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Magnitude  2010:  
Rebuilding  the  Future,  by  restoring  the  Past  
Gaby  Sadowski,  Eindhoven,  the  Netherlands  
Open  Innovation  Festival  2010  
Open  Innovation  Festival  Worldwide  2010  /  Magnitude  2010  

The  world  is  changing  dramatically.  Increasingly  we  have  new  tools  at  our  
disposal  that  allow  us  to  improve  our  work,  our  governmental  organizations  and  
our  lives.  In  2009,  the  five-­‐day  Open  Innovation  Festival  organized  by  the  city  of  
Amsterdam  showed  that  we  have  the  expertise  as  well  as  the  technique  to  
improve  our  neighborhoods  and  your  cities.    
However,  it  is  essential  to  acknowledge  the  possibilities  we  have  at  hand.  We  
have  to  open  up  ourselves  in  order  to  open  up  our  society.  Furthermore,  we  have  
to  invest  in  our  personal  skills.  If  we  start  using  all  available  expertise,  ideas  and  
creative  talent,  within  and  outside  our  organizations,  we  can  accomplish  the  
fundamental  changes  our  society  needs.  Sometimes,  people  need  help.  The  Open  
Innovation  Festival  (OIF)  shows  that  numerous  people  are  ready  and  willing  to  
help  if  necessary.  OIF  shows  that  it  is  possible  to  create  an  unimaginable  amount  
of  value  and  positive  energy  without  thinking  in  terms  of  finance.  Combining  the  
available  creativity,  enthusiasm  and  knowledge  can  lead  to  results  once  
considered  impossible.  
In  2010,  the  Open  Innovation  Festival  will  be  launched  worldwide  (November  29  
-­‐  December  3,  2010).  We  ask  citizens,  organizational  institution  and  companies  
to  join  forces  and  make  innovation  happen  in  this  week.  The  sky  is  the  limit,  or  
maybe  even  beyond.    
In  different  countries  all  over  the  world  festivals  will  be  hosted.  The  program  of  
the  festival  will  be  put  together  by  different  cities  themselves.  These  city  festivals  
will  put  emphasis  on  the  strengths  and  identity  of  the  city,  based  on  different  
kind  of  workshops;  sessions,  exhibitions,  showcases,  discussions,  networking  
events  etc  can  be  expected.  The  cities  will  be  connected  through  live-­‐stream  

One  of  the  main  themes  of  the  festival  will  be  co-­‐creation/crowd-­‐sourcing:  How  
can  citizens,  companies  and  government  join  forces  in  order  to  meet  the  
challenges  in  for  instance  Safety,  Mobility,  Well-­‐being,  Environment,  and  E-­‐
inclusion  in  our  cities?  How  can  innovation  help  to  transform  challenges  into  

Aim  of  this  memo    

The  goal  of  this  memo  is  to  ask  for  concrete  contribution  for  the  festival  that  will  
take  place  from  the  29th  November  until  the  3rd    December.  We  focus  and  
highlight  one  of  the  central  projects  with  international  allure,  in  which  we  seek  
all  kinds  of  contributions.  The  project  is  called:  Rebuilding  the  Future,  by  
restoring  the  Past.  

The  context:  Restoring  the  future,  by  rebuilding  the  past:  L’Aquila    
L’Aquila  -­  highlights  of  a  city  

L’Aquila   (ca.   73.000   inhabitants)   is   a   city   of   central   Italy,   capital   of   the   Region  
Abruzzo.  It  is  situated  on  a  721  meters  hillside  within  a  narrow  valley  between  
the   Gran   Sasso   d’Italia   (2914   meters)   (the   peak   of   Appenine   chain)   and   the  
Velino-­‐Sirente  chain  (2487  meters)  and  their  homonym  national  parks.  

