BY THE year 2000 about 8 percent of the most heavily populated cities in the world will be located in delta and coastal regions. And although there is no concrete evidence that global warming will cause sea levels to rise, experts are estimating a rise anywhere from 10 centimeters (4 inches) to a catastrophic 150 cm (59 inches) over the next century.
Recognizing this threat, the Venice City Council, the University of Ca Foscari, the University Institute of Architecture, and the consortium Venezia Nuova founded Venice's international center "Cities on Water" in 1989.
Among the many cities that have participated in annual meetings are Boston; Glasgow; Osaka, Japan; Sydney; Rotterdam; and Oslo.
Membership is subject to approval, but is open to cities, research institutions, government organizations, and technical agencies. Honorary committee members include the United Nations Environment Program, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank, and the World Meteorological Organization.
Operations are supported primarily by contributions - both financial and scientific - from members and from public and private institutions.
The center has two goals. The first is to become a permanent center for the exchange of information on cities' project experiences as well of analysis, diagnosis, and treatment methods for common problems.
The second goal is to promote studies and research by universities and scientific institutes. These studies will provide information on subjects of interest to all cities located on water.