Los Angeles Eco-Village


As promised, I returned to Los Angeles Eco-Village by daylight, but much sooner than I had imagined. The day after his talk there, Albert Bates invited me to accompany him and David Cann, a local community eco-organizer, to visit Dr. Bill Roley, founder/director of the Permaculture Institute of Southern California and professor of environmental science at UC Irvine, at his home and permaculture garden in Laguna Beach. So, we met at the LA Ecovillage before taking off on our journey.


So, here’s how the entrance looks by daylight.


Lois Arkin, co-founder of the LA Eco-Village and a stalwart of the ecovillage movement for decades, welcomed me and David while watering the front garden (fruit trees, herbs and a blossoming cymbidium orchid) and sprucing up the front porch with a handmade broom.


Playful community art adorns the exterior of the building. A mosaic bicycle and wheelchair ramp signed by a local middle school leads from the street to the front walk.


Windchimes, banners, and whirligigs dispell any notion of staidness here.


A cob (mud clay) bench in the shape of a dragon on the street in front. Many intentional communities create public sculpture in this medium.


Drawn in chalk the street in front, a wheel of fortune…


…and an angel. Those, and the dragon, Smaug, sum up the enigma of Los Angeles…


…where a telephone pole is a kind of totem.


The living room/lobby of the ecovillage dormitory, furnished with recycled furniture in the era of the building, serves as a comfortable meeting room.


The very busy bulletin board and flyer table in the living room/lobby.


Bicycle parking in the inner courtyard. Community members proudly disdain automobile ownership, and make use of the city buslines that pass near their home. One member works at a cooperative not-for-profit, the Bicycle Kitchen, which helps people build their own bikes from recycled parts and repair their bikes themselves.


The community garden thrives in a miniature climate created by the buildings on all sides.