The  history  of  L’Aquila  is  made  up  of  times  of  both  prosperity  and  decadence  due  
to  the  alternation  of  conflicts  and  foreign  dominations,  and  times  of  flourishing  
commercial   relationships   also   with   different   cities   and   countries   (e.g.   Florence  
and   Venice   as   well   as   France,   Holland   and   Germany),   which   made   L’Aquila   the  
second   city   of   the   Reign   of   Naples   after   Naples   itself.   The   foundation   of   a  
University   in   1458   and   the   establishment   of   typography   by   the   Gutenberg’s  
apprentice,   Adam   from   Rottweil,   in   1482   contributed   to   a   cultural   growth  
throughout   all   the   Middle   Age   and   up   till   one   of   the   major   earthquake   the   city  
suffered  (1703).  
In   fact,   the   history   of   the   city   has   been   profoundly   affected   by   recursive   strong  
earthquakes  (e.g.  1315,  1349,  1461,  1646,  1672,  1703),  which  brought  death  and  
destruction  as  slowed  down  its  expansion  and  level  of  richness  imposing  to  the  
citizens  enormous  efforts.  The  re-­‐building  of  the  city  has  always  been  promoted  
by   the   Church   or   the   States   it   belonged   to   for   its   strategic   position,   cultural  
heritage  and  relevance  in  commercial  dealings.  The  reconstruction  of  destroyed  
or   heavily   damaged   buildings,   churches   and   monuments   has   often   been   done  
following   the   different   current   architectonic   techniques   allowing   the  
stratification  of  styles.    
The  earthquake  of  April  6th,  2009  
During   the   night   of   April   6th   2009   at   3.32   a.m.   local   time,   an   earthquake   of   6.3  
magnitude  struck  central  Italy  with  epicenter  in  L’Aquila.  The  existence  of  many  
faults   in   its   underneath   geological   structure,   the   fact   that   the   city   lays   on   a  
Pleistocene   lake-­‐bed   that   amplifies   seismic   activity   and   the   age   of   the   city   (as  
well  as  the  existence  of  modern  buildings  not  “quake-­‐proof”)  made  the  event  of  
greater   impact   on   people   and   infrastructures   as   well   as   its   cultural   heritage.  
Several   buildings   collapsed,   308   people   died,   65.000   people   became   homeless  
and   all   the   social   and   cultural   activities   suddenly   stopped.   The   city   center  
(estimated   as   the   larger   historical   city   center)   was   declared   red   zone   and   the  
access   to   it   interdicted.   The   same   happened   to   the   medieval   villages   in   the  
surroundings   bringing   up   to   130.000   the   number   of   people   to   be   assisted   for  
daily  necessities.  

After   one   and   a   half   years,   the   city   center   of   L’Aquila   is   still   closed   though   Fire  
Brigades  are  constantly  and  proudly  working  to  put  buildings  in  safety  with  the  
most   modern   techniques.   Until   people   will   not   be   able   to   access   and   live   the   city  
itself,   to   enjoy   its   cultural   treasures   and   meeting   points,   cinemas,   theaters,  
narrow   medieval   streets   and   open   squares   and   till   they   will   not   be   able   to   live  
their  daily  life,  they  will  remain  deprived  of  their  identity  and  background.    
The  General  Idea:  

While  during  the  OIF  festival  every  country  is  finding  solutions  for  its  own  
challenges,  it  would  be  a  great  idea  to  combine  forces  all  over  the  world  in  order  
to  come  up  with  a  solution  for  the  enormous  social  and  economical  challenge  
L’Aquila  is  facing  for  over  more  than  one  and  a  half  year  now.  Rebuilding  takes  
time,  money  and  efforts.  The  loss  of  a  city  (not  forgetting  about  the  loss  of  people  
during  the  earthquake)  brings  along  feelings  of  sadness  and  the  lack  of  hope.  
Just  imagine:  is  it  possible  for  the  world  to  put  L’Aquila  back  on  the  map?  Not  by  
sending  money,  but  by  making  a  real  contribution.  Combing  our  virtual  and  
physical  forces?  In  a  first  and  quick  step,  we  want  to  rebuild  L’Aquila  in  a  virtual  
manner,  using  innovative  techniques  This  will  provide  the  room  for  a  shift  up  
leading  to  our  main  goal,  that  is  the  restructuring  (with  quake-­‐proof  techniques)  
of  publicly-­‐owned  buildings  and  spaces.  A  specific  attention  will  also  be  put  on  
the  integration  of  new  communications  infrastructures  (e.g.  fiber  networks)  and  
green  technologies  to  achieve  high  standards  of  environmental  sustainability  and  
improve  efficacy  and  efficiency  in  the  provision  of  public  services.    

