PAUL GLOVER ESSAYS: community control of food, fuel, housing, health care, planning, education, finance.

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Designing Eco-Los Angeles

L.A. Resources, Spring 1984

by Paul Glover

Imagine Los Angeles gradually transformed into a giant Southern California orchard laced with bikepaths and solar freight rail, tended by thousands of solar co-op communities.  These living communities, or ecolonies, have both private and shared areas, include quiet solar-powered neighborhood industries, and are surrounded by gardens and playgrounds on land formerly covered by concrete, apartments and asphalt.  We electrify ourselves with photovoltaics and water ourselves with the desalted Pacific.  Colorful cultures and diverse lifestyles make life vibrant. City living takes on a lot of the best of country.

We're healthier, happier and sexier.

The city as presently constituted is the enemy of physical and spiritual health.  We meditate, center ourselves, our souls open, lights change, horns honk, traffic jams and we crack up again.  We're inspired by ancient teachings and traumatized by local news.  We free our hearts but are afraid to walk at night.  We eat the best food yet 80% of our diet, by weight, is rotten air.  We become slim and muscular while our lungs turn gritty yellow.  We try to raise children to respect life in a city which has killed nature.  We yearn for community in an ocean of locked and barred suburban cells.  We seek creative work but sell our lives.

Citizen Planners is a group founded last year to prove we need not just endure what must instead be changed.d We're holistic urban designers whose aims are safe and friendly neighborhood, full employment, easy transit, solar power, urban agriculture, pure water, clean air and natural beauty in Los Angeles.  We invent practical transitions to these.
Rather than escape "back to the land" only to find crowds there escaping city crowds, we prefer to "bring back the land."  Though most city land is paved and built, much of this area can be released for orchard, garden and play by changing our housing and transportation systems.

As our name implies, we encourage city planning by everyone who lives here.  Traditional planners are busy designing taller buildings and wider highways.  WeĠre designing alternatives.  Our members include doctors, housewives, professors, gardeners, poets, architects, carpenters, authors, clerks, urban designers, lifeguards, factory managers, artists, economists, labors, capitalists, very young and very old.  We have new ideas of progress and growth.   We work and play together.  Potlucks and field trips unite us.

Our newsletter Sensual Cities describes our latest projects.  Research and Action Groups gather information on the nuts-and-bolts of uban agriculture, regional resources and appropriate technology.  Our Eco-Home Network supports household conservation, recycling and self-sufficiency.  Our members also offer professional consultation to renters, homeowners, businesses, community organizations and governments.  Two slide shows "The Edible City" and "World Peace: What Will It Look Like?" are available to groups.

Membership is $15/year and contributions are tax-deductible (checks to Urban Ecology, Inc)  We're especially looking for expanded office space and for donations of housing and land for construction of urban eco-villages.  Our book and poster Los Angeles: A History of the Future detail more of what we forsee.

We make ideals real.
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