The Venice Lagoon

A navigable and walkable place

Imagine a place in which instead of highways, trucks, cars, buses, taxis and motorcycles there are pedestrians and boats. Imagine a place in which you only walk, walk and walk, and ride boats. Imagine towns and cities connected through labyrinth-like streets and water canals linking all parts of land. Imagine a place where water is equally important to land, in fact, water is the core of the territory.

The Venice Lagoon is a geographical space that has the peculiarity of having water as the main feature of its territory. The landscape of the lagoon has been modified over hundreds of years to create an enclosed space from the Adriatic sea. During centuries, the water itself worked as a natural fortification system that safeguarded Venice's trade empire from its enemies. Between the 14th and 20th centuries, a system of fortifications was built throughout the lagoon.

Besides the fortifications, the lagoon encompasses a system of islands made of man-made and natural sub-systems. Among them, there is an agricultural system that supplies the whole lagoon is located mainly in the island of Sant'Erasmos. A system of religious architecture that include monasteries, cathedrals and churches is spread out across the lagoon. A complex system of waterways and canals connects and gives shape to an aquatic urban grid. A public transportation system features the "vaporettos", the bus-boats that ride in water connecting the islands of the lagoon. An aqueduct network brings water from the "terraferma" to the islands.

Such a place with no cars, pavement, red lights or highways exist. The islands of Venice, Burano and Guidecca offer a unique urban experience in which being a pedestrian is not choice but fact. One experiences an urbanized landscape with the awareness of a natural environment that shapes all interactions. Those interactions are all mediated by water.

Historian, interested in knowledge production/the natural world/political economy/interactive maps/digital humanities/alternative historical narratives

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