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Venice and the Lagoon: Two new visions

In collaboration with Multidisciplinary Project (MDP) – TU Delft; Honours Program (HPM) – TU Delft, Delta Futures Lab.

With funds from Delft Infrastructures & Mobility Initiative (DIMI), Sustainable and resilient coast cities (SARCC, 2 Seas, Interreg project), All Risk Program (NWO Research project)

Report by Lisanne Buis (MDP Coastal Engineering CiTG), Max Draisma (MDP Coastal Engineering CiTG), Nils van der Ent (MDP Coastal Engineering CiTG), Joep van der Hagen (MDP Coastal & Riverine Engineering CiTG), Lea Hartmeyer (HPM Landscape Architecture BK), Anna Kaletkina (HPM Architectural Engineering BK), Mark Kanters (MDP Construction Management Engineering CiTG), Simone de Roos (MDP Structural Engineering CiTG).

Tutors: Fransje Hooimeijer (BK Urbanism), Luca Iuorio (BK Urbanism), Davide Wüthrich (CiTG Hydraulic Structures).

Final Report


What long ago started as a small fishing village, seeking refuge from the Romans, slowly evolved into the city of Venice that we know today. With its unique location came unique problems, most of which were related to the interplay between Venice and its lagoon. By severe measures in the past it has continued to withstand the test of time.
In the decades to come, Venice, once again, has found itself in a difficult situation. Like has been done in the past, drastic measures are required to deal with the current and upcoming difficulties threatening the survival of Venice. These difficulties range from over-tourism to sea-level rise and the subsiding of the city. Acting like the Magistrato alle Acque acted in the past, extreme visions where laid out as possible solutions to these threats.
A workshop week with focus on interdisciplinary design formed the basis for two extreme visions which are laid out in this report. With the aim of answering the main research question: How do flood defense systems influence the spatial aspects of the territory in the context of a high dynamic landscape in the Anthropocene?
The plan for the Perfect Lagoon is one of these, which has focuses on tackling all of the current and upcoming problems were the emphasis lies on preserving and perfecting the lagoon using the building with nature philosophy, while also saving the city from drowning. Preservation is done by solving the sediment budget problems. Due to the constantly eroding system, salt marshes and land is slowly disappearing.
In this plan, drastic actions will be taken to counteract the constant erosion as well as the effect that sea level rise will have on this unique estuary. Drastic measures like redirecting rivers and re-purposing the MOSE contribute towards this goal.
After preservation comes restoration as one of the goals is to restore and increase ecological value, restoration of salt marshes and removal of negative influences like pollution.
As a second vision, the plan of the Symbiotic System deals with the same problems but here the emphasis lies on interconnectedness of Veneto. More attention is paid to mass tourism. The plan aims to turn Venice into a modern interconnected metropolitan area. The city and the lagoon will be treated as two separated system where the focus lies completely on the city of Venice. The lagoon will be left to its own devices in order to find a new, still unknown, equilibrium.
These visions are then further worked out and explained, and for both visions, technical design are made to, step-by-step, bring these visions closer to reality. From these visions along with their technical design we can conclude that flood defence systems have a major influence in the spacial aspects of the territory. Not only in its primary function, but more importantly in the secondary functions. Both primary and secondary functions can be used to create a paradigm shift for the territory. Using the multidisciplinary approach, an integral design can be made for the flood defence, in which the opportunities in a territory can be maximized.

© 2021 Simone de Roos, Mark Kanters, Joep van der Hagen, Nils van der Ent, Lisanne Buis, Max Draisma, Lea Hartmeyer, Anna Kaletkina

“Venice and the Lagoon: Two new visions” Final Report