EarthTechling extends a welcome to Hassalo on Eighth, an eco-district that recently broke ground in Portland, Ore. Boasting 657 residential units and nearly 60,000 square feet of retail space, GBD Architects explains that the massive project "will be LEED Platinum certified, and includes a number of innovative green technologies, including recycling and re-using all of the building’s water, which is extremely rare in residential developments.” The firm goes on to explain: "There is a gap in the urban grid of this neighborhood where mid-century planning principals called for surface parking lots in lieu of dense, walkable communities. We are repairing this urban fabric by introducing mixed-use, dense development that creates a 24-hour neighborhood." That's a rendering of the project, formerly known as the Lloyd Superblock, up top.

TreeHugger steps inside a retired Israeli public transport bus that's been converted into a rather snazzy and sleek residence complete with ample storage space, full kitchen, and not-too-shabby full bathroom with shower. Psychotherapist Tali Shaul and "ecological pond water treatment specialist" Hagit Morevski are behind the remarkably executed transformation.

Curbed NY shares with us "the smallest, saddest apartment" in all of New York City. Priced at $1,275 a month, the 100-square-foot (yep) micro-domicile — "a brand new alcove studio with three, large, east-facing windows allowing for robust sunlight throughout the day" — is located in a converted SRO building in Harlem and was listed by Douglas Elliman Real Estate (the listing has since been removed). Inexplicably, one of the primary listing photos of the impossibly cramped space is of the "rainforest showerhead" in the bathroom. As Curbed points out, this is most likely because "the apartment is so small, they ran out of things to photograph."

The Wall Street Journal tracks a growing, "Green Acres"-esque movement in England that involves stressed-out urbanites moving to "hobby farms" in the countryside and commuting into the city for work. Explains the WSJ: "These properties—usually between 5 and 50 acres—have just enough acreage to grow food for the family, raise exotic animals and perhaps earn a small second income off the land. But they must be located within easy commuting distance to the owners' jobs so they can subsidize their hobby."

Apartment Therapy wrangles up a few smart Mason jar accessories.

AIArchitect profiles the transformation of a down-and-out SRO hotel in Chicago into an eco-minded transitional housing complex. While working on the 89-unit development dubbed Harvest Commons, Landon Bone Baker Architects carefully preserved the historic building's Art Deco bones while adding a community garden complete with resident chickens and test kitchen, solar thermal heating, low-flow fixtures, and high-effciency HVAC system. During the design process, the hotel earned National Historic Landmark status which proved to be a challenge during the $22 million renovation. Explains architect Jack Schroeder: “We had to prove that the solar panels weren’t visible from the front. The city departments have worked with us knowing it’s historic. They allowed us to keep one of the stairs that doesn’t quite meet code because we created a fire separation of the floors. It’s really just a beautiful old building, so it’s been really fun to bring it back.”

Similarly, Co.Exist reports on a scheme to transform a decommissioned TB hospital-turned-detention facility—it "looks looks more like an Ivy League college setting than a prison"— in southeast Colorado into a transitional housing development for the recently homeless. The development will place a special emphasis on providing shelter, substance abuse treatment, and job training to homeless veterans. Explains Sydney Brownstone: "Decommissioned prisons may be great for experiencing mortal terror on Halloween, but perhaps turning them into homeless facilities can provide a better return on investment year-round."

McSweeny's marks the return of decorative gourd season (watch out: some rather choice, R-rated language abounds) with the release of a commemorative coffee mug.

The Los Angeles Times announces a notable yard sale estate auction involving a treasure trove of mid-century goodies once owned by Bob and Dolores Hope. Acrylic backgammon table for $1,200, anyone?

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

The afterlife of old buses, prisons and SROs [Weekend link clump]
This week: A prison in Colorado, a public transit bus in Israel and a historic hotel in Chicago are all transformed into new modes of housing.