Saturday, January 23, 2016

Designs for Living: Vivienne Westwood and We Are Here Venice

Originally posted on this blog in February 2014, this is one of the images used on the Westwood site
At the end of my last post I referred to people here in Venice who believe the city would serve well as a model in which to study problems (and possible solutions) that affect the world beyond this lagoon; that this very old city might, in fact, be a perfect laboratory for a good number of very contemporary dilemmas.

One of these people is Jane da Mosto, one of the authors of The Venice Report (Cambridge University Press, 2009), whose subtitle lays out a number of the issues facing not only Venice, but other cities around the world: Demography, Tourism, Financing and Change of Use of Buildings.

What isn't specifically mentioned in the subtitle is climate change and rising ocean levels--though perhaps it goes without saying that a city so intimately linked to the sea, so very long dependent upon a knowledge of tides and so completely subject to their effects, might have some important contributions to make to our knowledge in that area.

Long a student of the lagoon (she is also the co-author, with Caroline Fletcher, of The Science of Saving Venice), and long active in the community, she's just started to put online a new website for her latest project, We Are Here Venice: an advocacy group for responsible and sustainable use and development of the Venetian lagoon and its resources:

In calling attention not only to the problems of the lagoon city, but to a problem-solving approach grounded in both the latest science on this unique ecosystem and a commitment to Venice as a living city of residents (rather than a mere theme-park stop on the itineraries of cruise ship and bus lines), she's just received the support of the designer Vivienne Westwood. Westwood--a rare designer who actually encourages people to buy less--featured Venice and We Are Here Venice at her menswear show last weekend in Milan and, now, does so on her blog:
I was happy to contribute images to each site that I'd previously posted here on this blog.

The short piece above on the Westwood blog supplied by We Are Here Venice succinctly lays out the issues and the group's approach. But I hope in the not-too-distant future that I might check-in with Jane da Mosto at greater length about her thoughts on the current state of Venice. If you have specific questions about the city you might like me to ask, please leave them in the comment section below.

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