Out of the Rubble and Towards a Sustainable Future: The “Greening” of Greensburg, Kansas
Following a devastating tornado there in 2007, the tiny city of Greensburg, Kansas has engaged in a sustainability-oriented recovery process through which it hopes to serve as a model for other communities planning for a sustainable future. This article uses innovation theory to consider how and why the sustainability focus emerged in Greensburg and to explore the potential transferability of those factors to other contexts. An analysis of 535 newspaper articles reveals key factors as: the shared vision of persistent local leaders, the framing of sustainability as an “opportunity” with an energy efficiency focus, community pride and resilience, and a “clean slate” rebuilding effort with substantial available funding. While Greensburg’s future is intimately connected to the specifics of its recent past, the analysis does reveal lessons that other communities can draw from in crafting sustainability plans of their own.
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