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jul 14

Google, in partnership with the city of L'Aquila and the National Association of Emigrated Families (A.N.F.E.), has launched a new website using digital technologies to contribute to the pending reconstruction of the devastated Italian city of L’Aquila following the earthquake in April 2009. 

People can upload old images of the city with their life stories as well as images after the earthquake. They can also help modelling the city in 3D to inspire its future physical reconstruction. 

British architect Barnaby Gunning led a team of more than 400 volunteers who, over the course of 7 weekends between September and October 2010, took photos documenting every single building in the historic centre of L'Aquila. Over 50.000 photographs are now available in an interactive map that can be used to model the city. Using some free tools such as Google Sketch Up and Google Building Maker people from all over the world can create the 3D models. Training workshops were organised and tutorial videos are also available online. There is even a community of people on Facebook participating to the project where you can look at some of the pictures and follow developments. 


"The ultimate aim is to see this city revived and restored to life because a city is not just made of buildings, a city is made of people, and here the people are missing…The 3D model may be astract but it gives us an understanding of how we can bring life back to the city. This is the ultimate objective" said Gunning speaking from L'Aquila.

Europa Nostra has been campaigning in support of L'Aquila, in partnership with its member organisation Italia Nostra. EN President Plácido Domingo launched an appeal in September 2010 and said: “It is very, very sad. The people have not only lost their houses, they are in danger of losing their memory and the roots which are connected to this historic city. This is not only about stones, it is about people. The inhabitants of L'Aquila are not looking to find a new city in which to live; they wish their historic city to be restored in order that they can come back to live there where their ancestors have been living for centuries”.