Venywhere: a project for living and working in Venice

Venywhere is a new project which arises from the collaboration between Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and Fondazione di Venezia. It aims to provide the emerging sector of workers from anywhere with a tool for contact-making and interaction. The platform will promote the creation of a new, active community of people who will enrich Venice with new energy and foster the development of new services and economic opportunities for the local community. 

In the post-pandemic era, questions revolving around the ‘new normal’ in the world of work must involve the notion of organisational and geographical flexibility. The work-from-anywhere phenomenon is irreversible in the new world of work, and today it offers an opportunity for us to reconsider the role that historic cities, such as Venice, can play. Cities increasingly need to attract enterprises and highly-qualified workers.

Venywhere will officially be launched in early March with Cisco, the global leader in technology that promotes innovative ways of working. Sixteen employees from various countries will be asked to participate in this new experience. The Cisco team will evaluate not only the functionality of the Venywhere platform and the impact that the initiative will have on the city of Venice, but also the technologies that will enable the future of the world of work and new collaboration opportunities for teams. Innovative collaboration platforms such as Cisco WebexTM create models that push the boundaries of the current remote working experiences and establish new standards that are more inclusive and engaging.

The Venywhere concept arises from the assumption that Venice could be an ideal place for people to find a balance between their work and their personal life, for the experimentation of urban regeneration thanks to the presence of a new host of “temporary citizens” who could, in time, establish residency. To this end, the project is consolidating a network that includes research institutes, associations, foundations, museums and private entities that support Venywhere and contribute to creating workspace and services to which individuals or groups of professionals will have access thanks to a flexible booking system.

The Venywhere platform has been online for a few weeks and has already been visited over 15000 times, counting over 1200 subscribers — workers who are potentially interested in moving to Venice to test a new way of working and living in Venice. 

Venywhere aims at attracting four types of people: freelancers and digital nomads, employees who can work remotely for long periods of time, Venetian residents who can make use of remote working support facilities, and companies interested in moving entire teams to Venice for a prolonged period of time.

The project focuses on three key objectives. The first objective is to provide workers from anywhere with support in finding suitable accommodation and working space. The second objective is to develop a series of services that can enable workers to participate in the city’s everyday life thanks to sports, art, craftsmanship, food and wine culture, the knowledge of the Italian language, tours in Venice and the lagoon. These activities would have potentially beneficial consequences on the local economy and provide an alternative to tourism. They would also contribute to shifting real estate trends from short-term leases to mid and long-term leases. The third objective is to promote social innovation by involving workers from anywhere in active citizenship initiatives. 

Venywhere is also a research project and an experiment for the future of the world of work. As such, it involves the collaboration of various research centres and international universities that regard the project as a ‘living lab’ which can offer data and an opportunity to develop new approaches.
Venywhere is supported by Fondazione di Venezia and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. It has been developed by a team of young graduates living in Venice and supervised by Massimo Warglien, professor at Ca’ Foscari and founding member of the initiative.

“Venywhere aims to redesign the future of Venice as a as city for contemporary work,” says Massimo Warglien, professor at Ca’ Foscari and founding member of the initiative. “Venice offers a unique opportunity to balance work and life with a reinvention of workspace. We expect that a new influx of workers/residents will contribute to keeping key services alive and to shifting part of the housing offer from short leases to mid and long-term leases, thereby creating new housing opportunities for everyone.”

According to Michele Bugliesi, President of Fondazione di Venezia, “Venywhere is a platform which has a great potential as an instrument that can promote the development of the city in an innovative way, both in the field of housing and in linked activities from a social and economic point of view. Fondazione di Venezia will continue to contribute to this growth and enable Venice to attract people with high human capital, who embody the new models of the working world and who have ideas and projects, and who can find work and become new residents in a vibrant, inclusive and contemporary city.”

“Making the world of work more modern and inclusive has always been among Cisco’s chief objectives,” says Gianmatteo Manghi, Managing Director of Cisco Italia. “Therefore, it was only natural for us to participate in Venywhere. Thanks to this project, we will be able to test our collaboration technologies even further and to collect data that can help us design the guidelines for the future of work.”