The transformative potential of a disaster: A contextual analysis of the 1882 flood in Verona, Italy
Roberta Biasillo and Marco Armiero´s article in the Journal of Historical Geography is now available online
At this link the paper can be freely downloaded until January 23.
This article explores institutional responses to and societal understandings of the 1882 Adige flood in northern Italy, which particularly affected the city of Verona. The article investigates the transformative power of that disaster on a national scale in terms of forest policy and at a city level in terms of water management and urban planning. After the flood, an extensive programme of works aiming to contain and discipline both the river and its adjacent city dwellers coexisted with the launch of forest conservation and reforestation plans. This flood and its recovery phase incorporated and materialized the early Italian state's relationship to the natural world. We interpret the flood as providing an opportunity for redirecting Italy's local and national flood management strategies, triggering an explicit awareness of the interrelation between lowlands and highlands and enhancing modernization processes in many respects. Despite its historical and symbolic relevance, this flood has not yet been fully researched and poses crucial questions about ways of organising and selectively obliterating collective memories of disasters.