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Sinking City of Venice

Program Overview


Venice, Italy, faces threats to its art, architecture, and history from an increasing frequency of floods. NOVA explores the debate about how to best control these high water occurrences.

The program:

  • recalls the 1966 flood that deluged Venice, Italy, for 15 hours.

  • describes the geography of Venice that makes it vulnerable to flooding.

  • reviews reasons for present-day flooding, including storm surges, mean sea level rise, and the sinking of Venice.

  • chronicles measures taken in The Netherlands and London, England, to prevent flooding in those areas.

  • introduces the design currently under development—a series of mobile floodgates situated at the three lagoon entrances that would be raised with compressed air when the city is threatened by extremely high tides.

  • presents both sides of the active debate concerning the floodgates, including the key issue of how often the gates would be deployed and what effects the closings would have on the lagoon's health.

Teacher's Guide
Sinking City of Venice
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