Proposal to deal with deterioration of Venice and its lagoon


Venice, one of the most visited tourist centre and the most improbable cities on Earth, has always been famous for its cultural and historic values and beautiful architecture of the city. The Lagoon of the Venice, a crescent shaped body of water lies between the mainland of Italy and Adriatic Sea. There are three sea water inlets to the lagoon namely Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia.

During 17th century because of global economic competition Venice faced consequences like deforestation of lagoon, watershed and extracting underground resources due to industrial development. Continuing the industrial development in the 19th century the plan involved the development of an industrial port intended in particular to be a centre of the iron and metallurgical industry. To allow the access of oil tankers canals where dug. The canal enhances the impact of the tidal current from the sea with a consequent increase in the erosion of the lagoon. The dangerous consequences of these developments for the environment of the lagoon and the pollution risk to the inhabitants of the area and the historic monuments became soon evident.


At present the most crucial problems creating morphological and ecological imbalance of Venice and its lagoon are:

  1. Lowering of the level of the city in relation to mean sea level
  2. Decline in the number of inhabitants
  3. Increased frequency of high water phenomena
  4. Air & water pollution
  5. Increased erosion & salinity of the lagoon
  6. Damage to architectural heritage, historic monuments & the buildings.
  7. Proliferation in decrease of biodiversities.


What could be the possible alternatives for the protection of the Venice and its lagoon from the increase in the floods, pollution and erosion, and at the same time preserve good living conditions for the inhabitants and also maintain the cultural and architectural values of the city?


Due to the different norms and interests of different actors complexity arises. The complexities arising due to this are technical, social and economical.
The technical complexities includes the altering morphology of the lagoon has occurred for centuries, making it difficult to reverse the erosion and subsidence process and the extinction of aquatic life supportive in the obstruction of the lagoon erosion, such as eelgrass and the proliferation of non- supportive algae Ulva ridiga and also the alterations made to the inlets and channels due to giving way to entering ships increasing the air and water pollution.
The social complexities are contradiction of pollution and unemployment, increasing number of inhabitants unwilling to reside in the area while there help is also required for the conservation and restoration of the city. The increase in amount of tourist visiting Venice as also affected the social life of the people. There is also political instability and hence this could lead to the delay in the problem process. Inhabitants are leaving the city due to increase in unemployment and pollution rather than combating the situation, which has a very high impact on the society.
The economical complexities arise when there is a severe need to solve the environmental problems, which would lead to the decrease in the fluvial trading affecting the economy. Also due to increase in the number of inhabitants leaving the city due to unemployment would reduce the use of local goods and diminishing small-scale industry would also affect the economy of the city.    

All the complexities are internally related as by solving one complexity, would help to clear the other complexities. By creating the social awareness the technical complexity of the pollution can be controlled to some level and also solving economical complexity of development of small-scale industry can be solved. Finding a solution for the technical complexity of pollution and floods and creating a safe neighbourhood, there would be increase in the number of inhabitants, which would also improve the economy. Also having a political stability would help to focus on solving the technical solutions without delay.

Dynamics of the problem

  1.  With the increase in the floods there is more and more damage to the city’s social life, environment and the economy.
  2. The gradual change in decrease in the inhabitants of the city could affect the social appearance of the city.
  3. Due to the technological advancement, there would be efficient and effective ways to solve the problem at comparatively low implementation cost.
  4. The increase in number of tourists would affect (positively and negatively) to the city and its environment.
  5. Increase in the amount of fluvial trading would lead to the increase in the pollution.
  6. Development of the ports may also help to improve the economic condition but at the same time affect the environment adversely.








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