We've discussed both FreeGreen and Greensburg before, so we thought it would be proper to mention their collaboration on a green design competition. As you all know, FreeGreen provides provides free green house plans, and Greensburg is a tornado-destroyed town rebuilding everything in a green way. The two of them are hosting the Chain of Eco-Homes Competition, and I think it'd be incredible to see a reader take the $10,000 first prize.
Sustainable design firm Mithun just updated their website with details of an interesting farmworker housing pilot project in Washington state. With the sponsorship of the Seattle Archidiocesan Housing Authority and a grant from Enterprise Community Partners, Mithun designed three prefabricated modules to provide a model for affordable housing for farmworkers and their families. According to Mithun, the state has tens of thousands of farmworkers who are forced to compete for scant affordable living options, and these prefab 580 square foot homes may change life for a lot of them.
In terms of non-architectural books, this is probably the most interesting book I've read in a long time. In The Thoreau You Don't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant, Robert Sullivan thoroughly and cleverly tells the real story of Henry David Thorough. It's a different story than the one we've all become accustomed to hearing. But it's fascinating and compelling. And if you've ever thought of invoking the name of Thoreau in support of this or that environmental cause, give it a read before doing so.