Eco-Village Reclaims Bimini Pl. with Street Party and Road Painting

9_15_09_eco_village.jpgJust another Saturday at the Eco-Village.  Photo: Yuki/Eco-Village Blog

Last weekend the Eco-Village sponsored a weekend of events designed to empower the residents within and surrounding the Eco-Village and reclaim their streets.  On Friday night, they hosted Portland architect and activist Mark Lakeman, founder of the City Repair movement, who encouraged those listening to think of themselves as villagers empowered to take control of their streets instead of vassals to the bureaucracy known as local government and DOT’s.  On Saturday, they took his words to heart and went to work on their own street at Bimini Place.

Local activist and author Eric Knutzen gives a good description of the talk at the Homegrown Evolution blog:

Lakeman believes in actions that correct what he believes is our
disassociation from nature and our alienation from each other. He’s a
passionate opponent of the grid, the imposition of street networks and
regimented thinking that he traces back to Roman imperialism. He’s
probably most famous for inspiring groups of like-minded neighbors in
Portland to adorn their streets with furniture and elaborate murals,
usually done without asking for permission (see examples on an interactive map).
He wants to empower us all as "villagers", in charge of our own
collective fate, rather than as serfs subservient to distant
bureaucrats and moneyed interests….

….we’ve got to look to nature and at each other to devise the form of our
cities. The form these villager led interventions take in Los Angeles,
Austin, Iowa City and Brooklyn are going to be different. What all our
cities share in common is the need to get started immediately to undo a
century’s worth of bad planning and disempowerment.

What better way to follow-up that sort of inspiration than with a street party designed to re-claim a street and provide the local children a safe place to interact with their community and have fun.  A number of Eco-Villagers have written about what happened on Saturday and there’s a lot of pictures of the event.  Briefly, the villagers barricaded the streets, brought out the street paint and got to work.  In addition to decoration, they also installed crosswalks at the intersections in front of the Eco-Village.  Naturally, they did this without the sanctions over our bureaucratic overlords Downtown.

For more coverage of the event, and a host of photos click over to these stories at the Eco-Village Blog, Handmade Ransom Notes and Urban Adonia.

  • First Obama, now this. This country is going down the tubes, I tell you. What’s next? Zero pedestrian and bike traffic fatalities in LA?

    I shudder at the thought.

  • Ron

    This event was a lot of fun – really great to see so many kids and families from the neigbhorhood come out and paint the street. What intersection in LA will be next?

  • Figueroa and Avenue 37!! (In my dreams).

  • walker o

    This is why people move to the suburbs and buy in cul-de-sacs…

    I really don’t understand teh talking points about taking back our streets. I think that translates into getting rid of cars. How many of the participants at this event take motorized vehicles to work and play all week long?

  • Walker O, your “not getting it” is extremely irritating.

  • walker_o

    Is it because my questions can’t be answered? Or because it is not comfortable to answer them? If its because the answers are obvious to you then it should be very easy for you to help me out.

  • @walker_o: I don’t quite understand the sense of your comments… but I can answer your question regarding how many of the participants take cars to work: Very few. The folks at LA Eco-Village who organized this (including me) are bicyclists who bike to work. (Overall at LAEV, we have >75% of folks who are car-free, and the rest are pretty car-lite… with a lot of bicycling walking and transit.) The kids and families who painted are mostly lower income immigrants who don’t get around by car either.

    I am not sure that this question is all that relevant, though – even if many of us drove most of the time, this sort of thing could still be a good event. I think it could still help make for a better neighborhood that’s more walkable, more livable, and that has more social glue. It could work in a suburb, I think… but the one described above didn’t take place in a suburb or on a cul-de-sac, though – it took place a couple miles from Downtown LA – a fairly dense neighborhood with mostly apartments – mostly Latino, with plenty of Korean, Bangladeshi, and lots more.

    If you have the time and inclination, I’d recommend watching some of the videos here if you want to learn more about these sorts of events:
    http://laecovillage.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/intersection-repair-videos/

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