behavior · community · health · mental health

Dutch nursing home offers rent-free housing to students

This is a great way to “lure” younger adults to engage with seniors. It’s potentially a bit gimmicky, but the rewards of giving back to your community, and the enrichment of people of both ages, is just phenomenal.

A nursing home in the Netherlands allows university students to live rent-free alongside the elderly residents, as part of a project aimed at warding off the negative effects of aging.

In exchange for small, rent-free apartments, the Humanitas retirement home in Deventer, Netherlands, requires students to spend at least 30 hours per month acting as “good neighbors,” Humanitas head Gea Sijpkes said in an email to PBS NewsHour.

Officials at the nursing home say students do a variety of activities with the older residents, including watching sports, celebrating birthdays and, perhaps most importantly, offer company when seniors fall ill, which helps stave off feelings of disconnectedness.

Both social isolation and loneliness in older men and women are associated with increased mortality, according to a 2012 report by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

“The students bring the outside world in, there is lots of warmth in the contact,” Sijpkes said.

more via Dutch nursing home offers rent-free housing to students.

architecture · community · creativity

Recycled houses from around the world

I saw this article about a house made out of plastic bottles…

With a serious housing shortage but no shortage of plastic bottles littering the streets, the Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) – an NGO based in Nigeria – decided to build this incredible two-bedroom bungalow entirely out of plastic bottles! Although many in Kaduna were dubious when the project began construction in June this year, the nearly-complete home is bullet and fireproof, earthquake resistant, and maintains a comfortable interior temperature of 64 degrees fahrenheit year round!

This led to further searches, and found some other cool houses made out of reused materials:

Architects and homeowners are gradually discovering the benefits of shipping container homes. It turns out that the strong, cheap freight boxes make pretty useful building blocks. They can be loaded with creature comforts and stacked to create modular, efficient spaces for a fraction of the cost, labor and resources of more conventional materials. Shipping containers can be easily insulated and climate controlled, and they are being deployed as disaster relief shelters and modest vacation homes. In stacking configurations they are appearing as student housing and even luxury condos.


Plus for all you survivalists out there, they would be a great start to a less conspicuous (if left au naturale on the outside), possibly fit with a grounding net against EMPs, and generally fire proof.


Salvaged wine corks, which are easy to come by, provide an inexpensive form of cork flooring.
This Boeing 727 carried in the past passengers for South Africa Air and Avianca Airlines (Columbia). Today it is suspended on a 50 foot pedestal on the edge of the National Park, in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

Lots more here and here. What other houses made out of recycled houses have you seen?

One question I have, however, is how well some of these houses actually blend into the environments they’re built. Are they actually beneficial to the Earth because they keep this stuff out of the landfill? Does it make the families who live in these places’ lives better? Thoughts?