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I can’t imagine losing my home to an act of God, but all of my neighbors, my entire town losing theirs at the same time, is just beyond comprehension. That’s what happened to Greensburg, KS on May 4th of last year when it was hit by a Cat 5 tornado. 95% of the town was wiped out. In rebuilding, the town has decided to create for themselves a more energy-efficient, sustainable, “eco-friendly” community they hope will serve as a model for other towns faced with a similar natural disaster reboot, or those building/re-building under less apocalyptic circumstances.

Greensburg, Kansas: Extraordinary Transformation

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


  • BigD145

    They’re rebuilding above ground? They build their storm shelter below ground level, but they just can’t seem to make the connection to do the same with their homes and businesses. At the very least, they wouldn’t require much heating or cooling throughout the year. Some people just don’t learn.

  • Cody

    Well, it’s nice but not totally out of the blue for an entire community to want to come back green… it’s getting to be more mainstream..
    but you’d be pretty hard pressed to convince them ALL to live in holes in the ground.
    In this community that’s not odd sounding at all, but most people have never even heard of such a thing… you just have to respect that they’ve come this far w/out being that interested in it like the rest of us are.

  • Michael

    A tornado in Kansas? That’s seems pretty far fetched to me.

    They wouldn’t even need to live in holes in the ground, but yer standard square box is just fodder for tornadoes. You’d think after rebuilding every year, they’d think a design change is necessary.

    I also find it funny that the community is rebuilding their town with “intelligent design”…