Designboom marvels at the latest project — "a quirky artwork that can be interpreted as both a sculptural object and a functional piece" — from whacky French artist Benedetto Bufalino: a 1970's police car gutted and transformed into a fully functional chicken coop. That would be "La Voiture de Police Poulailler" (obviously) pictured up top.

Grist enlists the inimitable Umbra Fisk to respond to a most pressing query: "Are newfangled light bulbs making my house cold?" The short answer, of course, is no, not really. That is, unless you previously lived in a giant Easy Bake Oven.

The Los Angeles Times identifies an emerging alternative to dealing with the insanely priced New York City rental market: living in a secondhand RV. "By turning to mobile apartments, RV dwellers are something of real estate pioneers in New York. RVs give New Yorkers a way into hip or exclusive neighborhoods they otherwise might not be able to afford. They don't have to worry about nagging landlords, rent hikes or upstairs neighbors tap-dancing at midnight. But there are obvious trade-offs. Getting electricity takes some effort. Heating during the winter can get costly. Mail may need to be delivered to relatives' places or post office boxes. There's also the issue of how to hook up sewage lines."

Co.Exist dedicates several hundred words to the topic of fake feces. Very important, life-improving fake feces.

The New York Times chats toxic flame retardants and combustible couch cushions with James Redford and Kirby Walker, co-directors of the new HBO documentary "Toxic Hot Seat." When asked if Americans should be "afraid" of their chemical-laden furniture, Redford replies: "Well, I think you’ve got to look at it with a new set of eyes. Any upholstered furniture in your home, unless it’s 40 years or older, is going to have these flame retardants in the polyurethane foam, which is what most upholstered furniture is made of. What we do have, moving forward, is the ability to stop buying furniture that has these chemicals in it."

TreeHugger visits a man about a horse in a quick look at a pilot peecycling initiative launched by Amsterdam's water utility Waternet. As part of the demonstrative project, Waternet will harvest nutrient-rich pee from special public urinals and transform the liquid gold into fertilizer for the city's gardens and green roofs.

The Wall Street Journal explores the inventive ways that a number of nonprofits and start-up companies are gussying up long-abandoned/vacant/foreclosed homes in blighted neighborhoods to make them look happily occupied. Northeast Detroit community development nonprofit Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp really gets into the illusion of occupation by "putting out empty garbage cans on trash day, dressing abandoned homes with Christmas decorations in December and having volunteers leave tire tracks in driveways after it snows."

Curbed celebrates Renters Week 2012 by wrangling up 11 different micro-homes (and one box) that are currently on the rental market including a mega-petite pyramid-shaped chalet in Argentina, an Alpine hut in Austria, a gypsy wagon in Seattle, and a motley assortment of cabins and cottages.

Gizmodo shares some interesting, forward-thinking news out of Vancouver, B.C.: Doorknobs are being banned. Yep, an entire city is banning doorknobs. A quick explanation: "While all new construction projects will be required to follow the no-knob mandate, all buildings currently standing will be have their knobs grandfathered in. But this pro-lever movement isn't about mere aesthetics; there's something more important at play—a developing concept known as universal design."

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

Pee-cycling, PBDEs and police car chicken coops [Weekend link clump]
This week: Amsterdam's urine-recycling scheme, the perils of flame retardant-treated furniture, and a chicken coop crafted from a vintage French police car.