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Maybe Los Angeles doesn't suck as much as I thought it did
by Katy Purviance on 03/09/10 @ 02:38:14 pm
Categories: Green Design | 324 words | 1239 views

I just read this article on Natural Home Magazine (dot com) by Carol Venolia about the Los Angeles Eco Village.

I know.

How can there be an eco-village in one of the most consumptive, car-based, sprawling, polluted cities in this country?

Exactly.

L.A. Eco-Villagers have planted a dozen organic gardens and more than 100 fruit trees in their two-block neighborhood; developed a community revolving loan fund that made it possible to purchase and eco-rehab two apartment buildings (which will be converted to co-ops); composted sixty cubic yards of green neighborhood waste; diverted twenty tons of brick from the landfill (from the 1994 earthquake) for Eco-Village beautification projects; and held weekly community potlucks to build a sense of community.

Future projects include developing eight live/work spaces; purchasing more buildings; bio-remediating several brownfields; creating a demonstration “slow street” (already funded by the city), where landscaping and pedestrians have priority and cars move slowly; installing a graywater system and a demonstration neighborhood “living machine” for sewage treatment; demonstrating innovative solar heating and cooling systems; starting local green businesses; organizing organic food buying and car co-ops; creating a training program for urban eco-villages; and establishing a local currency system.

Oh Los Angeles, you are my constant complaint. I hate your poison air and your constant traffic, your gridlock, your plastic people. But maybe there is the tiniest little ray of hope emanating from your cold dark heart.

When you stay put and gradually transform your neighborhood’s vitality, you can improve existing buildings (less wasteful than new eco-building); avoid invading rural land; educate neighbors who aren’t already part of “the choir;” grow healthy food that doesn’t need to be trucked in; help cool the urban heat island; recharge the water table; bring birds, bees, and butterflies back to barren areas; reduce car use; and lower crime while increasing a sense of belonging by increasing community.

Just so you know, I’m still moving.

Read the whole thing.

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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