The  Virtual  idea:  

While  all  the  citizens  of  L’Aquila  are  now  living  outside  their  city  (waiting  for  
L’Aquila  to  be  safe  again),  they  still  feel  strongly  connected  to  their  city.  I  use  the  
image  of  Alberto  her.  He  was  born  in  L’Aquila,  he  was  raised  there.  He  now  lives  
in  Eindhoven  and  works  as  a  post-­‐doc  researcher  at  the  Eindhoven  University  of  
Technology  (TU/e).  He  carries  around  his  notebook  and  Iphone  full  with  pictures  
of  his  hometown.  How  beautiful  it  used  to  be  and  how  it  looks  now:  like  a  ghost  

In  order  to  give  L’Aquila  back  to  its  citizens  a  first  step  would  be:  rebuilding  
L’Aquila  in  a  virtual  manner.  

- Using  Augmented  Reality  

- Using  Layer-­‐app  
- Using  live-­‐stream/webcam  images  
- Virtually  rebuilding  some  of  the  identifying  buildings  of  L’Aquila.  

Why?  A  virtual  place  can  be  a  place  where  people  of  L’Aquila  can  meet  each  
other.  Community  building  will  take  place.  People  can  share  their  feelings  about  
the  earthquake;  people  can  share  stories  and  pictures.  It  will  give  them  back  a  
sense  of  presence.  
A  challenge  for  the  Innovation  festival  would  be:  develop  tools  or  mechanisms  to  
re-­‐vivid  this  city  in  a  virtual  manner.  Develop  tools  and  mechanisms  to  form  
communities  in  order  to  stimulate  cooperation  in  L’Aquila.    

The  Physical  Idea  

Of  course,  rebuilding  the  city  in  a  virtual  manner  is  a    “fast-­‐solution”.    It  does  not  
give  back  their  houses  for  the  inhabitants.  People  can  meet  virtually  around  the  
marketplace,  but  it  does  not  allow  people  to  sit  in  L’Aquila  and  enjoy  the  food  
and  the  wine  together.  
So,  another  challenge  within  this  project  is  to  come  up  with  innovative  ideas  
about  the  physical  rebuilding  of  this  city.  A  way  to  organize  this  is,  would  be  
through  a  worldwide  co-­‐creation  event:  combing  skills,  expertise  and  power  
from  thinkers  (and  students  as  well)  from  all  over  the  world,  with  different  
backgrounds.    Keeping  in  mind  the  identity  of  the  city  (which  you  can  learn  from  
the  virtual  community),    its  historical  background  and  all  the  new  insights  about:    

- Earthquake  proof  construction  methods  

- Sustainability  insights  
- Energy  reducing  technologies  
- Broadband  opportunities  
- Light  
- Smart  living  
- Healthy  aging  
- Etc.  

