OECD Territorial Reviews: Venice, Italy 2010

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This Review of Venice, Italy, offers a comprehensive assessment of the city-region’s economy and the extent to which its land use, labour market and environmental policies embrace a metropolitan vision. A new understanding of the provinces of Padua, Treviso and Venice as an interconnected city-region of 2.6 million people guides this study. Venice ranks as among the most dynamic and productive city-regions in the OECD, with high employment levels and growth rates. Though it has thrived on a model of small firms and industrial clusters, it is undergoing a deep economic transformation. Venice confronts growing environmental challenges as a result of rising traffic congestion and costly infrastructure pressures, exacerbated by sprawl. Demographics are also changing, due to ageing inhabitants, immigrant settlement and the rapid depopulation of the historic city of Venice.  

This report offers a comparative analysis of these issues, utilising the OECD’s metropolitan database to benchmark productivity and growth. It draws on regional economics, urban planning, transportation studies and hydrology to throw light on the changes within the city-region. In light of planned inter-city rail extensions, the Review calls for programmes to increase economic synergies between Venice and its neighbours. It evaluates key tools for promoting economic growth and metropolitan governance and proposes enhanced co-ordination of land use policies, additional business development services for small and medium-sized businesses, and the enlargement of university-linked innovation. Given frequent flooding, the report appraises the quality of metropolitan water governance and Venice’s potential to become a powerful reference for climate change adaptation.

English Italian


Metropolitan governance: a goal in search of a model

To effectively address the Venice city-region’s economic and environmental challenges would require changes to current governance practices and frameworks. Co-ordination, both within a single level of government and vertically between levels of government, is necessary to articulate a series of commonly defined policy objectives. Chapter 4 identifies and analyses the factors involved in the most appropriate and effective multilevel governance structure for the Venice city-region. A series of recommendations are proposed to strengthen the Venice city-region’s competitiveness, including tools and instruments for compact land use planning, strengthening planning for a polycentric metropolitan region (especially in such areas as transit, tourism management, and climate change action planning), and the adoption of a metropolitan spatial vision into the public policy process. Given the Venice city-region’s highly polycentric structure, “soft instruments”, i.e. voluntary partnerships and the creation of a metropolitan spatial vision, have immediate potential. The chapter proposes new governance arrangements to increase inter-sectoral co-ordination through performance standards and the facilitation of experimentation and pilot projects with area-wide policy co-ordination and service provision.


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