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Earthquake in the city: the people yet to come


  • Paolo Cardullo


  • Margherita Russo



The paper starts a critical reflection on the effects of disasters on urban change. It is a compendium of the discussions, meetings and fieldworks of the research team Energie Sisma Emilia at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. The fieldwork included a one-day walking-and-photographs (April 2015) in the town centre of Mirandola. This is one of the towns that Energie Sisma Emilia chose to evaluate since it was heavily affected by the earthquakes of May 2012. The working research question concerns post-disaster city change and possible gentrification of old town centres. Migrants-counted as much as one third of the resident population in our case study-found a sanctuary of affordable rents in old town centre of Mirandola, prior to its reconstruction. From discourse analysis of planning documents, there is a sense that a certain imaginary city was already in place before the earthquake. If this is the case, we consider the possibility that post-disaster politics might be determinant in displacement of migrant population. The paper begins by looking at three frameworks drawn from the 'Sociology of Disasters' and by making a tempting parallel with three analytical perspectives on cities: city as a container, city of assemblages, and city as a futurity. In the central part, it opens to gentrification debate and to the multiple dimensions of urban displacement. The field notes and photographs of the walk in Mirandola are discussed at the end as very first empirical findings or, rather, initial scoping for a longitudinal research endeavour.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Cardullo & Margherita Russo, 2015. "Earthquake in the city: the people yet to come," Center for the Analysis of Public Policies (CAPP) 0123, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:cappmo:0123

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    More about this item


    Sociology of Disasters; Regional Economics; Gentrification; Displacement;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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