Of course I knew about the earthquake in Christchurch two years ago, but I wasn’t prepared to what I saw arriving at the bus exchange. The conditions of the CBD are truly shocking.
The ReStart Mall really helps, practically and psychologically. I went changing some currency at the bank, went shopping for outdoor equipment, had lunch. The ReStart makes you feel better, the Restart is good, I am sorry for the legal problems with the BoxPark in London and I don’t mind cargotecture is not exactly an original ideal.
Nothing like that is happening in post-earthquake Italy in terms of urban development or civil engagement. In L’Aquila people were forced (literally) to move to newly built satellite towns (with all the well known social drawbacks), while the center remains a ghost town after three years. Where I live, a relatively rich area, people have fled to second houses during the seismic swarm, and are now busy renewing their own houses by themselves. There have been many initiatives to raise money (in some cases it was clear where the money would actually go, in other cases it was not clear at all), but there is no place for communal projects, and apparently no interest in them, despite the communist background we’re supposed to have here.