Sunday, March 25, 2007

Venice an Ocean City

Venice was beautiful and worth seeing. The increasing water levels in the Adriatic threaten the future of the city. The buildings in Venice were constructed on closely spaced wood piles that sit on alternating layers of clay and sand. Most of these piles are still intact after centuries of submersion and sustain buildings of brick and stone. Venice is threatened by flood in the autumn and spring when the tide is particularly high and recent proposals have increased campaigns to save the city from permanent flood. According to "Lets Go Italy 2007" proposals have been made to turn the city of Venice over to Disney. Disney's ability to control large groups of tourist and the revenue it would generate is thought to be enough to sustain the city through change in climate and increasing water levels. An entrance fee would be imposed on the city as if it were an amusement park, and Venice would undergo a massive change in organization. As creative as this may be Venice is desperate for a solution, the first floors of many homes are unusable and in 1996 Piazza San Marco flooded 99 times almost a 100% increase in the last 90 years. After a flood in 1966 destroyed over 5 billion euros in property damage and art works stored on the ground level many Venetians abandoned the first floor of their buildings. In addition to the Micky Mouse proposal the Italian prime Minister inaugurated the MOSE Project (Module Sperimentale Elettromeccanico) an experimental project designed to inflate as tides get high and block water from flooding the city. Unfortunately Venice's flooding is a problem as well as an functioning part of the city's hygiene and internal canal system. The floods and change in tide help flush out the canals that run through the city. If the MOSE project were constructed the city could be plagued with increased stagnation and pollution. Venice was amazing and I hope to see it again.

Virginia M. Byers

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