The research project

The Right to the Island – Venetians reclaiming the city in times of overtourism and climate change

We demand to see the horizon! picture by Cornelia Dlabaja

The focus of the research is to collect visions and strategies for the Future of Venice based on the perspectives of it inhabitants: as members of citizen’s initiatives, researchers, the municipality, local politics and entrepreneurs. During my field research in Summer 2019, 2020 and September 2021 been conducted a series of qualitative interviews with activists of citizen initiatives, spatial planners, urban researchers and expats. Moreover, various participatory observations, social media analyses and urban explorations have been realised. My research questions are: „How are Venetians reclaiming their right to the city?“ and linked to that “how are the activities of local resistance reshaping the decision-making processes?” The starting point for my research was: “How can we support the development for a socially sustainable and vibrant city and the needs of the inhabitants of Venice?”

My research interest is to work on the questions of the right to the city and thereby linked to it to find future strategies and imaginations for Venice from the perspective of its inhabitants, researchers, planners and political actors. My field contacts brought me in contact with local initiatives such as the citizens’ initiative `La vida` movement reclaiming the “anticoteatro di anatomia”, the movement #nograndenavi, Fridays for future in Venice un altra citta possibile and Assemblea sociale per la casa ASC Venezia Mestre.

During our excursion in 2022, my students collected more qualitative data. they conducted qualitative Interviews and did a series of participatory observations.

No Grandi Navi – a short film by Stefan Popovici Sachim

The interdisciplinary project follows the question of the right to the city in the context of overtourism, the commodification of housing and public space based on a field study in Venice. It takes a closer look at the relations of everyday life perspectives through memories of urban change and imaginations of urban futures by its inhabitants; logics of planning and politics in the process of decision making. Moreover, it investigates the conflicts and negotiation process in two of the latest examples of contested spaces in Venice, such as La Vida “antico teatro di anatomia” and poveglia per tutti.  It takes a closer look on the process of decision making due to local politics, entrepreneurs and the local administration. The mechanisms of regulation and deregulation of common goods through the legal framework, trans-local policies and negotiations of social inequalities are framing the issue.

La Vida Movement: Protests in front of the Anatico teatro di anatomia

I had the possibility to work on the research project as guest researcher at the UNESCO SSIIMsull’Inclusione Sociale e Spaziale dei Migranti Internazionali” in Venice located at the IUAV.

In my first week of my stay I will participate at the AESOP conference presenting a paper about urban change.

Everyone is thinking about Venice past, but how can we envision a livable future for the Venetian people? I will follow this question during my stay in Venice in July 2019. If you are interessed in my findings and the everyday life in Venice stay tuned

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