Information about international conference
“WATERSCAPES AND HISTORIC CANALS AS A CULTURAL HERITAGE”
Venice 14-15 May 2015.
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The control and management of water flows are to be considered among the most significant human activities aimed to transform the natural environment. Canals and rivers are linear paths of high cultural value where it is possible to identify specific and unique cultural landscapes.
The relationships between human settlements and European historic waterways are widely documented not only from archival sources (including historic maps and charts) related to water courses and catchment areas, but also by an equally rich cultural and artistic heritage; a heritage that celebrates the cultural use of water, charging it with symbolic values that enhance the practicalities of controlling and managing the flow.
The main objective of the Conference is to highlight the crucial importance of waterscapes and historic canals as visible infrastructural networks constituting a significant part of European history.
Even today, many European historic waterways maintain structures of great importance in the field of industrial archaeology, such as bridges, lock systems, hydraulic factories, warehouses and river ports. In addition, it is important to consider the high aesthetic value of river and aquatic landscapes, or waterscapes.
Another issue promoted by the Conference is the enhancement of historic waterways and their related territories as resources for developing a sustainable tourism, responding to the growing demand for cultural and environmental protection as well as for high quality recreational experiences.
The Conference aims to gather many perspectives on waterscapes in order to foster new strategic planning not only in specific riparian contexts, but also in the whole stratification of rural and urban landscapes crossed by historical hydrography.
The conference developed a research line related to European Waterways as a cultural heritage. A first workshop was held in Venice and Battaglia Terme (Padua, Italy) in October 2012 organized by UNESCO Venice Office, Civiltà dell’Acqua International Centre, and the River Navigation Museum of Battaglia Terme, in order to discuss a preliminary series of issues concerning the European Historic Canals and their related heritage as an opportunity to promote a “responsible” tourism.
The 2015 conference represented an opportunity to focus on more detailed aspects concerning waterscapes interpretation, cultural tourism along historic canals as well as fluvial waterfronts’ management.
The conference took place in Venice in 14-15 May 2015, and was organized by the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari and Civiltà dell’Acqua International Centre in cooperation with the UNESCO Venice Office and the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.
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