Blog

Communities in Southern California

Here is a list of some of the communities we have visited around Southern California.  Check out their pages for ways you can request tours or visits.

List of Southern California communities

There are some great examples from which we can learn.  Keep an eye out for the Sustainability Seminar in the spring at Regen co-op, the many resources and Saturday tours at L.A. Ecovillage, and the inspiring videos of Activated Villages, which is a project of a member of Emerald Village.

p.s. I love the web bookmarking tool Diigo!

Why are new forms of housing important?

Recently I was asked, “Why is it important to have these new types of housing as an option in LA?”
Things are changing.  People young and old don’t want to drive as much, and want to work in the community in which they live.  We want to collaborate and do things together, rather than try to be involved in many places and wear ourselves out.   Cities need to allow us to be creative and make the solutions that work for us.  The previous models don’t work for the current problems that we have.  We won’t be able to reduce our use of resources, get engaged in our communities, and have social support if we all need to purchase our own million dollar homes.  These things are all goals of cities, and we can make them happen if we are allowed to drive the planning.

Community planning workshop “Place It”

Please join At Home, LATCH Collective, and L.A. Eco-Village at this planning workshop!  This will be part of a series in which we create our vision, match members based on shared interests, and get going on our projects.
Thursday, July 27, 2017 

PLACE IT: COMMUNITY VISIONING WORKSHOP WITH JAMES ROJAS

James Rojas

Re-envision your neighborhood through storytelling, objects, art-making and play.  Investigate your attachment to place and shelter by thinking beyond words by building models to express your ideas about cohousing, intentional community, and tiny homes and villages.

 

EVENT DETAILS

Date & Time:
Thursday, July 27, 2017 from 7pm to 10pm

Place:
3554 West First Street Los Angeles 90004
(enter on Bimini Place
at Los Angeles Eco-Village
 
Reservations required:
Get your tickets here 
Or email crsp@igc.org
$5 to $20 sliding scale

About James Rojas
James is an urban planner, community activist, and artist.  He developed this method to make planning visual, tactile and meaningful. Through this method, he has engaged thousands of people by facilitating over 500 workshops and building over fifty interactive models around the world.   More about James and the Place It workshops can be found at:

 

About the organizers

L.A. Eco-Village, the LATCH Collective, and At Home Housing have organized this workshop to connect interested members and move projects forward through hands-on workshops.  This will be part of a series to further develop the visions and plans for kicking off projects in 2017.

Home is where the Art is

Several group members attended the LACMA Exhibition “Home—So Different, So Appealing: Art from the Americas since 1957.”  It was so moving and powerful, and I felt it on a personal level in a way I don’t with many other types of modern or classical art.

We got to talk with urban planner James Rojas and friends about the exhibit and what is home.  A couple of things that struck me from the discussion:
“home is different for everyone, and can even be a state of mind and not a place”
“when you move around, you realize you have a piece of each city with you”

We talked about having an idealized home in mind which does not exist, but always seeking it. And feeling at home outdoors, in a book, on the subway, or in a park.

Here is the description of the exhibit, which is still going on if you’d like to visit:
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Home—So Different, So Appealing: Art from the Americas since 1957, a groundbreaking exhibition on the universal concept of home, and the first group show at a major Los Angeles museum to focus on Latino and Latin American art since the 1950s. Offering an extraordinary look at one of the world’s most basic social concepts, this exhibition explores the differences and affinities within artworks relative to immigration and political repression, dislocation and diaspora, and personal memory and utopian ideals. Home—So Different, So Appealing features approximately 100 artworks by 40 Latino and Latin American artists. This expansive exhibition will include painting, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, film/video, and public sculpture by U.S. artists from the largest historic Latino groups—of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban origin—plus artists from Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela, and Uruguay, among other countries. Included in the exhibition are works by internationally recognized artists Antonio Berni, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Leon Ferrari, Beatriz González, Felix González-Torres, Guillermo Kuitca, Daniel Martinez, Gordon Matta-Clark, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, and Doris Salcedo, as well as emerging and established Los Angeles-based artists Laura Aguilar, Carmen Argote, Christina Fernandez, Ramiro Gomez, Salomón Huerta, and Camilo Ontiveros. Among the many large-scale works in the exhibition, María Elena González’s participatory sculpture Magic Carpet/Home (2003/2017) will be presented outdoors on the LACMA grounds.

Ready

Changing the way we live and altering our daily lives is a big step.  Many of us look with awe and intimidation at the established eco-villages with gardens bursting with produce and cohousing communities expertly designed with architects.  If we could transport ourselves right in place in our new home, we would.  But whether we are joining a community or creating one, the steps to making that life a reality take work.

I went through a process of learning on my way to readiness.  A very wonderful process of reading books, meeting people, and seeing places which changed my assumptions about what I really needed and what was most important.  Over time, I realized what mattered to me most was not a private house, but the chance to be outside more of my day.  And that I didn’t need to choose my neighbors based on having all the same interests as I do, but instead on their desire to be in a community.

