Italia Nostra: The balance at the end of 2016: a design for a mediocre future?


The year 2016 concludes with all the big problems in Venezia still unresolved, while with the passage of time we chronicle how they only grow worse. As has always happened at Venezia this leaves future generations facing facts that are now complete and irreversible, to the great satisfaction of the few that gain economically and politically from the current state of things. MOSE is still incomplete. After the explosion of scandals, which were very easily foreseen and predictable, it sits there and staggers, but continues to suck money. The voices of those who were against it from the beginning and now were clearly right still fall on the indifference of power; rather they cause additional irritation.

The cruise ships continue to pass in front of San Marco, to the astonishment of the whole world. After years of discussion we are still uncertain if they will be taken to Marghera, or if a canal will be excavated to take them to Marittima, or if docks, fixed or mobile, will be created at the mouths of the port. The best, most just option, that of freeing the city and the lagoon from this nightmare, will not even be considered, in the name of a misguided sense of economic advantage which will go only to the powerful organizers, leaving crumbs for the unfortunate children who do not have taxi licenses, gondolas or fake goods stalls.

The transformation of apartments from homes of residences in to tourist rentals has exploded. Over 6,000 are now counted out of 24,000 units in the city. No one intervenes and before long it will be too late.

Swarms of launches each hour deposit thousands of innocent visitors in front of Ca’ di Dio, to return and get them in the early hours of the afternoon and take them back to their infernal transports, on the road towards other martyred cities of art.

An independent UNESCO commission, and then the general assembly, have examined the general picture and concluded that Venezia risks being included in the list of World Heritage sites at Risk. The city would have to present a plan for renewal by February 2017, but it appears to have no intention of doing so. The Mayor of Venezia has lashed out at interference in the affairs of his city, demonstrating a habitual oversized view with the declaration that before speaking of UNESCO, one would have to give money to help Venezia balance its books. These books are always in the red despite 30 million tourists in 2016, which pushes the city to sell more buildings that are public property and to concede even more permits for hotels and centers of tourist commerce.

The good news is that the citizens who are not contaminated by the general liberal myopia still resist, still request measures to protect the beauty, culture and quality of life, and hold up as positive examples Barcelona, Amsterdam, San Francisco and even New York. In this last city, and in the entire state, it is now not possible to rent an apartment for less than 30 days: the foresight of administrators who see a process of degradation on the horizon and act to counter it before it is too late.

Today we cite, in horror, the municipal ordinance of 1962, which required all the pollutants produced by the industries of Porto Marghera to be spilled into the lagoon. Tomorrow the same horror will be generated by indifference to the large cruise ships and from the proliferation of stalls, tourist rentals, and souvenirs manufactured in China. 2016 has given a strong push in that direction. 2017 is likely to do the same and maybe more, given the composition of the city council and the board that supports it.

We are moving towards a year of decisions which may not be all bad, given the premises. It will be necessary to resist, to show that the alternative roads exist and can be full of light. This wave of obscurantism will also pass, like so many others in the past.

Source: Italia Nostra – Venezia (via Facebook)