Mark Lakeman and Marisha Auerbach Talk – this Wednesday

City Repair inspired intersection mural painting at Los Angeles Eco-Village, March 2011, photo by Yuki Kidokoro. Click for larger image and article.

Tomorrow night, 7:30pm on Wednesday September 28th 2011 L.A. Eco-Village is excited to host the return of Portland City Repair visionaries! Mark Lakeman is one of the most inspiring speakers I’ve ever heard. Tomorrow both he and Marisha Auerbach will give a presentation on how City Repair engages communities, makes great places, and transforms intersections into crossroads. I highly recommend this talk! Full details after the jump.  Continue reading


L.A. Eco-Village is repairing its cob lizard bench on Sunday 8/21
from noon to 5.  If you are interested in natural building, take
this opportunity to observe and work with Ray Cirino, artist/inventor/
permaculturist, and mosaic artist, Lee Adams.  Ray
will be bringing his Sparky, the dragon pizza oven to the event so bring a pizza or pizza
toppings to enjoy from his very eco-friendly oven. AND, we'll also be
doing a partial street closing with music and dancing in the street.

Come and have fun, even if you don’t have time to help.
But if you do, here’s the help needed:

- Schlepping tables, chairs to the street and/or
– Traffic control (we will be closing off half the street) and/or
– Take a turn as pizza chef (this is really simple and training provided) and/or
– Bring acoustic musical instruments to make music in the street and/or
– Setting up shade canopies if needed and/or
– Staffing a sign-in and info table for Echo Park Time Bank and L.A. Eco-Village

Come for an hour, a few hours or the whole event. Time Dollars paid for how many hours you spend helping (for Echo Park Time Bank members

Note that Ray’s Dragon Pizza Oven is also available for events and parties.

Contact: Lois Arkin, 213/738-1254,
Location of event: 131 Bimini Place, LA 90004 (one block east of Vermont between First and Second Streets

Outline of the mediation process

a quick outline of the mediation process

When conflict happens inside a community mediation can help a lot.  Here at LA Eco-Village we have a group of folks that refer to themselves as the “Conflict Resolution Team” and among other things they offer mediation help.   I was trying to explain a part of the mediation process to a couple of friends and i ended up drawing this quick pictorial guide.   Mediation starts when one party requests mediation help, then the mediator(s) will have a conversation with each of the affected parties and they will agree on a moment to sit down and talk.

This quick drawing shows what happens then: first the mediator(s) will introduce the process and establish some ground rules.  Then one person will explain the nature of the conflict (person A) and the other person (person B) will listen only.  This is followed by person B summarizing without responding what person A stated.

Then the roles are switched, person B will explain and person A will listen.  In this process some requests and new understandings will arise but in the next step there will be some discussion and enunciation of those requests.   They will be written down and everyone will sign a document.

At last there is generally closure in the forms of hugs, handshakes and perhaps celebratory drinks (or ice cream).  I’m clearly oversimplifying the process, there is much more nuance and skill required to make this happen.  There may be other steps involved and this largely depends on the mediator’s style and the mechanics of the process your group might choose to use.   There is also a lot that can be done to improve my drawing but i just wanted to present it as is for it might still be useful. Here is a  printable PDF of the image above if you want to use it.  If you have further ideas or similar images please share in the comments.

Some Welcoming Small Public Spaces in San Francisco

Kids at play in San Francisco's popular 24th and York Mini-Park

At L.A. Eco-Village, we’re interested in public space, with some emphasis on how we can give less space to cars and more space to people. A few of the eco-village projects that touch on this include: seating areas (some call an outdoor living room) in our bulb-out, front yard gardens, the Bimini Slough Ecology Park, intersection repair murals and lots of bike activism.

I vacationed in San Francisco earlier this month and I checked out some of their efforts to reclaim public space. A few of these I tracked down specifically having heard about them and wanting to go see them… others I just happened upon. I’ve listed them in the order I encountered them, which doesn’t necessarily make any sense to anyone else. Overall I was impressed with how many folks are out using public space, including walking and bicycling… perhaps the weather had something to do with it (was sunny, clear, cool and a little windy) – all these places were very well-used!

