Raina Lee’s parents were pack rats. And when they died she inherited 35 years worth of her parents’ stuff crammed into a 3-car garage in Southern California. The garage was a mythic place where as I child I could find anything– gadgets, kitchen wares, stamp collections, bags of money, and clothes. Now that my parents are gone, I’m clearing out their mess but discovering more than ever about their lives. She’s posting her finds on her Infinite Garage project daily and selling some of it on Etsy.
Category : housing
The four-story townhouse where the late Richard Avedon had his studio and home for more than 30 years is now on the market for $12 million. Currently owned by Olivier Sarkozy, the half-brother of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the ground-floor studio where Avedon made his photos has been left unchanged since the Sarkozys moved in 2005, the year after Avedon’s death. And it’s a pretty interesting studio space too. In this photo you can see how the walls of the studio curve into the floor, creating a backdrop with an illusion of unlimited space.
Fresno’s been hit hard by the bursting of the housing bubble, where 12% of the homes there had some type of foreclosure filing in 2009. Few have benefited from this abundance of vacant homes like skaters. Cannonball, from the great new short film blog California is a place, shows how the backyards of Fresno have become one, big skater amusement park.
Where y’at New Orleans? Four years after Katrina, architects, planners and builders have made messy, heterogeneous efforts at rebuilding the Crescent City. There’s a great article in the recent Atlantic Monthly profiles some of the approaches to rebuilding that are underway.
In the absence of strong central leadership, the rebuilding has atomized into a series of independent neighborhood projects. And this has turned New Orleans—moist, hot, with a fecund substrate that seems to allow almost anything to propagate—into something of a petri dish for ideas about housing and urban life. An assortment of foundations, church groups, academics, corporate titans, Hollywood celebrities, young people with big ideas, and architects on a mission have been working independently to rebuild the city’s neighborhoods, all wholly unconcerned about the missing master plan. It’s at once exhilarating and frightening to behold.
The New York Times has a slideshow of the new tent cities of California. Homeless enclaves have grown in places such as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla., but the situation in Sacramento has received extra attention following a visit from Oprah Winfrey. In Fresno, where the city estimates more than 2,000 of the cities 500,000 residents are homeless, the city planned to begin “triage” on the encampments soon, We’re treating it like any other disaster area, says Gregory Barfield, the city’s homeless prevention and policy manager. Read more about these new shanty towns in our midst.
Yale photography student Lucas Foglia has created an amazing portfolio of portraits of people who are re-wilding the way they live in the WildRoots ecovillage homestead of Western North Carolina and in other spots in the rural Southeastern U.S. Between the Depression 2.0, impending environmental collapse and all those broke-ass kids I see in my neighborhood, I’m thinking these ecovillage homesteads are the new TICs.
In Miami, a group called Take Back the Land is moving homeless families into previously empty, foreclosed homes. And a lot of people are happy about the situation: the neighbors prefer it to an empty sometimes-looted shell next door, the police don’t mind, the banks don’t mind –and even prefer that someone’s doing a little upkeep on their property.
Here’s a business plan for you: A billion customers in the world, entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr. Paul Polakis was quoted in this New York Times article as saying, are waiting for a $2 pair of eyeglasses, a $10 solar lantern and a $100 house. Take a look at the great, cheap ideas at the Cooper Hewitt show, Design for the other 90%.
KickStart is a non-profit organization that develops and markets new technologies for small-scale entrepreneurs in East Africa that are durable, easy to operate and cost under $1,000. They develop things like micro-irrigation, cooking oil and building technologies that make an impact: 41,000 new businesses started, 800 new businesses per month, $41 million a year in new profits and wages generated by the new businesses.