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Envisaging L'Aquila
edited by Alessandro Coppola

New Towns

View of Gibellina.
We have explored 4 Italian “new town” which have been built in the recent past after been hit by natural disasters. In all these cases, the populations had been displaced away from the original town into newly built settlement.
Italy has a long history of geological instability and consequent natural disasters. Since the first settlement on this land, eartquakes, vulcanic eruptions and land movements have ruled over man’s effort to create and build homes and towns. However humans have always proved stubborn, patiently recreating what had been destroyed.
A peculiar case of reconstructions is the one where the old center of the town is abandoned in favour of a less dangerous and more stable one.
In the immediate aftermath of the L’Aquila earthquake, which hit the city and the surrounding area on the 6th of April 2009, Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi and his entourage stated the possibility of building new settlements in those villages where the damages where too important to invest in rebuilding. The term “New Town”immediately circulated on the media.
We decided to explore 4 examples of Italian new towns:
Conza della Campania, rebuilt int he valley after the 980 earthquake; Gibellina, a novel town built after the 1968 earthquake; Vajont, a new town where people where relocated from the areas invested by the 1963 tragedy of the Vajont dam; Sarno, partially destroyed by a landslide in 1998.

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