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Measuring the Progress of a Recovery Process after an Earthquake: The Case of L’Aquila, Italy

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



This is the final published version of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by Global Risk Forum (GRF) Davos, 2016.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


After the earthquake in 2009, L’Aquila (Italy) started a torturous recovery process, characterized by a delay in the reconstruction of the city center, the political and legal intrigues, and the dissatisfaction of the population with the decisions made and actions taken by the government. Between 2010 and 2014 we formulated a recovery index based on spatial indicators, such as building condition and building use, to measure the progress of the recovery process in L’Aquila. Now, seven years after the earthquake, we are not only interested in measuring the progress of the recovery in L’Aquila, but also in validating the usefulness of the proposed recovery index. To achieve this objective, we are going to consider the same set of spatial indicators and expert criteria that we considered to determine the progress of the recovery in L’Aquila by 2010, 2012, and 2014. Over these years, the city center of L’Aquila was selected as the sampling area, to establish the progress of the recovery in the whole city. In 2016 we found that the number of reconstructed buildings and buildings under ongoing construction has significantly increased, followed by the number of inhabited buildings. The number of buildings classified as partially enabled, propped, reconstruction projected, and damaged had greatly decreased by 2016, while the number of demolished buildings and buildings with restricted use slightly increased. The number of buildings with residential and commercial use increased along the main roads by 2016. Paradoxically, while progress was observed in the overall building condition, there was no significant progress in the building use. This poses several questions about the dynamics of the returning process of the former habitants of the city center in L’Aquila. We can conclude that the proposed recovery index is useful for identifying the spatial pattern of the recovery process in an urban area affected by an earthquake. At the same time, this recovery index allows us to quantify the recovery progress based on indicators.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Contreras D, Blaschke T

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC Davos 2016)

Year of Conference: 2016

Print publication date: 30/09/2016

Acceptance date: 31/03/2016

Date deposited: 28/03/2019

Publisher: Global Risk Forum (GRF) Davos