The Open-Source House Project

In an effort to bring affordable, sustainable housing to urban, low-income areas around the world, architect Vincent van der Meulen has teamed up with the Dutch organization Enviu to launch the Open Source House project, "a platform where designers, architects and entrepreneurs can share and work together on ideas for people in need." Their first initiative is an international design competition:

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The Stranger Exchange

John Wilson stopped in Chicago during a road trip from Boston. He was walking by Wicker Park when he noticed a “totally anonymous and unsupervised” local drop box where you could leave or take unwanted books and DVD’s.

When he got back home, he started talking about the idea with Chris Maggio, an old school friend and co-founder of the art collective the Future Machine. Would something similar work in Boston? They decided to find out.

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How to Share a Chicken (or Two)

Foster Road in Southeast Portland, Oregon is lined with wrecking yards, auto body shops, gas stations, cheap appliance stores, and vacant lots.

It’s not the place you’d expect to find a six-acre working farm or a ten-acre wetland preserve. But that’s where Zenger Farm is, nestled between a huge warehouse and a cluster of residential housing.

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How to Start Your Own Skillshare

Organizing a Skillshare is fun and easy, since everyone really has something to teach, and something to learn.

The seeds for the Brooklyn Skillshare began in the Spring of 2009 when I attended a similar event in Boston, and was inspired by the weekend-long workshops offered on a regular basis, free of charge. I had assumed that these types of events existed in every major city, and so I was shocked to discover that there were none in greater New York City area. 

To me, the need for a skillshare seemed obvious: 

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Space and Sharing at the Prelinger Library

I'm working this afternoon at the Prelinger Library. Rick and Megan Shaw Prelinger (that's them up above) founded the library in 2004, mainly as a way to share their collection of 40,000 books, periodicals, printed ephemera, and government documents. 

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How to Achieve Transparency at Work

Q: How can I make my business more transparent to ensure that my employees always know what’s going on within the company?

A: Let's use an example: Chroma Technology Corp. is a manufacturer of interference filters for the ultra-violet, visible and near-infrared portions of the spectrum, including bandpass, multiple bandpass, and long and short pass filters. That sounds pretty technical, doesn't it? But anyone can understand Chroma's commitment to workplace transparency.

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Explore the Transparency Ecosystem

Last Friday I coworked with tech blogger Shannon Clark and others at Citizen Space. On my way out, I found this great little postcard from the Sunlight Foundation listing the top sites in the transparency ecosystem.  As the card says, the Sunlight Foundation is, "committed to helping citizens, bloggers and journalists be their own best [government] watchdog." Here's their list, which is U.S. focused.

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The Slow Homes Manifesto (Part One)

I recently drove through Lakewood, a city 10 miles south of Los Angeles, just to see for myself what it looked like. Lakewood is the quintessential “fast homes” community—the housing equivalent of a fast-food order of “17,500 happy meals to go, please.”

In 1950, the Lakewood Park Company began building homes at the rate of 50 per day. They did not stop until 17,500 single family homes blanketed the former sugar beet fields, leaving little sign of the lakes or woods you'd expect to see in a place named “Lakewood.”

As I recall, Lakewood now looks more or less like this:

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Real Estate Industry's Loss, Our Gain

Last week the Urban Land Institute released its 30-year-old annual report on emerging trends in the real estate industry -- and revealed that the industry is shifting away from sprawl and overbuilding to investing in shareable, sustainable neighborhoods:

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CSA + CSK = Delicious Opportunity

I'm guessing you've heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs).  Well, there's a new acronym on the block - CSK, for Community Supported Kitchen. CSK's use a similar community-support model to deliver prepared meals using CSA products.  Sweet Deliverance, the community enterprise featured in the video, is one of a handful of CSKs that have cropped up recently.

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