Venice hosts its own funeral

Venice is dying. At least, according to Newsweek it is. The population has been shrinking so rapidly (it dropped below 60,000 this year) that the mag predicts there won’t be a single full-time resident in the city by 2030. A city that sees millions of visitors per year, an average of 55,000 per day, won’t be home to a single person. Yeah, I’d call that a dead city.

To draw attention to the issue, residents of Venice have organized a mock funeral in which three gondolas will pull a red coffin through the city’s canals on Saturday, November 14th.

In addition to the flood of tourists who make the city nearly unlivable during summer months, other factors such as increasing home prices and a shrinking tax base, have combined to result in the mass exodus of long-time Venetians.

One of the organizers of the “funeral” says this doesn’t have to be the end though. He hopes that by drawing attention to the issue, some of the problems can be addressed and new citizens will be lured to Venice. “It might be the beginning; it could even spur a rebirth. Now we just have to create a Venice [people] will want to stay in. We have to give them a reason not to leave.”

[via Budget Travel]

3 of the 5 dying cities are in Ohio: Could tourism help?

Canton, Youngstown and Dayton are on the list of the five fastest dying cities. Dying sounds terribly grim. How about shrinking? I can’t imagine that no one will ever live in these places one day. They are all on highways for one thing. Still, as industries have become smaller and have all but disappeared in these cities, the economy is not holding people in large numbers or attracting more.

Each place does have decent offerings and worth a shout out. I’ve been to Canton and Dayton and driven through Youngstown. I went to Canton specifically for the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. A Japanese teacher who stayed with us a few years ago wanted to go there so we obliged. It’s a lovely drive through Ohio’s rural countryside. Our teacher friend was quite the football fan so this was a thrill for him. I enjoyed myself as well, and I am most certainly not into football. I don’t dislike it. I’m just not a fan.

I went to Dayton twice. Once to take in Wright brothers and Katharine Wright historic sites for an article I was writing, and the other time to do a restaurant review of Jay’s Seafood in the historic Oregon District. I found it to be a lovely small city and can’t imagine that entrepreneurial types won’t find solutions to the shrinkage problem. I have plans to head to Dorthy Lane Market in the near future.

Youngstown has been on the radar as a struggling city for awhile. The town has been doing some work to revitalize itself. Before BloggingOhio ended there were several Youngstown related posts, mostly by Chris Barzak, a writer, and now professor who lives in Youngstown that highlighted these efforts, as well as the interesting things to do there.

As people are looking for places to go closer to home for a quick get-a-way, maybe tourism could help–at least a tad.