The New Republic believes with Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation may be doing it all wrong when it comes to green rebuilding efforts in the Katrina-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. In the take-down-y article (which I know the good folks at MIR aren't too pleased with), Lydia Depillis highlights several key issues plaguing the well-intentioned charity including the fact that many former residents of the Lower Ninth Ward don't even want to move back to a public service-lacking neighborhood that's been transformed into an architectural tourist destination complete with Frank Gehry-designed duplexes and amphibious shotgun shacks; a barren, resource-draining enclave where primarily elderly residents are living in "futuristic homes that most Americans would covet, and yet there's not a supermarket — or even a fast food restaurant — for miles."

The Atlantic Cities joins the choir of those taking issue with TreeHugger founder/micro-apartment proselytizer Graham Hill's recent, much-read New York Times op-ed piece, "Living with Less. A Lot Less." To bring you up to speed, Hill's polarizing "minimalist manifesto" details, in the words of Sarah Goodyear, how he "got super-rich from his entrepreneurial Internet dealings, got a lot of stuff, got rid of it, and then got happy living in a 420-square foot apartment with very few belongings."

Relatedly, in a new column from titled "Thinking Big," Curbed takes a gander at several urban micro-apartments from across the globe. Naturally, Hill's LifeEdited proto-apartment makes the cut along with several adAPT NYC finalists. 

The New York Times enlists David Pogue to try out "a whole Times Square’s worth" of LED bulbs and kits. Pogue was mighty keen on Cree's new line of LEDs while he found smartphone-controlled Insteon bulbs to be a "disaster." The takeaway? "People sometimes have trouble making small sacrifices now that will reward them handsomely later. How often do we ignore the advice to make a few diet and exercise changes to live a longer, healthier life? Or to put some money aside to grow into a nest egg? Intellectually, we get it — but instant gratification is a powerful force. You don’t have to be one of those self-defeating rubes. Start buying LED light bulbs."

TreeHugger welcomes Active House to the green building certification party and, so far, Lloyd Alter likes what he sees. Check out my post on North America's inagural Active House here

After months of aggressive promotion, Architizer announces the winners of the first annual A+ Awards. And, once again, the LifeEdited Apartment makes an appearance (jury choice winner in the Living Small category). In the Sustainability category, the absolutely stunning Off Grid Home in Extremadura takes top honors with the jury choice prize. You might recall that I took a look at the hydro- and solar-powered Spanish country retreat back in 2012.

WNYC picks up some vital garbage man lingo from Robin Nagle, clinical associate professor of anthropology and urban studies at NYU and the New York City Department of Sanitation's first official "anthropologist-in-residence." I'm particularly enjoying DSNY-speak for maggots. "Disco rice," anyone?

Gawker shares a truly upsetting example of "upcycled" home decor.

SmartPlanet files a vivid, sweet-smelling dispatch from the granddaddy of all North American garden shows: The Philadelphia Flower Show. 


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Everybody's a critic [Friday link clump]
This weej: How Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation is getting it wrong and why the minimalist living movement needs a poster boy that's not a millionaire.