Friday, August 27, 2010

The Rebuilt Greensburg, Kansas

Between visits to the outsider artists of Kansas, we made a stop at the town of Greensburg.

Completely destroyed by a tornado in May 2007, the people of Greensburg have rebuilt as a "green" town -- all new buildings are LEED-certified and the town will generate its own electricity from wind and solar. A nonprofit organization called Greensburg GreenTown supports and furthers this cause.

Heading into town... those are LED street lights.

The new downtown, with prairie grasses planted along the street.

A statement built into one of the new buildings.

While there, we noticed a set of small cube-like buildings on one block, and then this sign. So we stopped to check it closer.

Four cubes were built in 2008 by architecture students from Kansas State University, each to demonstrate a different principle of green building. I was fascinated by this one, called the WateringCAN.

The siding is discarded printing plates. The inside wall finishes are reused slate chalk boards.

The cube contains a shower (water heated by a solar panel), composting toilet and hand-washing sink.

As the sign outside says, "After the tornado, Greensburg spent over $10,000 on portable toilets in less than one month. For financial and environmental reasons, other means of dealing with waste should be identified. Kansas State recognized this as an opportunity to showcase rainwater collection systems, a composting toilet, solar heated shower, and hand-wash station and greywater use on site. The WateringCAN provides an educational service on the latest ecotechnologies and a functional demonstration for the town of Greensburg."

The town felt like a not-always-comfortabe amalgam of environmentalism and Kansan normalcy. This sign from the edge of town captures the defiance of the residents:

Sign reading We Will Rebuild, showing Calvin peeing on a tornado
After all, there's nothing like a peeing Calvin graphic to unite a town.


Linda Myers said...

Very cool! Thanks for sharing this.

Unemployed Dragon said...

Thank you for this DN3! I've been fascinated by Greensburg and the idea of being able to consciously and thoughtfully build a town.