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Accepted Paper:

Venetians reclaiming the city in times of overtourism: contested representations, narratives and infrastructures  
Cornelia Dlabaja (FHWien der WKW)

Paper short abstract:

This article explores the negotiations surrounding Venice as a contested, iconic, inhabited space, both through narratives and citizen protests, in the context of touristification. It offers a closer look at the challenges of how Venice is cared for (Tronto, 2013)1, and the ways the city is inhabited in relation to the phenomenon of overtourism.

Paper long abstract:

The article examines the question of how Venetians are reclaiming their right to the island city as a common good for its inhabitants, relating this directly to how the city is cared for. It discusses the phenomena that come with the reshaping of the spaces and everyday lives of Venetian residents due to mass tourism. Overtourism has transformed Venice into a Disneyfied city in several ways, for example through short-term tourists and their perception and use of the city as a fun park. There is little perception of Venice as a lived-in space which is inhabited by families, elderly people and students going about their everyday lives in a city with only 52,000 inhabitants and a staggering 24 million visitors every year. The different ways the city is inhabited are discussed, and the consequences thereof, based on ethnographic research containing field research in the form of qualitative interviews, participatory observations, analysis of social media activities on Facebook, analysis of secondary data and debates in the media.

In recent years, the island city has been facing two major challenges. On the one hand, due to the impact of climate change, solutions must be found for problems caused by rising sea levels. On the other hand, the city is in danger of sinking in the wake of mass tourism (Settis, 2016). It is not only Venice that is facing these challenges, touristification and commodification of housing are virulent contemporary phenomena which many cities are currently confronting (Russo and Scarnato, 2018; Russo, 2002; Van der Borg, 1996). However, Venice, as an island-based heritage city, is being markedly reshaped by mass tourism in the form of day tourists from cruise ships, bus tourism and those who enter the city from the surrounding region (Casagrande, 2016; Bertocchi and Visentin, 2019).

Panel P044
Entangled Commons. Shifting Infrastructures of Sociality toward Visionary Pragmatic Lifeworlds [UrbAn]
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -