Switzerland’s Great Aletsch Glacier is 23km long and located in the World Heritage site Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch. It leads the list of glaciers in the European Alps in terms of length and size, yet since the mid-19th century, it has lost more than 25% of its volume.
Jo in Riederalp/Wikipedia
Rising temperatures and extreme weather pose an existential threat to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, but widespread discussion is needed for meaningful change.
The Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Square flooded during acqua alta – high tide – in Venice, Italy.
Matteo Colombo/Getty Images
With growing drought, rising seas and heavier storms, how do we protect Venice and other world treasures? The answer: creative, proactive measures that may alter them in important ways.
On November 12, 2019, in Venise, the sea rose 1.87 metres above its normal level, flooding much of the city.
More than 1 billion euros were donated after Paris’ cathedral was grievously damaged by fire in April. By comparison, just a few million euros were given after catastrophic flooding in Cité des Doges.
Venice is among the cities that have had public protests against soaring numbers of tourists – including this protest banner on the Rialto bridge.
The future of tourism depends on ensuring visitors do not wear out their welcome. Giving locals more of a say in tourism can help ensure they share in the benefits and minimise the costs.
A balancing act.
Airbnb has been criticised for contributing to housing problems in cities across Europe – but history shows there could be a way forward.
Portrait of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, c. 1500, by Gentile Bellini.
One of the most significant woman of Venice’s golden age, Cornaro was an important figure in Renaissance politics, diplomacy and arts.
Venice is set to be regularly 70% underwater and proposed tidal floodgates won’t deal with the fundamental problems.
Piazza San Marco during Venice’s acqua alta (flooding).
For many world heritage sites, flood risks are increasing. But what about places that don’t have the funds for protection?
Spain attracts more than 75 million tourists per year – far too many for most residents.
Overtourism is driving a backlash among residents of many European cities, and concerns are rising in Australia, too.
The view of Cartagena, Colombia from Tierra Bomba. Despite being one of the most visited cities in South America, Tierra Bomba remains highly impoverished. Why doesn’t large-scale tourism benefit such a community?
At many popular destinations, residents are protesting against crowding, rowdy visitors and low wages. With some research, travelers can use their visits to enrich host areas instead of harming them.
‘Venice Inflatable Refugee’, an artist’s project displayed in Venice in 2016.
Alternative models to host asylum seekers have proved their efficiency. Venice has been a sanctuary city for years and with the right policies, it could be reproduced.
Cruise ship destinations like Venice have realised that the benefits the industry promises don’t add up.
atm2003 / shutterstock
Large ocean liners with several thousand passengers can overwhelm small towns and vulnerable coastlines.
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, British Pavilion 2015.
Photo by Cristiano Corte © British Council
Sarah Lucas’s show is a (resolutely cheerful) cry of frustration at the overwhelmingly male exhibition history of the British Pavilion.
Pino Pascali, Cannone Semovente (Gun), 1965.
Photo by Alessandra Chemollo, courtesy of la Biennale di Venezia
Okwui Enwezor’s central show delivers an undisguised history lesson about Venice’s past.
Locked in love.
Worldpics / Shutterstock
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Mysterious goings on by the lagoon.
Between 16 and 21 March an unofficial referendum took place in the Veneto region of Italy, supported by a plethora of pro-independence groups. The question put to residents was direct and straightforward…
The Veneto region, with its picturesque capital Venice, has voted in a referendum for independence from Italy.
Just as Venice risks disappearing beneath its waters, it is making a remarkable political reappearance. The Venetian Republic existed for more than 1000 years until it came to an end at the hands of Napoleon…