At the beginning, there were so many questions.  With all the barriers, is this possible?  How does the group planning process work?  Am I being realistic about what I want?  How do we agree on a plan, or even have enough meetings to talk about a vision!

Visiting and being welcomed by other communities answered the question that this is possible. The people living and building communities in Southern California are inspiring!  Also learned that the process is different for every community, and it’s more about the bonds and communication within the group than any external factor.

I didn’t know that it would take me 2 years to decide I was REALLY ready.  It took many nights of writing in journals and asking myself the questions in Diana Leafe Christian’s books.  Many conversations in groups where we could think out loud and see how our ideas sounded.  And many events hosted by like-minded organizations, where I could see the connections and strength of these many groups with values that support community.

After lunar new year celebrations with friends, I joked that since it is now the Year of the Rooster, it means it will be the year I will realize that idea of the community with the chickens in the yard.  Another friend promptly gave me a poster of a rooster from her home, so I hope that means I am on my way.  I feel so grateful that I have been able to meet my coworkers, neighbors, organizers, leaders, and artists that have been part of this journey.  I can’t imagine living any other way but in community, so I will keep learning and pushing forward.

At Home plans – we need you!

Here is what we have been discussing for next workshops:

Community-centered housing 101 course
We are putting together a short course for people interested in cohousing, cooperatives, and communities, but are new to the issue.  This course will cover the basic terms, examples of communities,  activities to determine what you are looking for, and discussion. Contribute your knowledge and questions to this effort!

Submit events
What have you been wanting to see, but haven’t gotten there?  Are there places where we could learn more about design, community, culture, or our other topics?  Send any places you’d like to visit together, those are great for the Meetup group.   Also let us know if you have a related event where you’d like to invite the group. Examples include events at Environmental Changemakers, LA Ecovillage, Transition, Learning Garden, or any public event in your neighborhood.

Participate by emailing the group, or posting on the Meetup page:
https://www.meetup.com/You-Are-Here-Intentional-Community-Los-Angeles/messages/boards/

The meetup group is great for the social gatherings, events that are open to the larger group, and things that are building community more generally than housing. Use the discussion board, or the “suggest a meetup” feature.

Cooperative Living Salon: Community Land Trusts & Co-Housing

Several members attended this event, as well as other meetings on housing hosted by LA-Más and the Much ADU About Nothing group. 
This salon was aimed at those interested in Community Land Trusts & Cohousing.  These gatherings are hosted by LA-Más, and I’m posting the information sent by Mark Vallianatos and Helen Leung. 
Cooperative Living Salon: Community Land Trusts & Co-Housing
Presentations by Helen Campbell, Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust & Ilaria Mazzoleni + Olivia Samad, InhabitLA
September 28, 2016
We are not done convening discussions on the policy, design, financing and construction of ADUs or secondary units. But our next Much ADU About Nothing gathering onwill focus on another innovative housing type: cooperative living and building. Just as ADUs allow individual homeowners to add units to shape their living environment, cooperative housing empowers a group of residents to plan, develop and own multifamily dwelling. 
Helen Campbell will present on community land trusts. Helen will be speaking about her involvement as a board member with the Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust (BVNLT), home of the LA Eco-Village. Helen will provide an overview of land trusts and describe the history, ownership, financial and legal structure of the BVNLT, as well as its plans for the future and the potential for other land trusts in Los Angeles. Olivia Samad and Ilaria Mazzoleni from inHabitLA will present on co-housing and the ongoing process to establish a co-housing project in LA. Olivia is Senior Attorney with SoCal Edison and has lived in and explored co-housing in the Washington DC and LA regions. Ilaria is an architect and founder of IM Studio Milano/Los Angeles. They will describe co-housing, trace its origins and give examples in and outside the U.S. 
We look forward to seeing you, please let us know if you can make it! 
Cheers, 
Mark Vallianatos and Helen Leung

Paolo Soleri and architecture

Thanks for all who planned and attended the backyard screening of “Paolo Soleri: Beyond Form” film.  It was very energizing to see the works that were created with such inspiration, and think about how buildings could be much more incorporated with the landscape.  There is a movement to regain our sense of place, and that cities don’t all have to look the same across the country.  A person should be able to look at buildings and have a sense of the local history, climate, and people.

 We also celebrated You Are Here meetup organizer Beth Ann Morrison, who is moving to Phoenix to begin a fascinating PhD program in sustainability.

From the Meeup page:

 Soleri was the mastermind behind Arcosanti, north of Scottsdale, AZ – an impressive demonstration of a sustainable city with a focus on living in harmony with the earth, each other, and all forms of life.  Beyond Form is a cinéma vérité style documentary, that presents a fresh and intimate look at the legendary and multi talented artist, philosopher, urban theorist and architect Paolo Soleri. A man who had a dream to create an environment in harmony with man. This film focuses on how his body of work has inspired thousands of people over the years and why his technique and concepts have staying power. You’ll see why Soleri was green before “green” and “sustainable” ever entered the world lexicon. The lean approach has been a theme that was present through out Soleri’s life. Filmmaker Aimee Madsen created this documentary much in the spirit of Soleri’s style of frugality, doing more with less. Written by Roger Tomalty.