Many replicas of Venice have been created as tourist attractions around the world, copying some of the most famous historical Venetian buildings. The purpose of this project is to compare four of them: the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, the Venetian Macao in Macao, China, the Venice water town near Hangzhou, China and everland resort in Yongin, South Korea . First, the replicas will be compared and rated based on attributes such as landmarks present, authenticity, organized Venetian events and others. Next, city maps of the top two replicas will be created and compared to the real Venice using the open source Geographic Information System QGIS.
1. Preliminary research
First, research will be performed on all available replicas of Venice. The data sources to be used will be the Internet, specialized journals and books and any other resources that are found along the way.The research will include exact copies, such as the ones mentioned in the project definition, as well as cities, whose architecture resembles Venice. The island of Manhattan, for example, is compared to Venice in Rem Koolhaas’s book “Delirious New York” . One similarity between the two is New York’s Met Life tower, built in the 1960s, which was designed after St. Mark’s Campanile . Initially, Manhattan was being build up following the European renaissance style . However, later, it developed its own unique landscape of skyscrapers . Making a comparison between the New York City’s development and Venice might end up interesting for the project.
2. Comparison methodology
The second part of the project includes a qualitative comparison. To be able to conclude to what degree the replicas are authentic and whether they represent the unique spirit of the Italian city, a framework for comparison is necessary. It should take into account not only the most obvious characteristics but also to allow some in-depth analysis of the replicas and the relevance of the Venetian experience one can get from them. A suitable comparison and a fine tuned geo-differentiating will fulfill this purpose.
The methodology to be used is to first establish different attributes like the presence of landmarks, authenticity of the copies and organized “Venetian” events. Common landmarks copied by the different replicas are St. Mark’s square, St. Mark’s Campanile, the Rialto bridge and the Venetian canal . Events include the traditional mask carnival, the feast of saint Mark, and the feast of Redentore . Each of these attributes will be given a value from 1 to 5, where 1 is “very poor performance” or “lack of the feature” and 5 is “the feature is present” or “very high performance”. Last, weighted normalized function will be used to yield the ranking. The results will be compared with another “authenticity” ranking, such as “Fake Venices In China, Korea Prove That Venice Is One Of Everyone’s Favorite Cities”  . The differences and the similarities of the two methods will be listed. As a result of this analysis, a correlation between the two methods will be evaluated.
Last, based on the results from the initial comparison, the top two replicas will be selected for geo-differentiating with the original Venice city. For a suitable mapping of the replicas and the original, a lot of information in addition to the preliminary gathered data is going to be needed. Any maps and blueprints, as well as descriptive information about the positioning of the landmarks will be an essential prerequisite for conducting the geo-mapping. Furthermore, tourists’ feedback on the replicas may turn out to be helpful in determining the differences that are not clear only by comparing images. A real-world experience may show extra insights about the size, the overall look and feel of the replicated buildings and places.
The next step is going to be the actual geo-differentiating. The tool to be used is QGIS, an open source geographical information system that provides the opportunity to create and compare maps. The maps of the replicas will be created and aligned as much as possible to the map of Venice. This way the geographical differences between the compared set can be pinpointed. The results from QGIS will be used to draw a more grounded conclusion which of the replicas of Venice performs better in terms of authenticity.
Based on preliminary research, the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Venetian Macao hotel in Macau, China seem to be the replicas that will yield the highest ranking. They appear as the most complete replicas in terms of number of landmarks copied . However, the landmark’s authenticity and location, as well as the other criteria mentioned above, are still to be evaluated. The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas is owned by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and was opened in May, 1999 . The Venetian landmarks included in the design of the luxurious resort include Palazzo Ducale, Piazza San Marco, Piazzetta di San Marco, the Lion of Venice Column & the Column of Saint Theodore, St Mark’s Campanile, and the Rialto Bridge . The Venetian Macao was modeled after its sister hotel, the Venetian Las Vegas; however, the landmarks seem to be positioned more realistically in Macao , . The hotel was opened in August 2007 and it is also owned by Las Vegas Sands Corporation .
The results from the qualitative and geospatial comparisons with the respective maps are going to be organized in a systematic and reusable way and presented in a poster format. A thorough explanation about the differences and the similarities of the replicas will be provided.
Project plan and milestones
- Initial comparison and background research :16-Feb-15 to 15-Mar-15 (4 weeks)
- Mapping: 16-Mar-15 to 26-Apr-15 (6 weeks)
- Final report and poster preparation: 27-Apr-15 to 22-May-15 (4 weeks)
- Presentation: 22-May-15 to 29-May-15 (1 week)
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 The Huffington Post, (2014). This Isn’t Where You Think It Is. [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/28/fake-venice_n_4181552.html [Accessed 14 Dec. 2014].
 Wikipedia, (2014). The Venetian Las Vegas. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Venetian_Las_Vegas [Accessed 17 Dec. 2014].
 Wikipedia, (2014). The Venetian Macao. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Venetian_Macao [Accessed 17 Dec. 2014].