, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 93–108 | Cite as

Opportunities and challenges in rebuilding tornado-impacted Greensburg, Kansas as “stronger, better, and greener”

  • Bimal Kanti PaulEmail author
  • Deborah Che


A May 2007 tornado destroyed 95% of aging, declining Greensburg, Kansas. The city took the opportunity to build back “stronger, better, and greener,” enforcing upgraded codes, requiring city-owned buildings to meet LEED Platinum level standards, and recommending energy-efficiency housing in a new Sustainable Comprehensive Plan. Using information collected from surveys of Greensburg tornado survivors, interviews, and publications, we examined the housing-related recovery, including the emergency provision of temporary shelter and rebuilding permanently. Although temporary shelter kept residents nearby for rebuilding, given the gap between insurance policy limits on the aging housing stock and rebuilding costs, housing affordability is a critical issue in Greensburg’s recovery. Local, state, and federal support have made construction of municipal buildings at LEED Platinum level and some affordable and green housing projects possible. However, far greater public and private sector funding for affordable workforce housing, in conjunction with broader economic and job development, is needed.


Going green Platinum certification level Energy efficient Sustainable development Greensburg Rebuilding Housing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.School of Public PolicyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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