Continue reading

Impressed at the Bresee Youth Film Festival

Award-winning young filmmakers at tonight's Youth Film Festival

I checked out the Youth Film Festival tonight hosted by the Bresee Foundation, which is located at the south end of the block where eco-village is. The festival was the 6th Annual Youth Film Festival on Social Justice. It featured 42 short films created by youth ages 14-19. The theme was Unhealthy L.A.? Is Los Angeles a healthy or unhealthy city for youth?  Continue reading

Music Event/Food Sat Night 5/7 from 6 to midnight

Sat., May 7, 2011 from 6 pm to midnight at L.A. Eco-Village

Music! Music! Music! Different kinds. Some loud! Some soft!
Bands Single performers Duos
Electronic. Amplified. Acoustic
Some you’ve heard of; some not.

Fundraiser for L.A. Eco-Villagers’ and Friends’ Burning Man Cafe
$5 to $20 sliding scale.

Cafe Negro at Burning Man provides FREE Cafecito Organico coffee and musical entertainment to Burning Man attendees.

Please help us do it again this year, and support local businesses and fair trade organic coffee!

6 to 9 pm:  BBQ
8 pm to midnight: Music:
The Atomic Bomb Audition, The Shirley Rolls, fitter, Thiago Winterstein, Dust4ngel, Astronovazz, Telematique and more

Dunkelbunt Brewery Beer available by donation.

No reservations required.

Intersection Mural Version 3.0

Volunteers painting the central bicycle-wheel design - photo by Yuki

A quick blog post to show off some photographs of last Saturday’s (March 12th 2011) intersection mural painting. This is the third time Eco-Village and our neighbors have painted this “intersection repair” mural. It’s inspired by the work of Portland’s City Repair. This weekend, we mostly freshened-up the mural painted in 2009 – covered here – while adding a few new twists. It was a great opportunity to bring people together. Lots of  kids and adults in our neighborhood helped make something beautiful we can all be proud of! Continue reading

Complete Streets Conference Packed 2/25/11

Complete Streets are multi-use environments that enable safe and comfortable access for all users on both roadways and sidewalks in a way that promotes vibrant, healthy and active neighborhoods.  Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation users of all ages and abilities, including older people, children and people with disabilities, are able to safely move along and across a Complete Street environment.”  (Definition from Conference Program)

Strong examples are noticeably lacking in Los Angeles, but this conference was designed to inspire people to action!

Packed room at Complete Streets conference

Held at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown LA, it was a treat to go to a conference on one of my favorite topics: making streets more people friendly. You might say I’m a radical “streets for people” person, my attempt to be more positive than saying I’m a radical anti-carist, not wanting my car owning friends to be offended by my passions.

The unusually long day (8am to 7 pm) was supported with lots of fabulous food.  Though I don’t want to appear unappreciative of the many culinary delights, probably we could do with less eating and more movement a la Japanese style.  Seems like tai chi breaks are more common than coffee breaks in that part of the world, and there’s a lot less obesity and degenerative diseases there as well, so no time like the present to start eating less and moving ourselves more, much easier once our streets become more complete, the main subject here, after all.

The event was sold out nearly two weeks before the happening.  It was impressive to see that at least half the 350 or so attendees were staff from a variety of public agencies:  Metro, L.A. City’s Department of Transportation, L.A. County’s Department of Public Health and others.  The balance of attendees were primarily students and faculty from several local academic institutions.  UCLA’s Lewis and Luskin Centers, along with Los Angeles County RENEW (Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness) were the co-organizing sponsors.  Many other sponsors lent energy to the event, including UC’s Transportation Center, The California Endowment, Metro, Green LA, AIA Los Angeles, ASLA Southern California, LACBC, SCAG, Safe Routes to School, UEPI at Occidental College, AHBE Landscape Architects, the Castle Press, Stanley R. Hoffman Associates, Linscott Law & Greenspan engineers, APA, LA City Planning Departement, Ryan Snyder Associates and Safe Routes to School.  Gosh, hope I didn’t leave anyone out (the papers never credit all the great energy that goes into making a successful event–yeah blogs! Oh, and then there were also advisory and outreach committees made up of many hard working folks whose names will be familiar to most of you who follow this stuff).  A healthy showing of nonprofit reps and activists were also attending.

