Instead of Building Up, Build Down
This week in the US, news reports fill the headlines with stories of devastation left by a recent string of tornadoes. Yet in among these sad accounts was one that really made me think. That thought begged to be shared with you.
In California, due to the propensity for earthquakes that have led to tremendous life and property loss, there is set in place strict building codes designed to lessen the likely hood of structure damage and collapse. Also, many of our older buildings, historical structures and freeways have been “retro-fitted” to enable them to maintain their structural integrity during a quake.
My thought is this. Could not the same be done in those states prone to tornadoes? Should not the building codes in “Tornado Alley” a region that stretches from Texas to South Dakota be altered to require the construction of homes and business that can withstand these powerful cyclonic forces.
A news story I read spoke of a family in Vilonia, Arkansas whose home is constructed under a hill. For those of you familiar with Tolkien’s The Hobbit you would recognize it as a hobbit hole. Made of three concrete sides and roof with front exposure, it looks quite house-like from the street. In actuality it is a bunker capable of withstanding tornado force winds which was proved once again over the last week when an EF3 (165 mile wind speed) tornado roared through Vilonia.
This type of technology isn’t new and it is readily available. So why are we not utilizing this design and designs like it to “tornado proof” our towns and cities – thus saving countess lives and preserving property? Should we not be building and re-building down – underground?
Just look at Montreal’s underground mall and the one in Atlanta which has unfortunately fallen into disrepair due to uninterested local politicians. These two are not the only examples but they are of the “too few”. The point is this; that it can and should be done.
Think about it. Instead of building up, build down!
Until tomorrow, Write On!
~ K. L. Parry