Keywords: Impact of Earthquake; Emergency as policy style; Innovation and Participation; Local Development.
An entire city evacuated, thousands of people admitted to emergency facilities or transferred to the Adriatic coast; buildings destroyed, economic and social relationships seriously damaged. This was L'Aquila after the earthquake of April 2009. Instead of providing temporary shelter and a restoration program as soon as possible, some days after the disaster the National Civil Protection authority started an ambitious plan to provide the inhabitants with semi-permanent accommodation around the city, without any real involvement of local governments or communities. This article argues instead that public policies for the rebirth of the area should be based on participatory criteria, and considers the possibility that the reconstruction of the town could be an opportunity to test new models of organization and development of local society.