Post-earthquake recovery in peripheral areas: the paradox of small municipalities’ reconstruction process in Abruzzo (Italy)

Grazia Di Giovanni


In 2009, Abruzzo Region was hit by a severe earthquake, which damaged the city of L’Aquila and other 56 minor municipalities already affected by trends of demographic and economic decline at the time of the disaster. This contribution focuses on the mid-term reconstruction of this “Seismic Crater” interpreted as a peculiar case in the scenario of Italian “inner areas”. The “National Strategy for Inner Areas” (SNAI) was launched by the Italian Government in 2014 with the purpose of enhancing local development in peripheral fragile municipalities, distant from major service hubs. A large majority of the Crater is included in the list of inner areas. Special post-earthquake legislation and SNAI share multiple goals, especially related to supporting local revitalization. L’Aquila’s territory represents an “anomaly” in the milieu of inner areas: the disaster worsened pre-existing conditions of marginalisation, but post-earthquake reconstruction and related funds offered uncommon resources to shape transformative patterns of development, cooperation and innovation.

Using a descriptive approach and focusing on purposes and contents of the Reconstruction Plans, the study questions the ongoing reconstruction process as an occasion to foster long-term socio-economic recovery, urban renewal, and innovative inter-municipal governance besides the rebuilding of urban fabrics in the light of SNAI.


Post-earthquake reconstruction, Inner Areas, Reconstruction Plans, inter-municipal cooperation, L’Aquila.

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ISSN: 2239-267X

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