LA ecovillage: self-reliance in car-free urban homestead

In urban Los Angeles, about 3 miles west of downtown, 500 people live on 11 acres where priority is given to bicycles, fruit trees, greywater, veggie gardens, clotheslines, compost, shared spaces (tool shop, art space, bike shop), micro-businesses, on-site natural food coop and chickens.

The Los Angeles Ecovillage was launched over 2 decades when its founders looked to the neighborhood for inspiration. “The way in which we think about making an urban ecovillage, we have to ask ourselves the questions, ‘what are the problems in your neighborhood with air, soil and water'”, explains co-founder Lois Arkin. “And for us, in the beginning, it was discovering that the children in our neighborhood had 20% less lung capacity than children in other neighborhoods. So what could we do, we could stop driving.”

* Filmed by Johnny Sanphillippo — more of his stories about urbanism, adaptation & resilience:

LA Ecovillage:

Original story:

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  1. Kate42
    October 21, 2015

    I love her depth of commitment to this wonderful project.What a wonderful and peaceful place.

  2. Aniela Szymanska
    November 23, 2015

    this is soooo great opportunities for some kind of people that will be able might be even survived Thank you so much for such great example and show others to be normal, environmental friendly, ordinary persons Thank you again and all the best in the future

  3. wyowrench
    November 25, 2015

    Wow is everyone in LA that snotty? remind me not to move anywhere near that lady.

  4. dancewomyn1
    January 15, 2016

    I would love to learn from this woman…What a pioneer! To come into an area that I'm sure in the 80's was scary as hell, and come out on the other side with this self sustaining community is quite an accomplishment! And did she say "no bank loans" by the way!?? Wow. impressive.

  5. Expat Prepper
    January 20, 2016

    I think you have to be a leftist politically correct Democrat to reside there I just have one question if I live there would be able butcher my meat rabbits on site and play my Hank Williams jr. music loud

  6. Graydon Buchleiter
    February 3, 2016


  7. Qris TV
    February 21, 2016

    they should do something like that in every city

  8. Charles Cain
    March 27, 2016

    Everything she is wearing and probably owns, including the seeds and plants, came by an evil truck,  Then she drove a car to pick it up and on and on with the hypocrisy.

  9. The72Nana
    July 9, 2016

    So amazing!

  10. K Kerrigan
    July 13, 2016

    I'm a RE investor and serial renovator and this is awesome and inspiring. Not everyone's style or aesthetic so as they say…take the best, forget the rest. It's just one example. Not your thing? Make your own!! Love the garages/art spaces and tool sheds. I'm just amazed at how she acquired all the buildings and the sense of determination & vision. You go Lois!!

  11. Issac Frutos
    August 17, 2016

    Courtyards look trashy.

  12. julia mckechnie
    August 20, 2016

    i love this idea.

  13. buck rowley
    August 28, 2016

    I read the story in the whole earth catalog(the one in the margin on almost every page ) ..start a conversation with me

  14. felicetanka
    September 7, 2016

    i didn't know LA had a 'watertable" (27:14)

  15. WynnKidsNanny LoriVance
    September 9, 2016

    urban self reliance in one space—that is just cool!!!

  16. WynnKidsNanny LoriVance
    September 9, 2016

    Kirsten, I know I say this about almost every film you make….but….this one is my favorite!…..again! 🙂

  17. noooddle
    September 11, 2016

    The first statement is that there was good reason to be eco-friendly in the city. The next statement was a complaint about a truck.

    Not feeling the sincerity, sweetie

  18. fudge92
    October 1, 2016

    All what she has done and what she wants to do,
    I wonder if the coffee roaster who started in this community when he made it good, if he gave something back to her and the community
    Like the idea, but what I saw on the veggy growing and composting it seemed higgledy piggledy, they just seem like its i'll plant a bit of this here and this there and the same with composting, were they could each have set areas. maybe even a community veggy area were they might be able to sell

  19. Lisa Whitaker
    October 8, 2016

    We were sorry to get to the end of this video…ready to move now!

