L’Aquila: abandoned city

After more than three years from Abruzzo-earthquake the reconstruction of the old city centre is still to start. L’Aquila is an example of the big difficult to bring to life a post-disaster city. The risk to fail, and to transform it in an abandoned city is still high. Facing reconstruction means dealing the economical and social crisis. Is the reconstruction today the new urban utopia?

It’s been almost four years from the earthquake of 6th April 2009, when the Abruzzo region has experienced a painful loss of 308 people. And after this long time, the city of L'Aquila is still a city with two faces. While the demolitions in the suburbs outside the city walls, leaving hope for an imminent reconstruction of the city centre, on the other hand break the deafening silence of the historical centre returning sadly to mind the urban life, actually absent. Property, including the skeletons of abandoned buildings in the silent streets, the historic centre still waits a return to life. The enormous difficulties that the implementation brings with, it do not seem to be resolved overnight, in a nation not accustomed to renewal.

The earthquake
The earthquake that hit the city and some towns near L’Aquila fits into a swarm, whose peak occurred at night on April 6, 2009, with an intensity of 5.9 on the Richter scale. It resulted in the death of 308 people and wounded more than 1500 more than 10 billion euro in estimated damage.

The reconstruction of the city has been by fits and starts, in a discontinuous manner. If on the one hand that due to economical and administrative causes, on the other hand there is not a complete planned intervention effectively translate in reality. The major Massimo Cilente, has spoken about blocked money that fails to go to destination: 1 billion and half Euro for the reconstruction since 2009.
In October 2012 the resources for reconstruction amounted to 3,4 billion.
What we are speaking about is the most recent extensive open-air reconstruction site in Europe, spread on 170 hectares.

Post-disaster emergency
The problems of the emergency after a natural calamity, that a local administration has to take on, necessitate logistics capabilities, availability of substantial resources and a coordination plan.
The post-earthquake emergency, without a coordination strategy quote contributes to the weakening of the collective identity, depriving the community to participate actively in the process of reconstruction.
In L’Aquila the emergency was managed by the national authority, whose actions were more of an economic that social nature. Families were divided, hosted for long period in hostels in the nearby cities. New earthquake-proof quarters were built on the first immediate available territory. This means that new town far away to be called ‘city’ have transformed territory in an irreversibly way.

Just think about the project C.a.s.e (“Complessi Antisismici Sostenibili Ecocompatibili”). They are residential building for 14.000 people from 25 to 35 apartments distributed on three floors with base 12x48 meters. At the base there are two platforms from 1000 square meters separated by pillars of steel or concrete of giant order and by seismic isolators, which allow the upper structure to oscillate horizontally up to a width of 26 cm. This technological system of plates have enabled companies to compete on the basis of a single model home, regardless of the site, territory and the amount that then they would have realized by speeding up construction. Contracts for homes, in lots of five at a time to be completed in 80 days, have been assigned with open tendering to 16 different companies, some of which, took up to 4-5 batches. They are the same for forms and typology, grouped to three, to ten, until 20 block in some twenty area spread in the nearby territories. It is a residential complex designed for a long life, but temporary assigned to the people, whose home were classified totally unfit for habitation and that can leave when their home will be put in safety. To do this so far have been expropriated 160 hectares of land, mostly agricultural land, or rather, have been employed extensively.

The destiny of this new town is not clear, likely to be allocated to students or tourists, as tourists would be interested to visit the no-city of L’Aquila.


credits: http: www.abitare.it/it/featured/laquila-progetto-case/,