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Rent Green Space in NYC; Times Mag's Design Columnist

EVERYWHERE—Journalist and author Pagan Kennedy has been named design columnist for New York Times Magazine. Her first column covers the evolution of the cigarette filter; she's previously reported on a college dorm modeled after a big sponge. [Fishbowl NY]

NYC—Green space is at such a premium in NYC that one can actually rent it. The going rate at the Timeshare Backyard is $100 an hour, but that's for use of a grill, trashy magazines, lounge chairs, and "luxury grass." [Curbed NY]

NATIONWIDE—The National Association of Home Builders' latest Improvement Market Index shows evidence of progress in the vitality of the housing market. Markets joining the on-the-rebound club include Phoenix, Tampa, Prescott, Ariz., and Springfield, Mass. [WSJ]