It's the little things that count

A Tokyo house built on a piece of land the size of a parking space

In Japan, the trend toward tiny homes is driven by harsh economic reality more than any desire to live "sustainably." It's a good example of how people can adapt to a world of diminishing resources -- the same world we all live in.

me and my shadow

9 things I learned by shadowing a home-energy inspector

Everyone knows that weatherization is the super-duper-est economic policy ever. But forget policy for a moment. Let's look at how it works out in the real world.


Driver kills boy on bike, sues boy's parents

A man convicted of manslaughter after hitting a 14-year-old boy with his car is now suing the kid's parents because they didn't make him wear a helmet.

Urban Family Values

Moving to the suburbs for your kids? Think again

Folks, if you live in a sprawling, autocentric community that requires you to drive your kids to the supermarket to buy their organic produce and to the local playfield to get their exercise, you're not doing them -- or the planet -- any favors.

Tend your own garden

Garden designer Lynden Miller says a healthy city needs beautiful parks

"Every human being responds to a connection with nature," says Lynden Miller, who has designed many of New York's most successful public gardens. "People of all kinds love something beautiful and will talk to each other when they see it. They change the way they behave. It changes the way they feel about themselves and each other."

horticulture wars

Paint-and-seed grenade-launcher aims to bomb the blight out of America

Bomb the Blight founder Tommy Wilson is the latest to join the ranks of those pimping the pavement, and he's armed with seed bombs, paint, and an air cannon.

Slicker shock

Urban agriculture in West Oakland gets a $4 million boost

City Slicker Farms gets $4 million from the state to buy land for an "urban farm park" that will not only grow food for residents, but provide a safe place to play and hang out.

strange geometry

Ruin porn, exurban sprawl edition

A while back, Sarah noted the proliferation of Detroit "ruin porn" -- images and films that depict abandoned houses, crumbling factories, and desperately unemployed masses without showing that intelligent life does, in fact, remain in the city. There's something of a parallel trend for sprawl: illustrations of the overbuilt, over-mortgaged empty subdivisions littering exurban America. The implied message is quite often that these places were built carelessly and are unaffordable, unsustainable, and damn near unlovable.

Curb your enthusiasm

Cafés will be popping up on the streets of New York

The New York City Department of Transportation is going to make it easier for you to park your rear end at a sidewalk café by taking away a bit of parking for cars.