Ciao! So, here I am, all settled in and finding my niche in Venezia. I’ve been here for a week now and have loved every minute of it.
Classes have begun and are wonderful, so far we have done a walking tour of the southwest portion of Venezia with a woman named Carla. We have a few more in the coming weeks to cover the entire city, and lean about some history, some cultural aspects, and some cues in the landscape and infrastructure that tell about the complex past of parts of the city. The intensive engineering of filling in canals, raising the level of the city, and more have provided me with a unique perspective as I traverse the streets. In the past few days we’ve also visited an awful brownfield park on the mainland (an architect designed it; eyeroll), an island that was once a containment island during the wave of plagues and is now an archaeological study site, and an island that was once a monastery turned ammunition storage grounds turned yachting/boating club site. We have also begun our studio project in our new teams (I’m the team leader working with two architecture students refining the master plan for S.S. Mattia I began back in the states).
I couldn’t be happier with my decision to take part in this study abroad trip. I was feeling quite run down with the monotony that classes and studio back in the states were turning into, and saw this trip as a unique advantage to grasp a wealth of knowledge and frame of reference that you can only obtain by immersing yourself in different cultures that only know compact ways of living mixed with ingenious solutions to current and future issues regarding land use, water (rising sea levels, etc.), and sustaining the land they inhabit. All of these perspectives are imperative to the future of landscape architecture and urban planning in the United States. I could get into my whole philosophy on climate change scenarios and why I believe the engineering solutions employed in the Netherlands and in Venice are directly applicable to most of the cities in the US, but I’ll save that for a possible capstone project ;)
I also must mention how lucky I am to have such great support from my family and friends. Thank you all for enjoying my little journal here and all the feedback, thank you family for the updates and support via email, and thank you Nate for making time everyday to call me and keep me sane in this whirlwind adventure.
Anyway, I need to get cracking with my group on our site analysis then get out and enjoy the phenomenal weather outside (sundresses, skirts, and no sleeves anyone?)!