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Public Preferences for Land usesÂ’ changes - valuing urban regeneration projects at the Venice Arsenale

Listed author(s):
  • Patrizia Riganti


  • Anna Alberini


  • Alberto Longo


This paper discusses the results of a conjoint analysis study developed to assess alternative land uses for an important part of the city of Venice: its Arsenal. Aim of the study is to illustrate the potential of stated preferences techniques for placing a value on redevelopment and reuse alternatives for an underutilized site with high historical, cultural and architectural significance. Very few studies have used conjoint choice to assess public preferences for alternative land uses in an ex-ante framework, i.e. masterplans. For our study, we wanted to concentrate on a “city of art,” where the relationship between cultural heritage resources management and city development is more critical. Venice was an obvious choice for the national and international relevance of its heritage. The Arsenale is one of the few places in Venice that has the potential for a real transformation of its uses, with important impacts on both residents and visitors. Moreover, the Arsenale plays a strong symbolic role: it was the place where the strength and power of the Serenissima was built. The City Council of Venice has recently deliberated that the Arsenale is an inalienable heritage of the city of Venice. In recent years, the importance of the Arsenale has resulted in a heated debate on its possible new uses. Many architectural proposals have been submitted through international competitions. These proposals—whether submitted in the past or currently under consideration—have shown that there may be a conflict between different possible land uses and the transformation allowed by the existing architectural structures. We surveyed individuals in Venice asking respondents to engage in conjoint choice tasks, gathering 168 usable observations. Members of the general public were intercepted at the Multimedia Library at Palazzo Querini Stampalia/FEEM and asked to indicate which choice they preferrd among hypothetical—but realistic—redevelopment projects of the Arsenale historic site. Each project was described by a vector of attributes, such as land use, use of basins and waterways, architectural features, access, employment implied by the reuse, and cost. The responses to these choice tasks was used to infer the rate at which respondents trade off land uses, aesthetic features, and costs, and hence to derive the value of marginal changes in the attributes, and the value of a proposed policy package. The Venice Arsenale is owned by the Italian government and is currently used by the Italian Navy. The Arsenale site accounts for about 15 percent of the area of the city of Venice (about 45 hectares), and is located in the Castello district. Tradition has it that doge Ordefalo Falier founded the Arsenale—a shipbuilding yard—in 1104. In 1340 the “Darsena Nuova” was created, which marked the birth of the Arsenal Nuovo and of the Corderie building. Further expansion started in 1473, covering an area of 26 hectares. This phase lasted more than 100 years, resulting in the construction of the New Corderie building, among others, in 1591. In its heyday, the Arsenale employed roughly 20,000 workers in an assembly-line fashion and produced one ship a day. The Arsenale, after the navy largely withdrew from the complex over 40 years ago, suffered from abandonment and under use. The Arsenale is, therefore, one of the few places in Venice that has the potential for a real transformation of its uses. In this paper we investigate how the development of the Arsenale site, involving alternative land uses, may influence the welfare of the residents of the historical city center of Venice. Starting from the evidence of our survey in Venice, the paper broaden its scope to discuss ways of improving the management of cultural heritage cities, focusing on new forms of involvement and public participation based on public preferences’ elicitation. We debate the issues related to city governance and the need for an appropriate level of democratic participation. An integrated approach, capable of bridging the practice of economic valuation, urban design, conservation of the built environment, and decision-making support systems is here analysed.

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa05p756.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p756
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  1. Catherine M. Chambers & Paul E. Chambers & John C. Whitehead, 1998. "Contingent Valuation of Quasi-Public Goods: Validity, Reliability, and Application To Valuing a Historic Site," Public Finance Review, , vol. 26(2), pages 137-154, March.
  2. Alberini, Anna & Longo, Alberto & Tonin, Stefania & Trombetta, Francesco & Turvani, Margherita, 2005. "The role of liability, regulation and economic incentives in brownfield remediation and redevelopment: evidence from surveys of developers," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 327-351, July.
  3. Fernando San Miguel & Mandy Ryan & Emma McIntosh, 2000. "Applying conjoint analysis in economic evaluations: an application to menorrhagia," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(7), pages 823-833.
  4. Boxall, Peter C. & Adamowicz, Wiktor L. & Swait, Joffre & Williams, Michael & Louviere, Jordan, 1996. "A comparison of stated preference methods for environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 243-253, September.
  5. Hanley, Nick & Mourato, Susana & Wright, Robert E, 2001. " Choice Modelling Approaches: A Superior Alternative for Environmental Valuation?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 435-462, July.
  6. Edward Morey & Kathleen Greer Rossmann, 2003. "Using Stated-Preference Questions to Investigate Variations in Willingness to Pay for Preserving Marble Monuments: Classic Heterogeneity, Random Parameters, and Mixture Models," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 27(3), pages 215-229, November.
  7. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D., 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304, October.
  8. José Sanz & Luis Herrero & Ana Bedate, 2003. "Contingent Valuation and Semiparametric Methods: A Case Study of the National Museum of Sculpture in Valladolid, Spain," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 27(3), pages 241-257, November.
  9. Douglas Noonan, 2003. "Contingent Valuation and Cultural Resources: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Literature," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 27(3), pages 159-176, November.
  10. David Throsby, 2003. "Determining the Value of Cultural Goods: How Much (or How Little) Does Contingent Valuation Tell Us?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 27(3), pages 275-285, November.
  11. Anna Alberini & Patrizia Riganti & Alberto Longo, 2003. "Can People Value the Aesthetic and Use Services of Urban Sites? Evidence from a Survey of Belfast Residents," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 27(3), pages 193-213, November.
  12. Marilena Pollicino & David Maddison, 2001. "Valuing the Benefits of Cleaning Lincoln Cathedral," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 25(2), pages 131-148, May.
  13. Adamowicz W. & Louviere J. & Williams M., 1994. "Combining Revealed and Stated Preference Methods for Valuing Environmental Amenities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 271-292, May.
  14. John Whitehead & Suzanne Finney, 2003. "Willingness to Pay for Submerged Maritime Cultural Resources," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 27(3), pages 231-240, November.
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