Reconstructing Urban Value after Disaster

The idea that disasters become an opportunity is almost a cliché; what we never know is who or what will benefit from it. Based on the debates following the 1906 earthquake in Valparaíso, this text argues that when a city is ruined and decisions to rebuild must be taken, the difference between what is valued and what is not is clearly shown.

After the 1906 earthquake, Valparaíso was reborn from its ruins as a new city, showing a vision of the urban that valued certain aspects of the territory over others. However, this study reveals that the process of reviving the ‘sense of place’ that the earthquake destroyed does not always translate into an attempt to restore that which is lost: it can also be motivated by a desire to build something total or partially different. In other words, urban destruction presents itself as an opportunity to rethink the value not only of the city, but also of its experience and its meaning.

Este texto se encuentra publicado en inglés y en español. Reference: Gil, Magdalena (2017) “The Reconstruction of value after the Valparaíso earthquake of 1906,” ARQ 97, pp. 78-89.

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