The Act Of Living
A dialogue between tourism and liveability: The case of Venice
This graduation project provides a comprehensive investigation into the decline of the liveability of the UNESCO World Heritage city: Venice. It sheds light on the dichotomy between liveability and (over)tourism, and proposes a new perspective for Venice, which in the last 20 years has undergone a massive transformation from a liveable city for locals to a scenography for tourists.
The perspective has to change, tourism as we practiced it before the pandemic - and now that tourism has restarted - is no longer appropriate to our times. It is not sustainable to use tourism only as an economic resource. It comes at the cost of the liveable places on earth.
This graduation project looked in detail at the relation between tourism and liveability. The overall strategy stems from a thorough examination of the past, the present and the future. Which led to the conclusion that Venice is caught between an ideal past and an objective reality. And in order for Venice to move away from scenography for tourists to liveable city, a story for liveability needs to be written.
Therefore the aim of the project is to improve the liveability. It proposes a new way of living for the city: The Act Of Living.
The strategy implies a shift from the perspective of tourism towards cultural production. To achieve this shift, first of all the centro storico is seen as part of a larger whole: the entire municipality. Secondly, the existing elements that are already there are examined and strengthened. Thirdly, a layered proposal is made consisting of storylines through the city that are connected by acts, each with its own actor and design proposal. Nevertheless, they are connected and together they increase the quality of life.
In general it opts for reconciliation of shifting the focus from tourism to cultural production, regulating the masses, creating new destinations for - sustainable - tourism and most important designing a liveable neighbourhood for locals. The design proposals are based upon current/proposed policies, and the genius loci of Venice.
To sum up, it is clear that overtourism is the consequence of the current policy. And I believe that as urban designers, politicians, citizens: we have to take the threat of tourism on the liveability of cities seriously. That is why in The Act Of Living each actor has its own role to play and responsibility. As a tourist, a local or new traveller: in this new story we are able to show a different perspective that makes us believe in the future of Venice!
Graduation date: 22 september 2021
Graduation committee: Hiroki Matsuura (mentor), Harry Abels, Nancy van Asseldonk
Additional members for the exam: Riëtte Bosch, Martin Aarts