Gibellina, Salaparuta, Poggioreale and Montevago: about built environment underutilization and possible urban future

Viviana Pappalardo, Francesco Martinico


Disasters like earthquakes affect dramatically the construction of place identity. Urban settlements generate complex social structures that are not just scenarios where the functioning of city takes place. “Interrupted landscapes” cannot be merely reconstructed. Post-earthquake reconstruction lies in between community social identity protection and urban planning approaches to renewal or rebuilding. This paper focuses on the four urban centres of Gibellina, Montevago, Salaparuta and Poggioreale that were reconstructed in a different place after the Belice’s earthquake (Western Sicily), occurred in 1968. After a brief review of the planning events that characterized the post-earthquake reconstruction, this paper analyses the built environment of these four settlements with regard to built up volumes, land uses and inhabitants. The most relevant outcome is an impressive underutilization of the reconstructed dwellings and evident trends of depopulation and ageing. Literature and data analysis suggest some critical consideration about the urban strategies adopted, the choices that managed the reconstruction, and the long-term effects caused by the 1968 event. The case studies presented here discuss the directions for the revitalisation of these area from a town planning perspective, taking into account the present and future challenges for resident communities and local authorities, encountering the risk of progressive abandonment of these settlements.


Belice Valley; rural landscape; post-earthquake reconstruction; urban planning

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X