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The effects of earthquakes in historical cities: the peculiarity of the Italian case

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Author(s): E. Guidoboni | G. Ferrari

Journal: Annals of Geophysics
ISSN 1593-5213

Volume: 43;
Issue: 4;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Historical cities | seismic hazard | seismic disaster

ABSTRACT
Knowledge of the urban seismic scenario raises complex elements for technical and cultural consideration which may improve the analysis of the conservation and restoration of historical buildings and monuments. These elements cover various specialised viewpoints, from historical seismology and the history of architecture and town planning, to engineering and economic and social history. In this paper we have outlined a conceptual framework based on three aspects. First, the definition of seismic disaster which is the result of the interaction between the activity of seismogenetic sources and the characteristics of buildings. The next aspect is the characteristic proper to strong earthquakes as factors of change, sometimes of entire settlements. Thirdly, we have stressed the fact that one must take into consideration the variety of administrative and economic situations in the Italian territory from the fall of the Roman Empire to date as they may have important implications for the analysis of the effects of a large earthquake on the human environment. The demographic impact of earthquakes is historically correlated to the economic condition of the damaged sites. The urbanistic consequences are addressed once the problems concerning the planning of the reconstruction and its accomplishment are solved. Finally, we have tackled the problem of seismic events of a lower destructive level in the art and tourist cities.

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