On May 4th, 2007, an EF-5 tornado hit Greensburg, Kansas, resulting in a tragic loss of life, displacing more than 1,500 residents and destroying 95 percent of the townâs homes and businesses. At the request of former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius, BNIM became involved in the comprehensive master plan efforts for the rebuilding of the town. With guidence from the Planning Team, this agricultural community based their recovery strategy on their respect for the land and a rededication to future generations. In the wake of this terrible disaster, the community rallied around a vision of a sustainable future.
The Greensburg Sustainable Comprehensive Master Plan goes beyond disaster recovery and aims to overcome population decline and a struggling economy. Plan recommendations follow a triple bottom line philosophy that balances the cityâs social, environmental and economic needs. The rebuilding effort also represents an opportunity to create a replicable model for the sustainable rural community of the future.On December 17, 2007, Greensburgâs City Council became the first city in the country to adopt a resolution that all city projects would be built to LEED Platinum standards and would exceed the baseline code for energy efficiency by 42 percent. Greensburg will soon be home to the state of Kansasâ first 7 LEED platinum facilities.
During the recovery effort, the public involvement process emerged as one of the most important factors that led to a unified community vision and goals, high performance design and successful implementation. Over 300 people gathered under a large tent raised on the east edge of town, eager to share their ideas for rebuilding. The tent remained a community gathering space throughout the recovery process, hosting several design workshops, community meetings, and even Sunday morning church service.