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Myths and realities about the recovery of L׳Aquila after the earthquake

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Diana Maria Contreras Mojica



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


There is a set of myths which are linked to the recovery of L'Aquila, such as: the L'Aquilarecovery has come to a halt, it is still in an early recovery phase, and there is economicstagnation. The objective of this paper is threefold: (a) to identify and develop a set ofspatial indicators for the case of L'Aquila, (b) to test the feasibility of a numericalassessment of these spatial indicators as a method to monitor the progress of a recoveryprocess after an earthquake and (c) to answer the question whether the recovery processin L'Aquila stagnates or not. We hypothesize that after an earthquake the spatialdistribution of expert defined variables can constitute an index to assess the recoveryprocess more objectively. In these articles, we aggregated several indicators of buildingconditions to characterize the physical dimension, and we developed building useindicators to serve as proxies for the socio-economic dimension while aiming fortransferability of this approach. The methodology of this research entailed six steps: (1)fieldwork, (2) selection of a sampling area, (3) selection of the variables and indicators forthe physical and socio-economic dimensions, (4) analyses of the recovery progress usingspatial indicators by comparing the changes in the restricted core area as well as buildinguse over time; (5) selection and integration of the results through expert weighting; and(6) determining hotspots of recovery in L'Aquila. Eight categories of building conditionsand twelve categories of building use were identified. Both indicators: building conditionand building use are aggregated into a recovery index. The reconstruction process in thecity center of L'Aquila seems to stagnate, which is reflected by the five following variables:percentage of buildings with on-going reconstruction, partial reconstruction, reconstructionprojected residential building use and transport facilities. These five factors were stillat low levels within the core area in 2012. Nevertheless, we can conclude that the recoveryprocess in L'Aquila did not come to a halt but is still ongoing, albeit being slow.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Contreras D, Blaschke T, Kienberger S, Zeil P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

Year: 2014

Volume: 8

Pages: 125-142

Print publication date: 01/06/2014

Online publication date: 17/03/2014

Acceptance date: 12/02/2014

Date deposited: 18/03/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2212-4209

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.02.001


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Funder referenceFunder name
Afro-Asiatisches Institut - Salzburg
DK W 1237-N23