Ideas for re-construction

Ideas for L’Aquila

We have not words enough to thank all of you for the deep sympathy and support we have received during these days. As researchers of University of L’Aquila, we now face a period of re-construction that will be long, energy-consuming and extremely challenging.

We now, therefore, want to ask you to help us. We need all your creativity, competence, technical skills, support, attention and continuity.

L’Aquila earthquake


The US Geological Survey said Today’s quake was a 6.3-magnitude event, striking at 0330 (0130 GMT) close to L’Aquila city, about 95km (60 miles) north-east of Rome.

The earthquake that struck L’Aquila on April 6th has destroyed not only the lives of many and the houses of most, but the cultural, scientific, social and productive life of the city as well. L’Aquila was famous for its historical buildings and churches and the mountains around it, for its fine arts and its university. In the process of rebuilding the L’Aquila of our future and its university, we send out this call for ideas, proposals and projects.

The vision we have in mind is that of realizing a city to be starting from the city it was. We invite researchers and scholars to consider L’Aquila, a medieval town in a modern country/world, as an open laboratory, an ideal theatre of application and a “demonstrator”, where new technologies and historical studies could be developed side by side; where forms of cultural renovation and social analysis can be integrated with technical innovations ranging from architectural solutions to transport planning, from environmental intelligence to energy efficiency.

Appended to these few lines of introduction you will find a non exhaustive brief list of more specific themes in various fields that could be of interest to anyone interested in this overall project.

Please consider this as an open ended list.

  • Self-sustainable, energy-efficient town
  • Integrated low-cost transportation
  • Building and construction technology and new materials
  • Architectural design for a medieval high-tech town
  • Social and cultural networks re-build
  • ICT: environmental intelligence, city of services
  • Fine arts and technology
  • Material and cultural effects of natural catastrophes
  • Landscaping the historical city in a park region
  • Spreading reconstruction best practices in post-emergency spaces
  • Ontology and epistemology of risk
  • Personal identity: memory and affective objects
  • Reconstructing a cultural institution: the future of universities.
  • Theory and history of literature
  • Mathematical  modelling  in Engineering, nanosciences and life sciences,
  • Relationship between deep seismogenetic structures and surface morphological features.
  • Variations of karst groundwater hydrographic network as consequence of seismic events.
  • Effects of the seismic phenomena on the structure of aquatic and terrestrial biocenoses.
  • Monitoring changes in groundwater and surface water ecosystems: an integrated approach.
  • Psychology of risk and emergency


Some commentary:

L’Aquila was renown for its art and buildings (rock and mortar); L’Aquila will now set an example of resiliance, determination and renewal: it will become famous as a major, integrated testbed for advanced suatainable technologies, building upon the know-how (pure brain power) of its inhabitants and local companies and counting on the full support of fellow Italians and the International scientific community.

This is an absolutely brilliant idea. Let something positive arise from the ruins of the earthquake.

Maybe is part of some points, but I like the idea of a university campus. Anyway, good ideas.

Networked embedded sensors to monitor the structural integrity of historical buildings in a least invasive manner.

I have no immediate ideas to contribute but I think yours is a very good and useful call. Go on and I will try to support as I can.

It is an innovative and interesting initiative. I’m a marine biology and I do not know if my experience reserch can help your project but I hope it will be realised.

As a city constructed from a medieval master plan, L’Aquila was a unique cultural treasure, even by Italian standards. Having been a regular visitor and admirer of the city and the university since 1982 (and an initiator of an exchange agreement and a dual degree program between L’Aquila and my home university), I just want L’Aquila to become the treasure again that it was before April 6. I strongly support your initiative.

Frankly, more than adding a topic, I would notice that all items in the present list are commendable and worthwhile, but, perhaps at the time of decisions, it would be wise to focus on specif goals and to state priorities to avoid the risk of dispersion.

I wholeheartedly support the rebuilding of the community in an environmental and practical way! I wish all of the best for everyone who has been affected by this terrible event.

