Edens Lost and Found - Los Angeles

LA made smog and pollution into household words. No longer. Its citizens have said enough. TreePeople, founded by Andy Lipkis, is leading the campaign to plant one million trees in the next decade. Friends of the LA River and the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy are reclaiming the Los Angeles River. They are determined to see the return of steelhead salmon in their lifetimes.

To everyone's surprise, Los Angeles is discovering mass transit. Darrell Clarke, Executive Director of Friends of the Expo Line has spent 17 years finally convincing the city to begin building the first east-west light rail-line in Los Angeles in 50 years.
Girls Today Women Tomorrow mentors the girls of Boyle Heights, teaching them about nutrition, exercise, and their Latina culture. The community-based program also provides college scholarships in a neighborhood where the drop-out rate is close to 50%.
Los Angeles is even planning a 26-acre downtown park thanks to the philanthropic generosity and vision of Eli Broad. Other green projects are being promoted by its 24/7 Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who understands that environmental justice, public health and quality-of-life go together in order to dream a different city.

'Wiland and Bell show us that some of the real solutions might just be on our doorstep, our roofs, and in our city halls.' Anna Lappe, Co-Founder of Small Planet Institute, Co-Author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen

'An inspiring look at how cities can be transformed and how parks and green space can heal the soul of a community.' Philadelphia Daily News

'Inspiring examples from Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Seattle show how people can rediscover the natural attributes that made their cities desirable to settle in the first place.' Sierra Magazine

'There's something positively redemptive about Edens Lost and Found, the new PBS series about the transformation of dismal urban spaces into gardens and parks, villages and murals that are green and welcoming.' Virginia A. Smith, Philadelphia Inquirer

' [Eden's Lost and Found] Los Angeles: Dream a Different City inspires and instructs everyday citizens to tackle the big problems of sustainability, bit by bit, with effective grassroots initiative. It covers a wide range of angles: from light rail to urban forestry, restoring the L.A. River to developing sustainable lifestyles, and restoring toxic brownfields to developing farmers markets and urban gardening. A terrific resource for classrooms and community meetings alike, for those who live in well-off neighborhoods to those struggling to create environmental justice in areas once devastated by landfills and junkyards.' Carmen Sirianni, Chair, Sociology Department, Brandeis University

'In a day of increasing environmental awareness, the film hits home. It was especially relevant to us here in San Jose, California, just a few hundred miles north [of Los Angeles] and the 10th largest city in the U.S. It causes for some introspection of our personal actions and behaviors. I am considering biking to work in the future.' Dave Taylor, Physics teacher, Lynbrook High School

'Edens Lost and Found: Los Angeles, Dream a Different City shows how individuals can influence their communities and shape the future of their city...If Angelenos can accomplish these endeavors, then perhaps the damage we've done since the dawn of the industrial age is reversible. This film is a tremendous resource for students and individuals interested in learning more about the environmental challenges that face urban areas and how everyday people are making a difference to tackle these problems.' Hilary Nixon, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, San Jose State University

'Los Angeles has always been a rich laboratory to urban planning and environmental design students. Eden's Lost and Found: Los Angeles captures a variety of related issues and convincingly illustrates how this dynamic metropolis has succeeded in addressing them. The documentary opens up new vistas for city managers, landscape architects, and environmental planners. It highlights the best lessons learned from reclaiming the Los Angeles rivers and mountains, developing downtown parks, and re-discovering the mass transit role in Los Angeles' urban life. This documentary will be of particular interest to professionals working in urban renewal projects or landscape restoration programs.' Safei-Eldin A. Hamed, Ph.D., Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University

'I used Edens Lost and Found to organize a course I taught this summer...What a great class we had! The series proved to be a valuable tool in focusing the student's attention. By highlighting a variety of topics, institutional arenas, and personalities involved with environmental sustainability in four cities, the series alerted my students to the opportunities and challenges available to policy makers. The fact that the series showed the struggle to incorporate environmental values in everyday life, in education, and in public policy agendas at the local level, and the fact that sometimes the best intentions did not work out, provided a realistic sense of the challenge...Several of the grad students had not been exposed to the environment in this way, and told me that the class was an eye opening experience. Two were inspired to do their graduate applied research project on environmental sustainability.

The Edens Lost and Found series is an important addition to material available to introduce students at all levels to environmental values. The presentation of some hard lessons regarding success and failure, and how much time and effort go into trying to change our neighborhoods and cities makes this series unique. I look forward to the next opportunity that I have to use the Edens Lost and Found series, and recommend it to educators at all levels.' Greg Andranovich, Professor of Political Science, California State University-Los Angeles

'These effective, professionally produced programs will inspire cities and towns all over the United States to use more green building materials, cultivate and employ native trees and plants for landscaping, find ways to practice conservation, and minimize disruptions to the natural environment. Recommended for all collections.' Susan C. Awe, University of New Mexico Library, Library Journal


Main credits

Smits, Jimmy (Host)
Smits, Jimmy (Narrator)
Wiland, Harry (Director)
Wiland, Harry (Producer)
Bell, Dale (Producer)
Baroff, Beverly (Screenwriter)
Baroff, Beverly (Producer)
Baroff, Beverly (Editor)

Other credits

Directors of photography, Chad Wilson, Jonathan Bell; music, David Loeb & Gary Griffin.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Environmental Ethics
Forests and Rainforests
Latino and Chicano Studies
Local Economies
Outdoor Education
Toxic Chemicals
Urban Studies
Urban and Regional Planning
Western US


air pollution,; mudslides,; drought, flooding, ; traffic congestion, ; urban blight, ; fires,; earthquakes, TreePeople, Andy Lipkis, TREES Project, infrastructure, watershed management, San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, downtown city center, Grand Avenue, Eli Broad, light rail, downtown housing, arts and cultural venues, Expo Line; "Edens Lost and Found - Los Angeles"; Bullfrog Films

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