A very happy almost summer, MNN readers!
As is customary during the change of seasons, I'm embracing my nostalgic side and taking a look back at this spring's weirdest, wildest, and most well-trafficked posts — stories that you may have overlooked while you were busy contemplating cricket-based cuisine, plotting a Swedish vacation, or installing a touchless toilet flush kit. You know, normal springtime stuff.
Like the season itself, this spring's stories were, well, all over the place — and in the best way possible. While I published a decent amount of posts touching down on the usual suspects — cargotecture, micro-housing, landscaping squabbles, resilient architecture, conservation, humanitarian-minded design, and smart home gadgetry — this spring was also heavy on stories about inventive — and at times, unusual — green energy initiatives geared to help lift us from our dependence on nonrenewable resources.
What’s been your favorite post of mine from this past spring? Was there a particular story that I missed out on that you would like to have seen featured? Are there any topics that you'd like to see me tackle this summer and beyond? I'm all ears! And if you aren't already, please do follow me on Twitter to keep up to speed.
• Will BIG U, a flood-preventing 'protective ribbon,' wrap itself around Manhattan? — Bjarke Ingels Group's proposal for the Rebuild by Design competition envisions, among other things, lush waterfront berm-parks and flood panels tucked under FDR Drive
• SCADpad, a micro-housing community founded on big ideas, launches in Atlanta — The first in a two-part look at the micro-housing magic that students at the Savannah College of Art and Design have worked on an underused campus parking structure.
• Stunning garage-to-cabin conversion enjoys sweeping Puget Sound views — A Seattle-based design firm best known for its repurposed cardboard creations tries its hand at small-scale adaptive reuse with absolutely gorgeous results. When can I move in?
• Turkish eco-city wants to heat homes with pistachio shells — From one of the world's top pistachio-producing regions comes a not-too-entirely nutty idea: Burning waste shells to heat buildings.
• Room by room, a 3D printed house rises in Amsterdam — In a departure from the city's wealth of historic attractions, a new open-to-the-public exhibition offers an exciting, LEGO-y glimpse into the future of green building.
• Portland reverses decision to dump 38 million gallons of pee-tainted drinking water — Fabulous news for those who have been losing sleep over the fate of Portland's world-famous pee water: City officials are hanging onto it, at least for now.
• World's tallest living wall takes hydroponics to new heights — Employees at Desjardins Group headquarters in Quebec can breathe easier (and have something gorgeous to gawk at during lunch) thanks to a new 15-story vertical garden.
• At long last, the White House solar array is up and running — They're baaack ... 8 Cher albums and 28 seasons of 'The Young and the Restless' later, solar panels once again grace the rooftop of a certain neoclassical mansion in D.C.
• Swedish artist wants to put tiny house on the moon — If a staggering $15M crowdfunding goal is met, a petite dwelling done up in traditional Swedish style may become 'the first art project on the moon.'
• This 'energetically independent' tiny house is shaped like a cross — Formed by two wood-clad shipping containers, Skit 2014 is the ideal living arrangement for eremitic types who don't mind ladders and composting toilets.
• Apple unveils platform that makes controlling your smart home a whole lot simpler — With HomeKit, a new framework that transforms your iPhone or iPad into an all-in-one remote control for the connected home, Siri will finally start to really pull her weight around the house.
• This solar-powered plant sensor wants to make you a smarter gardener — The Internet of Things dons a pair of gloves and straw hat and moseys on out to the garden with Edyn, a connected garden system seeking crowdfunding cash on Kickstarter.
• Illinois is first state to ban beauty products containing microbeads — Gov. Pat Quinn backs legislation that protects the Great Lakes and halts the sale and manufacture of face scrubs and body washes containing tiny plastic exfoliants.
• Clever Coke caps transform spent soda bottles into squirt guns and shampoo dispensers — Coca-Cola partners with Ogilvy & Mather for 2nd Lives, an upcycling initiative that gives new life to empty soda bottles that would normally be chucked.
• Overgrown-lot munching goats given the boot in Detroit —An urban farming project in the down-and-out Brightmoor neighborhood is cut extremely short after officials learn it involves unlawful ruminants.