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Fault Lines: Earthquakes and Urbanism in Modern Italy

Abstract : I grew up in the shadow of the earthquake. The city where I was born, Messina, lies in one of the planet’s seismic hotspots, and a long time ago, a destructive earthquake wiped it out and killed many of its inhabitants. Strangely enough, I never felt a tremor during the eighteen years I spent there. The earthquake, however, was a constant presence in my life and in the lives of those around me. My parents experienced a strong earthquake before I was born, and one of their favorite tales was about my father reaching out for my mother during that seventies’ night. When the story invariably led to my question about the possibility of another one, they recalled the reassuring faith of my grandfather, an engineer, in the virtues of reinforced concrete. The earthquake’s influence, apart from that, was all over the city, in the very few traces of historic architecture as well as in the poor shantytowns hidden in too many corners. As our elders taught my friends and me, the beautiful city that Messina had once been was gone forever. The shanties remained as a shadow of the earthquake’s misery, almost one hundred years after its tragic visit. [Publisher's abstract]
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 11:19:41 AM
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Giacomo Parrinello. Fault Lines: Earthquakes and Urbanism in Modern Italy. Berghahn Books, pp.280, 2015, Environment in History: International Perspectives. ⟨hal-01527312⟩

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