Thanks to this disturbing study and the tragic, recent events in Italy, I've reverted back to one of my childhood hang-ups: An overwhelming fear of earthquakes. I live in New York City — where there are plenty of other things to scare the bejesus out of me — but as a native of the Pacific Northwest who grew up in the shadow of two active volcanoes in the Ring of Fire, chatter of seismic activity puts me on edge.

Here's an interesting video clip from the University of Nevada, Reno, showing how a small home built from straw can withstand violent earth-generated tremors. Earth-friendly and earthquake-proof? I'll take one.

The homes, in fact, aren't being built and tested for use in North America, but are being constructed as part of a project that aims to bring affordable, safe, and energy-efficient houses built from locally sourced materials to developing nations where residents have no means of protecting their homes against violent earthquakes. These homes, specifically, have already been built by civil engineer Darcey Donovan in Pakistan, site of the catastrophic Kashmir Earthquake of 2005.

After watching the clip, read about the eco-benefits of building with straw bale at Green Home Building, TreeHugger, Chelsea Green and Balewatch.

Via [Trend Hunter]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Earth- and earthquake-friendly housing
Have a case of the earthquake jitters? Watch this video that shows how a sustainable straw house stands up against the big one.