Antonello Ciccozzi

«Where-it-was-as-it-was». The protection of cultural heritage and the seismic safety of buildings at L'Aquila

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Earthquake; Post-Earthquake Reconstruction; Italy; Urban Renewal; Institutional Ethnography; Post-Disaster.

The post-earthquake reconstruction of the historic centre of the city of L'Aquila has been dominated by a distinct style of restoration. The improvement of the seismic safety of the built environment has been subordinated to safeguarding the city's historic, artistic and architectural heritage. This has given rise to an emphatic discourse that celebrates «history» as a splendid past that has to be recovered «where-it-was-as-it-was». At the same time, the idea that reconstruction might provide an opportunity for urban renewal has been discredited. However, in many cases, the safety of buildings and the safety of the people have stood in contradiction, while an almost tribal war between architectural and engineering approaches has ensued. Grounded in institutional ethnography, this article shows how, beneath formal bureaucratic relations, two communities of practice emerge, each premised upon an unconscious technical and methodological «ethnocentrism», which, in turn, have had an enormous impact on post-disaster urban planning and social recovery.

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