Sunday, July 20, 2008

Affordable Housing and a Reuse Revolutionary: Dan Phillips

If you haven't heard of Dan Phillips and his Phoenix Commotion project, please take a few minutes to check out his web site and watch the videos there--the one from the Texas Country Reporter is really inspiring. Dan teaches and assists "the working poor" of Huntsville, TX to build their own simple homes out of reused materials which might otherwise hit the landfill, inspiring hope, independence, empowerment and respect for the environment. The homes created from the materials at hand are really remarkable--you won't find your cookie-cutter, mega-box subdivision houses here. These homes are unique, filled with the character of the owner-builders and the areas in which they live. They are both whimsical and practical. Check out the "Project Photos" page and you'll see what I mean. If you look at the "interior" pictures, you'll see a mosaic of--be still my heart--metal bottle caps, a material which has always been a source of personal fascination for me. All sorts of fascinating materials are used in these homes; picture frame corners, natural logs, relish dishes, wine corks, you name it--if someone is throwing it away, Dan Phillips can probably find a use for it in the construction of a new home.

Dan Phillips and the folks who take him up on the opportunity to build and own their own homes are truly inspirational. This is a model that I would love to see replicated across the country, for the benefit of our people, our communities and our environment.

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