Though I didn’t get there till almost noon, I still heard some cool quotes.  Here are a few:

Why did you go to school?” Professor Emeritus Allan B. Jacobs asked rhetorically.  “To get ideas!  Then, propose them!”  Jacobs taught City and Regional Planning and Urban Design at UC Berkeley, and formerly headed up San Francisco’s Planning Department.  His quote seemed to be directed toward anyone who might complain about  things not being right, but especially those who work in the public sector.

Continue reading

L.A. Weekly Bike Article features Eco-Villagers

Check it out: several mentions of  Eco-Villagers Joe Linton, Jimmy Lizama, Adonia LugoRon Milam and Eco-Village, too, plus many bicycle activist friends of LAEV.  This is a lengthy article which will hold the interest of bike folks all the way through.  Focusing on the upsurge in bicycle activism the past few years, it culminates in Stephen Box’s run for City Council.

But, overall, the article provides a very male perspective, with just brief mention of Adonia Lugo (who with Bobby Gadda and a few other  Eco-Villagers brought CicLAvia to LA ) and too much criticism of dedicated LADOT project coordinator for bicycles, Michelle Mowery.  Really, there are so many very actively involved women in the movement, and I hope we will start seeing many of them featured in the mainstream media in the positive light that they shine on this city.

Aurisha Smolarski-Waters is one of them, having contributed in major ways during her recent years with the LACBC.  While she loves seeing our LAEV neighbors in the media, she urges our neighbors and friends to note the contributions of women when speaking with the media.

Aurisha Smolarski-Waters advocating in City Hall

“This gender bias on bicycle issues has been an ongoing conversation among a few of us here in LAEV,” says Aurisha.   “I am starting to wonder if it is not part of our mission living here to also think about this as a social justice issue, not only in the way we live, but also in the way we portray the history of the movements, which many of us are a part of, to the media.  Being highlighted in the media is awesome and a great opportunity to start shifting the way people think,” she adds.

Anti-Gentrification Rally at the Rayfield

Watch this video, by Jerold Kress of the Bresee Foundation, to see the recent protest at the Rayfield building, located at the northwest corner of Bimini and 2nd Street. According to Bresee Community News:

…protesters gathered in our park to mount a protest against gentrification they claim is happening at the [Rayfield].  The protesters are upset that Latinos are being targeted for eviction and replaced by more affluent renters.  Continue reading

Dave Auerbach in the L.A. Times 2/2/11

Having a birthday lunch with my neighbor Dale today, he told me about this article that he caught in yesterday’s LA Times, and that he’d posted the hard copy on our bulletin board.  Couldn’t wait to get home to read it, especially when Dale indicated that he really understood what Dave’s research was about from this article, something that’s always been a bit too fuzzy for me.  But Lopez did clarify it for me.  Nonetheless, the critical part is about the simpletons that think they belong to the same species as we do but don’t want a rapid bus lane in their neighborhood.  Really strange, I agree.  How about an 8 lane two direction critical mass bike ride three days a week through those hoods till they cry “Uncle!”  Here’s the article (link to original):

Peering into a post-petroleum world

As protests in Egypt underscore the hazards of relying on imported oil, a bus and bike-riding scientist at UCLA is working on clean fusion energy that could wean us from foreign fuel.
By Steve Lopez

Dave Auerbach relaxing at home in LAEV courtyard

February 2, 2011

The story of how I ended up in the basement of a UCLA physics building, getting a tour of a plasma facility with a young scientist working on the development of clean fusion energy, begins with the uprisings in the Middle East.

On Monday morning, I headed west on Wilshire Boulevard with a couple of items on the agenda. First, I wanted to see if I could find any demonstrators left over from the weekend. People were still marching in the streets of Cairo, demanding the ouster of longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, so I thought there might still be a few protesters carrying signs in front of the West L.A. federal building.

I also wanted to meet with a UCLA student who had e-mailed me to say that he was ticked off about opposition to the proposed bus-only lane for Wilshire Boulevard. David Auerbach, a doctoral candidate who has no car and commutes by bicycle and bus, called the piecemeal scaling back of the bus plan “a great example of the typical L.A. governance.” He didn’t mean that as a compliment. Continue reading

Diana Leafe Christian Ecovillage Talk Feb. 22

If you haven’t heard Diana’s talk before, don’t miss this one.  OR if you have heard it, you won’t want to miss this one either, because it’s new and better than ever!