  20. Boltification
    November 1, 2016

    This is so inspiring! I would love to live there and have a micro-business of selling secondhand clothes and handmade goods and foods.

  21. CrankyBubushka
    December 8, 2016

    Omg I love this place!! I wish I could have a place like that where I live!!

  22. TheSancho323
    December 10, 2016

    When I lived in the projects in Boyle heights. My dad use too grow corn. All types of chili peppers. He had a papaya tree. All of our neighbors use too come and pick. My dad never had an issue with it.

  23. Verdana
    December 11, 2016

    I just want to be old and live simple in a quiet neighborhood.

  24. Zane (Ragin_Pacifist)
    December 11, 2016

    Are these the same people who sue other people for using the term 'urban homestead'?

  25. Simple and Green
    January 16, 2017

    So inspirational and so many amazing ideas. Just love this one !!

  26. Andrei Soare
    February 26, 2017

    I'm Andrei from Romania, Europe.
    I liked very much your youtoube video
    I liked your inside home, your garden and especialy your yard.
    I liked it very, very , very , much, much !
    Well done ! Maby you are in USA I think !
    Have I right ?
    All the best ! Bye !

  27. AlexMidnightWalker
    March 5, 2017

    Thanks for posting Kirsten. Enjoyable

  28. Linda Readman
    March 13, 2017

    Great example of a city urban homestead. A community comes together and made this place a self-reliance and sustainable garden. We need more neighborhoods and other cities to do what they're doing. Thank you for a great video.

  29. Hollis Shiloh
    March 21, 2017

    this is so inspiring

  30. bloop blooper
    May 4, 2017


  31. Eviemyname
    May 7, 2017

    This is commune living …. it's always been a better way of life and practiced for a very long time until recently. Everyone working together for a global aim. You also hv the benefits of having different skill sets coming together to solve problems and save money.

  32. Madden Master
    May 19, 2017

    I assume this place does not allow pets or smokers ..which is OK by me ..both can be damaging to your nice area …// … the 435 sq ft apt looks like place I rent for $ 1974) in Santa Cruz..building was built in 1910? same kitchen sink with facets coming out of wall

  33. TheDtfamu89
    June 24, 2017

    This is a good idea that helps to stabilize living costs, and people see themselves as owners.

  34. -Kr3w- otlw_Str
    June 25, 2017

    dude cars are evil

  35. 3rd Street Pictures
    August 23, 2017

    And the air quality in LA just gets worse and worse. Awareness means almost nothing when your metro area has over 13 million humans living there.

  36. Jeff Bingaman
    September 1, 2017

    So she gets rid of all the people who own autos. Then children because they're so loud
    Then husbands because they cheat. And be left with a retirement community of elderly women who no longer can do anything but moan. And the whole place grows over with vines that suffocates them

    Then years from the overgrowth genocide
    A archeologist enters the weed infested jungle and finds a village.
    Which then the LA county government asks for back taxes and annexes the project into their clutch. The End

  37. karolinacutie
    September 6, 2017


  38. Jesse Milligan
    October 2, 2017

    lovely place but that woman is a little bit of a tyrant

  39. World House
    October 27, 2017

    I want to move there………

  40. Forrest Livengood
    November 2, 2017

    Her dream is beautiful.

  41. leslie landberg
    November 13, 2017

    I love this idea and I love this sweet old lady and her enthusiasm, but the condition of the homes and yards is disgraceful. Somehow we have gotten this notion that to be neat and organized is simply inauthentic and unnatural. What I see is huge wasted potential, inefficiencies, decay and unsafe structures. I sympathize she didn't want to borrow, but what about a small business loan or a modest amount of revolving credit to finance some much needed safety and sanitation upgrades each year? How album getting all that free labor from the EcoVilliage to pitch in and keep their spaces better regulated? I see a lot of short-sighted wishful thinking and rose-colored glasses in what could be aesthetically as well as ethically amazing living.

  42. Pacific Permaculture
    November 16, 2017

    Really cool,we need this concept to take root in the SF Bay Area ! ! !

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