Wednesday, July 16, 2008


UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has been involved with Venice ever since the disastrous flood of 1966, when the whole world was mobilized to "save Venice". Since then, a permanent office, currently called BRESCE (Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe) has been operating in Venice, together with the so-called "liaison office" that coordinates the restorations funded by the private committees for the safeguard of Venice. The Venice Project Center has had a long and fruitful collaboration with UNESCO in the 1990's which resulted in the Venice Inner Canals project and the publication of the book Venezia La Città dei Rii. Our 20th anniversary year coincides with a renewed interest on the part of UNESCO to return to an active role in the shaping of a sustainable future for Venice. Despite having been one of the first cities to be included in the world heritage list in 1987, Venice still lacks a management plan, as all world heritage sites are supposed to have. UNESCO's new director Dr. Engelbert Ruos would like to employ a World Cafè approach in re-opening a discussion about Venice's opportunities and challenges in this new millennium.
After meeting with him today, it looks like our paths may converge on a joint project aimed at producing a web-based geospatial information system, initially containing data collected by WPI, the VPC, Forma Urbis, the Private Committees, and the Commissione di Salvaguardia. Such a system would provide the needed informational support for the world cafè sessions that UNESCO plans to hold in 2009 and may also constitute the basis for the creation of a management plan for this world class heritage site.
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