Ecovillages: Where They Are, What They’re Doing, Why They’re Important
Diana Leafe Christian (in person)

Diana Leafe Christian

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm
at L.A. Eco-Village
117 Bimini Pl, LA 90004  directions

Fee: $10 to $5 (sliding scale)
Reservations required: or 213/738-1254

With over 400 photos, this slide show demonstrates how ecovillages worldwide integrate ecological, economic, and social/cultural/spiritual sustainability, through:

• Permaculture design
• International peace activism
• Natural building
• Service to populations in need
• Renewable energy/off-grid power
• Local currencies
• Alternative technology
• On-site cottage industries
• Sustainable agriculture
• Participatory decision-making
• Earth-restoraton projects
• Conflict resolution & communication skills

WHY people are devoted to developing ecological settlements.
HOW ecovillages are beneficially influencing the wider culture.
HOW ecovillages will probably affect patterns of human settlement in the near future.

Continue reading

Loan Your Dollars for Local Ecological Good

Eco-Village is looking for some investors. Eco-Village’s non-profit parent, the Cooperative Resources and Services ProjectCRSP,” has utilized an innovative Ecological Revolving Loan FundELF” to crowd-source purchasing property for permanent ecological and affordability benefits.

Help crowdsource Eco-Village's purchase of additional housing!

In 1996, CRSP purchased our initial 40-unit apartment building at 117 Bimini Place. In 1999, we expanded by purchasing the adjacent 8-unit Bimini Terrace. These two apartment buildings have been instrumental to the success of the eco-village project. They’re where we live, gardengatherdine, host, even give birth. They’re where we’ve planted fruit trees, spread compost and mulch, harvested rain, installed solar and greywater, where we steward bees and chickens, where we helped incubate the Bicycle Kitchen, Cafecito Organico and CicLAvia.

Both of these buildings were purchased with no bank loans. Really. No bank loans. Through the Ecological Revolving Loan Fund, eco-village borrowed money from from friends and supporters. By cobbling together more than 20 loans from $3000 to about $100,000, CRSP was able to purchase Los Angeles real estate. Using rental income, these loans were all paid back, with modest interest. I can vouch for this. In 1998-99, I loaned the eco-village ELF $3000 at 3% interest per year. I received semi-annual interest checks, and the principal was repaid in 2002-03.

Los Angeles Eco-Village and CRSP, working through the Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust are working on another property purchase in the eco-village neighborhood. We’re looking for some investors to loan money to the CRSP ELF. Here’s a message from eco-village founder and CRSP executive director Lois Arkin: 

January 12, 2011

Dear Neighbors and Friends of L.A. Eco-Village,

A Happy and Healthy New Year to all. Of course, never before in the history of our species have so many bad things been happening so fast. But it is also the case that never before have so many good things been happening so fast.  You are all among those whom I know to be making a difference on the good side of this challenging equation.

So here is another opportunity, a rare one that doesn’t crop up often for us.  We here in L.A. Eco-Village–specifically CRSP and the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust–are in escrow on our third building in LA Eco-Village. Continue reading

Cohousing Talk this Friday with Betsy Morris and Raines Cohen

Join us this Friday night for an evening of questions, dialog and exploration of the complex issues in established and emerging communities:

Betsy Morris and Raines Cohen - photo from East Bay Cohousing

The Cohousing Experience: An Evening of Exploration
with Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris
at 7:30 pm
this Friday, December 10th 2010
Los Angeles Eco-Village, 117 Bimini Place, L.A. 90004
Suggested donation:  $7 (sliding scale ok)
Reservations requested:  crsp [at]  or (213)738-1254

Raines Cohen has visited over 100 cohousing neighborhoods.  He is a board member of the Fellowship for Intentional Community.  Betsy Morris has served as Research Director for the Cohousing Association of the United States.  Together, they advocate for cohousing and intentional community formation in the San Francisco Bay Area, including working with Cohousing California and East Bay Cohousing. Raines wrote the chapter Aging in Community in the book Audacious Aging.