The  framework  of  rebuilding  

Of  course,  we  have  to  stay  realistic  about  the  rebuilding  of  L’Aquila  as  a  whole.  It  
will  be  too  expensive  and  too  big  for  just  this  project!  Neither  it  will  fit  the  main  
scope  of  our  project.  We  do  not  intend  to  finance  the  rebuilding  of  some  private  
buildings  to  detriment  of  others  since  it  will  briong  to  a  substantial  inequality  of  
treatment  for  the  citizens  of  L’Aquila.  Thereafter,  the  restoration  of  private  
buildings  will  be  probably  financed  by  the  Italian  central  government  itself.  
This  is  the  main  reason  leading  to  concentrate  our  attention  of  the  possibility  to  
rebuild  a  publicly-­‐owned  area(close  to  the  worldwide  known  Collemaggio  
Church),  which  used  to  host  many  of  laboratories  and  services  of  the  local  Public  
Health  Agency.  In  that  area,  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Images  was  placed  before  
April  6th  2009.  Such  an  environment  would  easily  entail  the  necessity  of  planning  
a  full  restoration  of  buildings  with  quakeproof  techniques,  the  creation  of  a  high  
speed  communication  system  (e.g.  fibre  networks)  and  the  creation  of  a  real  
experimentation  platform  for  e-­‐health  and  e-­‐government  services.  

Besides,  this  area  is  fully  publicly  owned  and  requires  no  special  supervision  by  
the  Committee  of  Arts  since  there  a  no  historicllay-­‐vincolated  buildings  to  be  
A  focus  on  this  area  could  increase  chances  of  success  in  terms  of  municipality  
commitment  and  streamline  the  collaboration  between  L’Aquila  and  other  
municipalities  like  Eindhoven.      

A  form  of  “adoption”  of  a  system  of  buildings  in  a  homogeneous  area  could  be  
one  of  the  possible  forms  to  involve  private  companies  in  the  rebuilding  

Enough  Ideas:  how  to  implement  them?  Living  Lab  L’Aquila  

For  that,  of  course,  we  need  sponsors.  Especially,  companies  willing  to  lay  down  
some  showcases  in  L’Aquila.    
What  if  we  look  at  L’Aquila  as  a  living  lab?  A  living  lab  is  a  new  way  of  innovation  
in  which  different  partners  in  the  chain  (from  developer  till  the  end-­‐user)  work  
together  in  order  to  innovate  and  getting  things  done.  In  most  cases  tools,  
innovatons  and  solutions  are  developed  and  tested  in    their  original  surrounding,  
in  this  case  L’Aquila  itself    will  be  the  laboratory.  
From  a  EU  context,  Living  Labs  are  highly  appreciated  and  stimulated  as  a  crucial  
layer  of/for  our  new  economy.    (Strengthening  innovation  and  investment  in  
For  companies,  this  living  lab  will  be  a  great  surrounding  to  pitch  their  new  ideas  
and  solutions.  Experts  from  all  over  the  world  can  show  their  latest  insights  on  
construction  and  other  themes.  
What  I  left  out:  

I  left  something  out,  because  I’m  aware  this  is  the  biggest  challenge:  (but  it  
wouldn’t  be  fair  to  hide  it)  Internet  access  in  and  around  L’Aquila  is  lacking  or  
difficult.  Reaching  out  to  L’Aquila  using  social  networks  will  be  extremely  

From  the  inhabitants  of  L’Aquila  we  wish  to  receive  as  much  input  as  possible  
about  the  rebuilding  of  the  city.  Our  hope  is  to  join  the  already  existing  
communities,  listen  to  them  and  integrate  their  needs  into  our  challenge.  New  
communities  can  also  be  created  to  make  citizens  closer  and  better  connected  to  
companies  and  institutes  involved  in  this  voluntary  project  to  restore  L’Aquila.In  
order  to  make  a  community-­‐wide  collaboration  real    ,  we  will  arrange  online  
sessions  and  meetings  with  the  city  of  L’Aquila.  This  process  of  cooperation  and  
developing  trust  should  enfold  and  grow  during  the  project.  

Join  us!?  
As  you  have  seen  this  L’Aquila  project  contains  many  sub-­‐projects.  Please  think  
about  what  you  can  contribute  to  in  order  to  rebuild  this  city:  virtually  or  
physically.  (In  terms  of  ideas,  hands  of  money)  

Visit  us  at:  


For  questions:    

- Gaby  Sadowski,  tel.  06-­‐13927926  E-­‐mail:  -­‐    


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