Monday, November 10, 2008

research_venice: city on water

Venice, the famous city built on the water, has been paramount in discussion for all other cities that deal with water. It is the marker of success. Everyone references it. On p144 of Venice, the Tourist Maze, Davis and Marvin state, "Venice remains the ultimate realization of this particular urban vision: so much so that no one would ever think to call it 'the Amsterdam of the Adriatic.' Rather, it is other cities that are, or aspire to be, 'the Venice of the North,' '...of the East,' '...of Asia,' and finally, '...of California,' which is, of course, simply Venice, California.' However, this city is an old model, constantly struggling against rising sea levels to preserve its museum-like presence.
In Venice, Against the Sea, John Keahey references Professor Rinaldo on p 261 as saying, "Venice is like a person trying to run forward [by] looking backwards: “[look at] how good we were; how great we were!” Venice is trapped between a huge past and no future." This implies that Venice's relationship to the water is an outdated model. It was revolutionary in its implementation, but currently struggles just to subside. This poses the question that I hope to explore for my thesis: what is the city built on water of the future?

The above images show flooded conditions of Venice, and the ever-present threat of rising sea-levels and sinking land. The map pairing shows the outline of Italy and its change over time. The first image is 1 million years before the present; the second image is 20,000 years before the present. The other map shows the network of waterways existing in Venice.
The final image is taken from a design proposal from a Masters in Architecture student from a UC Berkeley thesis in 2001 by Paul Thomas Haas. The proposal suggest mitigating the changing tide levels by providing a levy which changes height by floating higher according to the changing tides.
Rather than preserving cities, I am interested in entirely rethinking their existence on the water as Venice once did.

Venice survives by continuous maintenance. Current mechanisms of surviving are threatened by a worsening condition of rising sea levels. What is a new mode for co-existing with water?

1 comment:

G.E.85 said...

i am an italian blogger
i have just read your post about venice1
it is a wonderful city,perhaps the most beautiful town of italy with rome and bari.
do you know rome?and bari?
call you later!