In the cultural heritage the language is one of the most sensitive factor which risks to be lost by a rearrangement of the locations of the community. Italian dialects are often related not just to a province or a town but to portions of towns. Rebuilding l’Aquila as it was as soon as possible, before a generation of inhabitants grows in a different environment (even ten kilometers aways, with different neighbours could make a difference!), will ensure that the linguistic heritage get not lost. Reinforcing such an heritage with a thourough study of the many Abruzzese varieties make support these languages which may be endangered.

Being a native of L’Aquila, I hope in a real,rapid and qualified reconstruction, and that all those who have signed this petition will be ready to give their support in their specific field of competence.

Initiating and scheduling a series of scientific meetings for the coming years will increase international awareness and involvement. Registration fees can be used to advance the town. The need to advance the facilities from one meeting to the next may create an internal force to speed up the constructions. First meeting, or first few meetings can be held at a nearby facility (Rome?) with a one day visit to L’Aquila. Famous speakers and interest in the status of the town will ensure participation.

I deeply agree with your initiative, thank you for inviting us to take part. The Italian University should not miss this opportunity to give its best for L’Aquila and prove that it has ideas, culture, know how and talents to spend generously for this challenging scope.

The reconstructed Aquila should be both new and old. The medieval heart of the town needs to be preserved. Leave open spaces where restoration/reconstruction is impossible. The new town should be modern but modest and in good taste. Avoid fake old. Establish a museum about the human, cultural, engineering, seismological, & geological aspects of the earthquake.

I never had to study a nexus of principal agent problems like in this contingency in view of my hometown reconstruction. Certainly, I am too much involved in this catastrophe to keep my reasoning lucid and unbiased. Therefore, it would be convenient to set up good theoretical underpinnings for a reconstruction financial plan through a workshop/conference where these problems could be analyzed by major students of corporate finance.

A new L’Aquila, grounded in the past but looking to the future, this is something worth fighting for. I wonder whether it would make sense to look into creating a new regional, ‘abruzzese’ University network as well.

A possible research topic could also be the study of literary works that have been written after/about traumatic natural events in different languages and times (i.e. poems, novels, but also memoirs, collections of letters, etc.). 

The Americans would call this “turning lemons into lemonade”. I had a wonderful time in l’Aquila last fall and feel very sad about the drama that hit you all. Al my wishes of success in this heartening initiative.

The role of Information&Communication Technology to maintain and re-build relationship in catastrophic events. (more than 60,000 people of L’Aquila left their houses because of earthquake).

Peer to peer reconstruction: (like Germany that will be in charge for Onna) single out a “shopping list” of things to do with budgets of different order of magnitudes from 10 kE, up to 1 ME at steps of one order of magnitute, and open a call to indviduals, institutions, regional goverments, and countries, to be in charge of the project.

A full time school should be considered as part of a project to free parents energies for the reconstruction work. I have some ideas on this subject which is part of a proposal for a new european school, presented in a Conference held in Rome on february 7th, 2009. If you are interested you may send a mail to me and i’ll send to you the Conference material. You had a great idea and your initiative is extremely useful. I’ll do my best to spread it out in order to contribute to the success that it deserves.

I am happy to support your idea and wish you every success. Even in this time of financial problems, the banks, who are the guilty parties and who hide their funding, should give a large sum from their deep pockets! Academics are in no position to help financially, especially a retired professor like myself.

I like the topics of Ontology, Epistemology and Psychology of risks. I would stress the point that, from the renewed L’Aquila, concrete, continuous, convincing expressions and proposals shall be conveyed to all those who are responsible (can decide to allocate resources) for the safety of the people and to all those who are responsible for the media information, with the aim: PREVENT AND AVOID THE FIRST CASUALITY, do not wait for just one (lest many!) to happen before intervening.

I think it’s a great idea to make exemplary innovations arise from this terrible disaster.I’m not sure how my own department’s academic competences (French, Romance and general linguistics, FFL, sign languages) may contribute to your project, but if you think of anything, do let us know.


Interview to RAI RADIO 3

Listen to the interview which has been given during the program RADIO 3 MONDO of the Italian Broadcasting Company. Paola Inverardi and Simone Gozzano have been interviewed on the idea of planning a new vision for the University of L’Aquila, an open and international institution capable of accommodating and providing support to international reasearchers and students.

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