In the last decades, the loss of Venice’s resident population has gone hand in hand with the increase in the number of tourists: while permanent residents have decreased from approximately 170,000 in the 1950s to 50,000 these days, the number of annual visitors has skyrocketed to 20 million pre-pandemic.
In an attempt to repopulate the city center with ‘actual’ residents, the Venice-based Ca’ Foscari University and the cultural nonprofit Fondazione di Venezia launched the remote-working program ‘Venywhere’ last December.
The project aims to attract residents from all over the world to the lagoon city, offering workspaces, assistance and accommodation through an online platform, where newcomers can find apartments, support with visa, taxes and health insurance, information about co-working spaces and free time activities, all designed to help them make the transition. Prospective residents will have access to these services by paying a one-time fee.
In the minds of the project creators, Venywhere would inject new life and opportunities into the city.
As reported on the Ca’ Foscari University’s website, “Venywhere wants to facilitate the arrival in the city of a new layer of ‘temporary citizens,’ who would bring their talents, a desire to contribute to the local community, and help make Venice a true city of contemporary work.”
The project originates from witnessing the rise of the ‘work from anywhere’ lifestyle. According to the Fondazione di Venezia website, the presence of these new residents can be strategic to consolidate neighborhoods, to incentivize artisanal, commercial and service activities, both old and new, as well as create entrepreneurial and job opportunities.
The project intends to develop a ‘hybrid’ platform, both digital and face-to-face, to address the various issues that come with moving to a new place. These include:
- Provide newcomers with accommodation equipped with high-speed Internet service;
- Create co-working spaces;
- Help with bureaucratic affairs;
- Put new residents in touch with locals;
- Promote cultural visits, lagoon sports, tastings of the local cuisine, etc.;
- Promote meetings and debates with local cultural institutions, primarily universities;
- Involve workers in the local life and community (this seems rather ambitious).
The program also plans to create a network of Wi-Fi hotspots around the city.
It remains to be seen how these prospective international residents would help safeguard the identity of Venice, just as the new technologies mentioned in the project would also achieve that result.
Currently, Venywhere is in beta testing, which means the full range of services will only be available after the official launch of the platform. The website states that until the launch you can subscribe for free and be part of the first pilot group.
For more information, visit the Venywhere platform.