Melodee Colbert-Kean, the president of the National League of Cities and city council member and former mayor of Joplin, Missouri, discussed the process of rebuilding her city in the wake of the 2011 tornadoes that destroyed large parts of the city.
As people began to rebuild, there was a greater emphasis placed on the sustainability of Joplin. This meant green trails, sustainable buildings and solar energy.
While not completely recovered, Joplin continues to work toward becoming as good as, and then better than it was. One example of a simple, but important effort to help the city recover? The trees were all torn out of the ground by the tornadoes. Now the town is giving away free trees to residents.
In sustainably rebuilding Joplin, it is also becoming a nicer place to live.
“Now we have trails, we have bike lanes, we have green pocket parks,” Colbert-Kean said. “(People) are migrating back to cities and they are looking for these amenities.”