L’Aquila, a gost town

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One year after the earthquake, L’Aquila, 120 km out of Rome, is a ghost town. With over 15.000 people still leaving in hotels and the army patrolling the streets, this beautiful historical city in central Italy strives to recover from the disaster.

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While some new anti-seismic neighbourhoods have been created in the surrounding hills, the central part of the city –its huge historical core- is still “red zone”, where visitors are not allowed and big efforts are deployed to stabilize the centuries old buildings. A meeting of the International Union of Architects has given to some of us the opportunity to visit the “forbidden area” and get first hand information on the works that currently take place.

Securing structures is a priority and most efforts are devoted to that. Technologies used depend on the damage suffered and the characteristics of the building. Adding a temporary roof to the affected churches and “palazzi” becomes a must in order to avoid further damages by rain. As the area keeps experiencing minor seismic movements while works take place, it is important to ensure that any solution adopted is flexible enough to absorb these movements.

Meanwhile, a team of volunteer architects document the buildings in order that, at a later stage, they can either be rebuilt to their original shape or, at least, keep the memory of how they were.

Nobody knows how long all this will take. Nobody knows either what the total cost will be. Italy has been often affected by earthquakes. Some of the Italian cities, as we know them now, are, in fact, the result of a reconstruction after a previous disaster. But the magnitude of this operation in L’Aquila is probably bigger than any previous one. And what is more important, nowadays, in Europe, the idea of simply demolishing what was left and build a new town (as it was often the case one or two centuries ago) is not acceptable anymore.

The issue becomes of the highest relevance for all those of us who are interested in urban problems, as it confronts us with the need to deploy new tools and strategies to face big scale interventions in historical contexts. The impact of these interventions goes beyond the buildings themselves and forces us to reflect on the kind of city that will come out the day works will reach substantial progress.

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foto Yar Man, nov 2012

L’Aquila in diretta

webcam da www.MeteoAQuilano.it
da www.caputfrigoris.it

il sismografo di Massimo

che sia sempre "piatto" e giallo ! immagine "on-line" da http://www.laquilaemotion.it/sismografo/laquilaemotion/sismotion.html

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