Beyond Barriers: Exploring the Futures of Climate Infrastructure on the Venetian Lagoon

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For the last fifteen years the Italian government has been building the Experimental Electromechanical Module floodgates (MOSE) in the inlets from the Adriatic Sea to the Venetian Lagoon, to protect the historic city of Venice from flooding events. At the same time MOSE represents just one technological solution for the climate resiliency of Venice and its surrounding islands--in the face of additional varied and complex socio-environmental threats. Broader threats include subsidence, infrastructure degradation, the pressures of mass tourism, and a decline in the resident population on the islands of the lagoon. MOSE's construction site, a 180,000 square meter concrete platform, at the Malamocco inlet represents a uniquely massive space to respond to these forces. A team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students use site and environmental systems planning approaches to suggest three hypothetical visions for this site that serve the residents of Pellestrina and the larger socio-economic development for the lagoon islands, while ensuring that these options bolster residents' ability to respond to urban disaster risk. The design concepts explore a range of demolition and reuse possibilities for the site in their three explorations: deconstruction and sustainable fishing, contextual tourism that can shift to disaster resilience, and a potential reuse of the most elevated area on Pellestrina to form a new village in the face of sea level rise.
Climate Change, Resiliency, Infrastructure, Venice