QUAKE: 'New' L'Aquila will not be a 'ghetto', Premier says

Fri, 04/10/2009 - 10:38

Premier Silvio Berlusconi on Friday reiterated his idea of creating a ''new'' L'Aquila to flank the original devasted by Monday's quake, saying it would respect local architectural traditions.

The premier reassured a young engineer from L'Aquila that he had no plans to create a 'ghetto' but envisaged the 'new town' somewhat like the Milan suburb areas of Milano2 and Milano3.

Berlusconi was a construction entrepreneur who built the trendy Milan suburbs before investing in finance, sport and media.

''It'll be a new area for young couples without homes which will flank L'Aquila and will be conceived bearing in mind local architectural tradition''.

''What ghetto? It will fit in perfectly. Go check out Milano2 and Milano3 and see if they're ghettos,'' said the premier who stressed that the L'Aquila's mayor ''had requested a new town''.

Surveying the rubble on Wednesday, Berlusconi said ''L'Aquila has unfortunately become a ghost town''.

The premier's idea of creating a ''new'' L'Aquila has already been contested by some residents, centre-left politicians and architects.

''It isn't a matter of setting up an alternative (to L'Aquila) but building more houses, at lower costs and with up-to-date services which make cities more beautiful,'' he said, referring to expensive and lengthy renovations of old buildings.