Video: LA Eco Village: self-reliance in car-free urban homestead

This half hour video filmed by Johnny Sanphillippo  (his blog at Granola Shotgun) is a great little tour of our Eco-Village.  The video had 15000 views in the first 5 days (and climbing) and there are a ton of comments on YouTube (that are perhaps worth checking out).     Check out other popular videos by on Kirsten’s youtube channel.

Also, thanks to our very inspiring friends at RootSimple for sharing this video on their website.  Johnny also made a fantastic video about them that you should go watch right now.


Rain Flows through Bimini Park

Bimini Slough Ecology Park creek flow during rain on December 22nd 2010

The Bimini Slough Ecology Park was flowing mightily under this week’s rains. Federico wrote about this park earlier at the Eco-Village Blog, referencing my long piece about it at L.A. Creek Freak. It’s located at the end of the Los Angeles Eco-Village block at the corner of Bimini Place and 2nd Street. It was created and is maintained by the Bresee Foundation. Continue reading

Living Eco Visits and Videos

“The first phase of the eco-village solution is using lots of mulch”

A video crew from Living Eco created these two 15-minute videos showcasing a recent visit to LAEV. The above video covers chickens, composting, greywater, the bicycle morgue, the “multiple centers of initiative” gate, and las trincheras. The below video covers stacking functions, permeable pavement, carrots, participation, the bulb-out, the free table, floor materials, and the community room.

And here’s their interview with Eco-Villager Melba Thorne, mostly focused on ecological packaging used for her Native Gardens vegan treats:

BBC Mundo and what is the L.A Eco-Village anyway

here is short video about the LA Eco-Village recently published by BBC Mundo (embedded video below) .    it’s not that bad. i certainly commend the makers for packing that much into just 2 minutes – a palatable format for the attention deficit humans of this century.  but  as you compress things (specially information) you loose definition  and  that is a problem of every endeavor in description, not only of journalism.

anyway, they only fact checking i’m going to do is related to the numbers.  they say that the eco-village is composed of 500 people and that isn’t quite accurate by any of the definitions (and there are several) of what the L.A Eco-Village is.

when most of us refer to the L.A Eco-Village we are talking about two buildings and between 30 and 40 people that inhabit them and feel involved in this vaguely defined sustainability project.  some factions among us use the  words “L.A Eco-Village” to refer to the neighborhood we inhabit (the L.A Eco-Village Neighborhood if you wish).  but, see, there are problems with the latter.  without denying we affect the neighborhood in many ways (some good, some bad), the people living in the adjacent blocks do not self-designate as members of any eco-village – it would be interesting if they did- but i wouldn’t want to impose that upon them, more than 500 that they are, so i simply do not.   i certainly don’t want the eco-village ambitions (visions?) to be the colonialist ones.  please continue the discussion in the comments. videoafter the jump:

Continue reading

a taste of Hardcore Punk

this really took me by surprise.   last weekend we had an event called Eco-Maya and some bands came over and played in our lobby.   it wasn’t organized by ecovillagers but some of us were very amused by the sudden and unexpected transformation of our normally tame space into a sort of mini venue.  there were several bands ranging from 50’s rock and roll to 80’s heavy metal.  and of course some punk and death metallish bands.  not everyone enjoyed the stacks of amplifiers vibrating the hell out of their apartments but a lot of people had a pretty good time.

Intersection Repair Videos!

Portland City Repair’s Mark Lakeman will return to Eco-Village in two weeks. He’ll be speaking Friday September 11th at 7:30, then Saturday September 12th from 10am to 6pm he’ll be leading an intersection repair project here. For more event details, see this earlier post.

Lakeman is an excellent speaker – whom I highly recommend. His presentation expanded the way I think about public space. It also changed  my ideas about how to get things done in making changes locally. For many years I have been involved in excellent urban environmental non-profits that spend a lot of time pressing the city/county/state/etc. to do things. City Repair’s approach teaches us that social capital and taking things into our own hands can be much more effective – especially at a neighborhood scale.

I thought I would promote Lakeman’s L.A. appearances by running a couple of videos about intersection repair as it’s done all over Portland Oregon. Both videos include Mark Lakeman.

First up is a 10-minute documentary from StreetFilms (a phenomenal resource – part of the StreetsBlog family.) “It’s a great community event. It’s great for families and kids and just for creating a sense of place”

And here’s an 8-minute film that the Portland City Repair folks did themselves. “Design the city for people and lots of other things that are wonderful and healthy will happen”

And if that’s not enough, here’s a half-hour interview with Mark Lakeman on Permaculture in Urban Spaces.

Action Alert: Please Write LAUSD to Preserve Our Corner

Many long-time friends of Los Angeles Eco-Village are aware that we’ve struggled with the Los Angeles Unified School District and its plans to demolish homes in our neighborhood to provide additional school space. Some of the past story is on-line here.

We worked with the school district recently to modify plans for Central Region Elementary School #20 (CRES#20) that would have taken out more than 40 homes in the eco-village neighborhood. Though we stopped that plan, the current designs still call for a large (137 spaces) parking lot directly across from our main apartment building. The lot would level an existing hill on a now vacant lot where eco-villagers began gardening in the early 1990’s, and would have driveways ushering more cars onto the streets we’ve been working to make more pedestrian friendly.

There are some mixed opinions here about the school district. Many of us are sympathetic with the need for additional schools for the kids in our neighborhood. Many of us see it as a massive unresponsive governmental bureaucracy that has difficulties in working with communities. We have a lot of ideas on how the corner site might be better used. At this point, what we mostly agree on and what we’re most interested in exerting some political pressure for, are two goals:

  1. Change the design of the CRES#20 parking lot changed so that it fosters a safe, healthy, walkable community.
  2. Preserve the vacant lot / hill at the northeast corner of Bimini Place and White House Place, for future use as a garden.

We’re asking our friends and neighbors to help us out by sending letters to our school board representative, the honorable Mónica García. A sample letter is below, though best to put it in your own words. Please keep letters brief, friendly and civil, as Ms. García has stated that she does support working with the neighborhood to make this project successful.

Mail, email or fax your letter to:

Honorable Mónica García
LAUSD School Board President
333 S. Beaudry Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90017
Email: monica.garcia [at]
Phone: 213-241-6180
Fax: 213-241-8459

Please also CC both of the following:

Honorable Council President Eric Garcetti
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 470, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Email: councilmember.garcetti [at]
Phone: 213-473-7013
Fax: 213-613-0819

Los Angeles Eco-Village
117 Bimini Place, #221, Los Angeles CA 90004
crsp [at]

Here’s a sample letter:


Honorable Mónica García
LAUSD School Board President

Dear President García,

I write to urge you to support changes to the designs for Central Region Elementary School #20 (CRES#20) that will foster a healthier and safer neighborhood for students, families, staff and the neighborhood. At a recent school district meeting you stated your interest in working with the community on this project. Please make good on your pledge.

Please work with school district staff to redesign the project parking lot, planned at the corner of Bimini Place and White House Place. Please ensure that the parking lot design will preserve the safety and walkability of these streets.

Additionally, please preserve the existing vacant lot hill at the corner for use as a garden. In the past this site served as a school garden, and I urge you to preserve the existing hill so that it can return to that use. Preserving this site can reduce the school district’s expenses, improve security, provide healthy food, enhance student learning, facilitate inter-generational collaboration, and reduce pollution.

I urge you to act now for a healthier future for our kids, our families, and our communities. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


[your name]
[your street address]
[your email address]

Thanks for writing your letters! Best to get your letters in as soon as possible – by no later than mid-July 2009. Keep your RSS tuned to the eco-village blog for future updates.