Advanced Facilitation Seminar

(photo from a recent meeting Ron facilitated using small groups)

I’m leading another Advanced Facilitation Workshop on Wednesday, September 15th at the LA Eco-Village (117 Bimini Pl), from 7 to 9pm and invite you to attend. This workshop explores more sophisticated tools and strategies that facilitators use to ensure groups 
effectively reach decisions.  Participants will have the opportunity to practice facilitating challenging 
situations and receive feedback from the instructor and training participants.  Recommended pre-requisite:  Intro to Facilitation or some facilitation experience. Fee:  $35 (sliding scale available)
Reservations required: or 213/738-1254.  For those interested in learning more about facilitation, consider attending Beatrice Brigg’s upcoming “Leading Effective Meetings” training on September 30th through October 2nd.

Documentary Fundraiser for “Seen Also In Men” Friday, July 30, 2010 7:00 pm

“Seen Also In Men” needs funds! We are showing (unofficially) the film and asking for your support to help us send it to festivals!

This film tells the story of three black fathers who are choosing to be there for their kids even though their fathers weren’t there for them. It’s about a growing movement to break a cycle and stereotypes in the African-American community and create a positive change. This film truly deserves a wider audience. Please come and tell your friends! Suggested donation $5-$25.

For more info:

Safe 4th Street Walk and Bike Ride this Saturday

Come Walk and Bike for a Safer 4th Street - This Saturday Morning!

This Saturday, explore 4th Street – and learn about plans for it to become a “bicycle boulevard.” There’s an easy bike ride and a short walk, all designed to make folks more aware of the changes proposed for the future of 4th Street. They’re taking place this Saturday July 24th 2010. The above flier is available in Spanish and Korean, below.

Come on down, meet neighbors and discuss how to make our streets safer for everyone! It’s free, and there will be refreshments, courtesy of Larchmont Bungalow restaurant.

Vamos a la Calle 4!

Get on your Cha-Jan-Go and ride 4th!

Continue reading

World Cup Final Banana Bread

2010 World Cup whole-wheat banana bread - recipe below

This doesn’t have a lot to do with eco-village, though it’s somewhat in the flavor of how we share meals together. A handful of us, mostly Julio, Julio, Somer, Becca, Eric, Doran and me, have been watching the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament. For the final today, we and another half dozen eco-villagers crammed in to Julio’s apartment. That’s where the best television at LAEV is located – and it’s probably one of around a dozen total TV’s in our 48 apartments.

Continue reading

Benefit for Camilo Otero July 31st 2010

Announcement below from Eco-Village’s Arturo Aranda, playwright and host of Maybe Fridays. Some more event information at Facebook.

Camilo Otero

QUE ONDA?!?!     BUENAS!!     SALUDOS!!!
Los Super Amigos present
“El Rescate!!”
a benefit show for Camilo Otero!
Dear friends, please join us
for a special fundraising event to help out the homie, Camilo!
  Our friend has been diagnosed with cancer
and he needs the help of his friends.
There will be refreshments, a not so silent auction,
and special musical performances from the following locos!:
DJ LANO, LAEV’s own TELEMATIQUE, FITTER, and more tba! 
All funds go to help out the homie Camilo in his recovery!
We will be asking for a suggested donation of $10 at the door.
 None shall be turned away for lack of funds!
LAEV is a welcoming community
so no need to worry about the fuzz, the cheese, or the man!
Please spread the good word!
L.A. ECO-VILLAGE is located at:
117 Bimini Place,  LA 90004
Vermont & 1st, south of 101 fwy, east on 1st Street
Metro: Vermont Avenue or 3rd Street buses or Red Line Beverly station  
We are eternal.  All this pain is an illusion.” – Tool

Support CicLAvia

CicLAvia is a car-free streets festival coming to Los Angeles on September 12th 2010! There’s lots of walking and bicycling and Angelenos getting to know their place in public space.

Click to the watch the CicLAvia video at Kickstarter - featuring eco-village's Adonia Lugo (speaking from the LAEV bike room) and Joe Linton

Eco-Villagers Bobby Gadda, Adonia Lugo, and Joe Linton (yours truly) have been working hard to make this happen. Click on the image above to watch a video about CicLAvia – and you feel moved, please make a contribution larger or small to make it happen here!

To learn more about CicLAvia, to volunteer, discuss, debate, explore, etc. go to