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PM Matteo Renzi gets 10-year anti-seismic plan “Casa Italia” on its feet

by Massimo Frontera

“Casa Italia,” the national program for earthquakes’ prevention announced by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, focuses on two main fronts of intervention. The plan will set “standard” rules for the construction of new buildings, anti-earthquake safety and effective measures for two types of property: private apartments, characterized by fragmented ownership, and the public buildings of strategic importance.

The prime minister and Government Undersecretary Claudio De Vincenti met yesterday with all the players involved in the land and monument management.

Over 30 organizations participated in the meeting, coming from sectors such as research and university, public administrations and industry, environment associations and technical professions. These were invited by Renzi to present their proposals for “Casa Italia.” The implementation of the plan was assigned to the rector of Milan Polytechnic University, Giovanni Azzone.

The prime minister is aware that the program - necessarily on a long-term horizon: “ten years at least,” Renzi said - can be a catalyst of consensus and resources to boost the economy and the real estate sector in particular, in addition to the primary goal of embracing a culture of prevention and securing homes, public buildings, infrastructures and the territory.

De Vincenti called for a new meeting by the end of the month to discuss the proposals in detail and open a technical group with the involvement of the associations.

The issue of the resources remain. “Money is not a problem,” Renzi said last night at the Rai TV show Porta a Porta. “We have the money, but we need to spend it well and avoid that people pocket it and things are done randomly.”

“We need to value how much money is really needed based on the strategy put in place,” De Vincenti said.

It’s important to identify the priorities, prepare effective rules for designers and the public administration. “We will do this with architect Renzo Piano,” Project Manager Azzone said. “We will prepare the guidelines to execute the projects, but we will also work on standard plans that can serve as an example, either for new construction works, or for renovation.”

The models include anti-seismic, functional, nice schools, as well as public buildings for residential housing.

The plan includes the reorganization of information available on plans, programs and infrastructures in order to prioritize the measures.

The final goal is “the training of 60 million Italians,” Azzone said. An information campaign is necessary at all levels: from public officials to households.

Yesterday, several meetings at a ministerial and technical level took place at Palazzo Chigi to discuss the earthquake emergency and the reconstruction.

The government is preparing a decree to help the earthquake-hit population, empower and reorganize the structure of extraordinary commissioner Vasco Errani, manage public contracts and ensure transparency and health.

In order to accelerate the valuation of the damages and control the buildings, the government is drawing on the experience of the experts who worked in L’Aquila in 2009. Help to businesses will be based on the system tested in Emilia Romagna in 2012 which uses tax credit, with funding from banks and CDP.