Transition L.A. City Hub

Transition in Los Angeles is receiving a lot of attention. We’re not sure if it is because L.A. is so very big or because L.A. is so visible, but they have been getting lots of questions from reporters and other cities who are interested in becoming Transition city hubs.

Transition L.A. officially started late last year. Even though their area-wide initiating group had been spreading Transition-type ideas for nearly 3 years, local activists still thought in terms of Sustainability and were not using the term "Transition Town."

In December, they held a successful 2 day “Training for Transition” course with UK founders Naresh Giangrande and Sophy Banks, which "gelled" the energy there. In retrospect, the T4T was perhaps their area-wide Great Unleashing. Transition L.A. is now preparing for its 3rd core team meeting.

L.A. is an area of absolutely massive scale. But they’re starting with the local: all the participants from their December T4T are beginning in their own neighborhoods, no matter how far-flung and separate those neighborhoods might be. In "designing from pattern to details," they’ve come to regard the huge scale of L.A. in the form of local "pods" or pockets of local activity where most of the awareness-raising, physical projects and working groups will take place.

They’re forming local pods in one of two ways: (1) pods formed around existing places that people gather, such as community gardens, faith communities, Permaculture groups, etc., even if people have to drive to get to them, and (2) pods formed in local neighborhoods, in a walkable or bikeable radius - more of a true relocalization effort.

They’re doing it this way because they realized that L.A. residents are accustomed to being residents of sprawl - with house in one neighborhood, kids' school in another, work in yet another area of the city, and shopping and arts/entertainment all over the place - that they don't yet have a real sense of belonging to a particular neighborhood. But people often have a sense of belonging to a certain group, so they’re starting with what they have.

In their first 2 months, many pods have formed. In numerous local areas, people have decided to organize themselves and begin working with the Transition process. Activities and projects - from new fruit harvest projects and urban-based CSA proposals, to new community gardens, to local business directories and storytelling - are truly "going viral." Reskilling classes are filling calendars. One pod is already planning its local Great Unleashing. And the intensive project of cataloging and networking the existing resilience-building activities has begun.

At the same time, they’ve formed Transition L.A., a city-wide hub. Transition L.A. offers communication between the local pods, it organized area-wide education events (such as "The Work that Reconnects," a March 28 workshop put on by a student of Joanna Macy), and it will likely host future Transition Trainings.

Transition L.A. has some interest groups which are looking at area-wide issues. They’ve already issued their first political position letter, to a state Senate Hearing on water resources (viewable on their website). They’ve created a speaker's bureau, to help with awareness-raising events in new areas that want to organize into Transition pods. In response to the questions from other cities and reporters, they’ve compiled their own "Transition Cities" resource page. They have also received "official" Transition Initiative status, and many of the local pods are not too far behind in meeting the official criteria as well.

Just as Rob Hopkins said in his book, Transition is a process which takes place both on an inner and an outer level. The outer trappings of Los Angeles may still look very much the same as they did last December; but at an inner level, parts of this area are experiencing an incredible transformation.

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