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[DESIGN]Friday: Crazy home building materials

June 24, 2011 - 4:11pm

Natural Home and Garden found some pretty crazy examples for their "10 Homes Made of the Darndest Things" - including a home made out of pallets, a temple made out of beer bottles, and a hotel made from a Boeing 727. Here are our favorites from their list:

A two bedroom hotel suite in a Boeing 727:

A Buddhist temple made of 1 million green Heineken and brown Chang beer bottles:

This architect-designed home is made of repurposed pallets, train rails, and recycled aluminum:

Spherical meditation treehouses are made from local wood and are suspended from the tree canopy on Vancouver Island:

See more here.

Ticketed for not staying in the bike lane, NYC cyclist points out what's wrong with the system. [Video]

June 9, 2011 - 12:03pm



As a way to protest the ticket he got for not staying in the bike lane, Casey Neistat points out the many obstructions that often block the New York City bike lanes, including taxis, garbage cans, construction cones, and even...cop cars.

Found at Holykaw.alltop.com.

'This Old House' names Prospect Park as one of the Best Old House Neighborhoods in the Midwest

June 6, 2011 - 4:57pm


This Old House magazine has put together a list of the "Best Old House Neighborhoods" across the country, which includes "64 timeless neighborhoods in the U.S. and Canada where the historic homes have extraordinary pasts and unarguably promising futures."

Among the top 15 in the entire Midwest is the Prospect Park neighborhood in Minneapolis. Its well-maintained gardens, its eclectic residents, and the multitude of historic homes give this neighborhood its appeal. And its location smack dab in the middle of Minneapolis and St Paul make it the ultimate in convenience and culture.

Find out more about Prospect Park here.
See the full list of their "Best Old House Neighborhoods".

Do you live in Prospect Park? What do you love about it? Leave us a comment on Facebook or Twitter.


Architect Barbie needs help designing her new Green Dream Home...

May 26, 2011 - 4:41pm


Mattel has teamed up with the AIA (American Institute of Architects) to unveil the "Architect Barbie Dream House Design Competition" - where architects have the opportunity to design a new Green Dream Home just for Architect Barbie! Oh, you didn't realize there was an Architect Barbie? Well, there is. She's new! And stylish...with her skyline dress, ankle boots, and trendy black glasses (which she doesn't seem to actually wear on her face). She's also got a hard hat, a scale model Dream Home, and a blueprint holder.

So what does Architect Barbie want in her new Green Dream Home? Well, along with the most sophisticated sustainable design principles, it's also got to be stylish. (She is Barbie, after all.) She has some other pretty specific demands, though - including:

- A spacious home office with hi-tech gadgets, where she can practice her 125 other careers.
- A ginormous closet for her "unlimited fashions".
- A top-of-the-line kitchen and huge entertaining space where her friends can mingle.
- A backyard big enough for her five pets (which include a giraffe).
- And finally, her house must be on the ocean. (Location, location, location!)

Any architect willing to take on all of those demands AND make it sustainable will have to be a miracle-worker, I think. But it's not like this is the real world, right? As the AIA reminds the contestants, "Remember not to take it too seriously — Barbie is a doll after all! Just think pink and you’ll do fine."

NYC's new bike safety ad campaign: "Don't Be A Jerk!"

May 12, 2011 - 1:27pm

New York City's "Don’t Be A Jerk" bike safety ad campaign is meant to "humorously highlight the essential do's and don’ts of safe, responsible biking." Their videos (watch them all here) feature celebrities like John Leguizamo breaking common cycling laws, with pedestrians telling them exactly what they think of them. This ad campaign is part of NYC's Bike Smart initiative, which reminds cyclists to follow these basic rules of safety:

1. Yield to pedestrians.
2. Stop at red lights and stop signs.
3. Ride in the direction of traffic.
4. Stay off the sidewalk.
5. Use a white front light and red tail light at night.

Now, the eco-site Grist.org isn't a big fan of these ads because they think they'll encourage more bike vs. pedestrian animosity, and ignore the countless drivers and pedestrians alike who also break common traffic laws. (You have to admit, there are plenty of drivers out there who could use a refresher course in those same five rules above.)

What do you think? Do you think Minneapolis needs a similar ad campaign to help keep safe our growing cycling community? Or maybe, as Grist suggests, a safety campaign that doesn't single out cyclists but applies to everyone - walkers, bikers, and drivers alike?

Leave us a comment on Facebook or Twitter!

The Bicycle Craze of the 1890's

May 9, 2011 - 2:47pm


This great little article by the Southwest Minneapolis Patch is all about bike culture in Minneapolis...but not the bike culture as you know it now, but the bike craze of the 1890's. From "scorchers" and "wheelmen" to the impact of bicycles on the streetcar industry, you'll probably learn quite a bit about the original Twin Cities bike culture. Here are some good tidbits from the article:

In 1896 Susan B. Anthony said, “the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.”

Social columns kept track of who had just purchased a bicycle, as well as who was learning to ride a bike and what injuries they had acquired in doing so.

In Minneapolis, many of the cycling paths built to accommodate the bike craze are still around today. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board built paths along Kenwood Parkway, Lake Harriet, and Minnehaha Creek in the 1890’s.

Bicyclists formed the League of American Wheelmen in order to lobby for better conditions. Many of the first paved roads in the United States were paved to facilitate better bicycling conditions.

Read the full article here.



"Open Streets" comes to Lyndale Avenue in June!

April 28, 2011 - 12:31pm


On Sunday June 12 from 10am to 2pm, 20 blocks of Lyndale Avenue will be closed to car traffic as part of a new "Open Streets" event. This event will give people "the opportunity to explore and enjoy their neighborhood streets by biking, walking, and skating without the presence of motorized traffic." There will also be on-street events like music, bike classes, and games. The event is based on the Ciclovía in Bogotá, Colombia, where every Sunday the city's main streets are blocked off for pedestrians and bikes.

What a great way to interact with community and to enjoy the commerce of Lyndale on your own two feet (or wheels)!

Here's a link to the Facebook event.

Green Patriot Posters campaign inspires to build a sustainable economy.

April 20, 2011 - 4:39pm


Green Patriot Posters is a campaign to inspire people to build a sustainable economy, drawing inspiration from classic WWII-era posters. All of the posters were submitted by the public, and you can submit your own design right on the website. We've shared some of our favorite submissions here, but check out their poster page to see more. You can even buy an art book of the poster collection!

Amazing self-sharpening pencil!

April 18, 2011 - 4:23pm

A mechanical pencil that keeps the point consistently pointy? What will they come up with next?!

Found on core77.com.

[DESIGN]Friday: Shell-shaped beachside retreat is swanky AND sustainable.

April 15, 2011 - 5:04pm


Designed by Solaleya, this shell-shaped beach house combines passive-solar building techniques with sophisticated sustainable technologies into one beautiful shape. It provides shade and ventilation in the summer, and plenty of insulation and heat-capturing technologies in the winter. Be sure to check out the slideshow for more pictures of this enviable home...






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