Resilient Ideas: Low-Impact Urban Living

The challenges of creating urban ecovillages can also be great advantages.
LA Eco-village

Photo by Lois Arkin

Founded after the civil unrest of April 1992, L.A. Eco-Village shows how low-impact living can also be a model for urban neighborhood self-reliance.

The 40 members of this intentional community live in a diverse working-class neighborhood a block away from one of the most congested traffic corridors in Los Angeles. They’re converting two apartment buildings to a limited-equity housing cooperative and community land trust.


Video: L.A. Eco-Village brings community, art, and activism together.

Many residents have trained in building skills to repair and eco-retrofit their own units. The surrounding two blocks have been transformed with a park, vegetable gardens, orchards, and permeable sidewalks.

“The challenges for urban ecovillages are also our greatest advantages,” says co-founder Lois Arkin, noting that working with public agencies and elected officials has enabled ecovillagers to influence public policy in the direction of more sustainable communities. Above, a gate made of old bicycle parts and, at right, drastic traffic-calming measures outside the residences.

Sven Eberlein wrote this article for A Resilient Community, the Fall 2010 issue of YES! Magazine.  His writing on ecocities was included in the Daily Kos “Greenroots” series. His website is

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