Green Communities

Straw + Simplicity = Quake Resistance

April 6, 2009, New York Times By Andrew C. Revkin

The powerful earthquake in central Italy is a reminder that we’re floating on dynamic plates of earth. Vulnerable communities, from Oregon to Istanbul, face the task of limiting losses from inevitable disasters even as they deal with today’s challenges.

Darcey Donovan has joined the swelling ranks of engineers and scientists with a passion for helping build resilience in such places. Her inspiration was the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Her goal was to create a way to build quake-resistant houses in poor rural regions using local materials. Her material of choice, in the end, was straw.