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Preliminary communication

The Role of Bottom-up Initiatives in Waterfront Development in Venice, Italy Case Study: The Venetian Arsenal

Jasna Cizler orcid id
Stefano Soriani orcid id ; Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Department of Economics, Italy

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The paper explores the process of redevelopment of Venetian waterfront
areas through the initiatives of the local civil and creative sector. The important aspect
of the research is the investigation of the role of these initiatives in protecting the heritage
and the common good from the dominantly commercial development and unsustainable
forms of tourism. The hypothesis is that non-institutional initiatives have the
capacity, as well as the need to protect and use underused heritage buildings, and that
they can influence and improve the results of the activation of these places through
providing the innovations that would contribute to adapting the current planning
practice. The research methodology is qualitative and combined: the main research
method was a case study of policy and practice related to the activation of the Venetian
Arsenal. The research consisted of the review of previous research and literature,
field work at the chosen location, participating in events related to the research topic,
meetings with experts and interviews with relevant actors. The aims of the research
were: to investigate the current policy and practice regarding the activation of unused
waterfront sites; to explore the role of bottom-up initiatives in this process; to examine
how the existing institutional framework relates to such innovative initiatives; and to
examine the limitations of this process and the possibilities for its improvement.


urban regeneration, adaptive reuse, naval heritage, local community, sustainable tourism, resilience

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