continuous involvement of residents
Many other initiatives are planned and will be shared in the near future. As an active citizenship project, we invite everyone to collaborate and share their experience.
Write to email@example.com or leave us a message directly in the box hanging in the public green space in front of the Church of Sant’Anna in Castello, Venice.
The Green Spaces project is closely linked to the achievement of the SDGs (mainly 4,11,13,15,17) and will be assessed on these in terms of its impact.
Photos of green spaces in Castello, by We are here Venice and Team Green Venice B21, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
More info at https://greenvenice.wixsite.com/green-space-catalog