All posts by egermain

Building an Intentional Community

Olivia Samad doesn’t go to church, she isn’t married and she is an only child. Living in Los Angeles she says, “I still need community.” For three years she has been working to establish the city’s first cohousing community, inHabitLA. A lawyer by trade Samad is a founding member of the organization.

Different from a condo, a co-op or a commune, cohousing members own individual units that are supplemented by common facilities. Often called an intentional community cohousing aims to increase happiness by building community.

“I want to be an example of how we can do housing in the future,” she says. While cohousing’s main function isn’t for affordability, a lower cost of housing is often the result of living in a denser community and sharing resources. For example, in a typical single family home each home would have a guest bedroom. In cohousing the community would share guest bedrooms and use them only when necessary.

“It’s something that makes people really happy,” she says talking about the sense of community. Samad was first introduced to cohousing in 2000 when she moved into a cohousing community in Washington DC. Prior to living there she had never heard of it before, but instantly enjoyed the sense of community that it created.

In addition to community, most cohousing sites have a lower carbon footprint than a single family home and place a strong emphasis on having connection with their surrounding environment. For Samad being close to public transportation is also important when selecting a piece of land to build.

After moving back to Southern California in 2003 she starting working toward making cohousing a reality in Los Angeles. For the past three years she has been working on getting inHabitLA off the ground.

“A lot of what cohousing facilitates is a healthy cohesive neighborhood,” she says. Living in a shared community single parents, senior citizens and families can share dinners, guest rooms, kitchens and other community facilities.

Samad is in the process of searching for land. She has eight families that are serious about joining inHabitLA and another 100 on a list waiting for land to be purchased before moving forward with any decisions. She is optimistic that in three years the community will be up and running.

“This is the year we’re going to find a sight and a developer,” she says confidently.

 

 

 

 

A Love for Travel, Music and Education

Walid El Atrache smiles as he talks about the beauty of his favorite destinations Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia. They are at the top of his list because of both their natural beauty and rich history. Having traveled to more than 50 countries in the past 10 years, El Atrache knows many more places are left to explore.

“There is a lot of variety in this world,” he says. “Even if you spend a lifetime you won’t be able to experience everything.”

His curiosity for travel started at a young age. After first living in Brazil he relocated with his family to Dubai when he was eight.

“I always had sort of weird observations about things,” he says. “I would wonder why things were the way they were.”

If those around him didn’t know the answers to his questions he turned to history books, encyclopedias and magazine articles.

Yes, he loves travel, but El Atrache gets even more animated when the topic of music comes up. He says that he has always had a peculiar taste in music and enjoys researching little-known bands. He is always searching for new sounds and creative ways that musicians produce a song. He lists early 2000s Radiohead as some of his favorite examples of great music creativity and production.

In his professional life, El Atrache has worked for some of the world’s most exclusive luxury brands. He started with Air France then moved on to marketing positions with brands such as Cartier, Givenchy and Escada.

About four years ago he decided to pursue his longtime dream of working as a broadcast journalist. His goal is to create a television show that highlights bands he discovers and follows.

“I could never find a lot of people that shared my musical taste, so I’ve always wanted to find a platform for the people that I listen to,” he says.

Pursuing a master’s in broadcast journalism is a current of his goal, but it’s not the only advanced degree on his list. Prior to moving to Los Angeles to attend the M.S. program for journalism at the University of Southern California, El Atrache completed an MBA at Murdoch University.

Does El Atrache plan any other degrees? “This will be my last one,” he says. This time next year I’ll retire from education.”

 

Walid_Info

A Love for Travel, Music and Education

Walid El Atrache smiles when he talks about the natural beauty of his favorite destinations including Greece, Kosovo and Macedonia. Having traveled to more than 50 countries in the past ten years El Atrache knows there are many more places left to explore. “There is a lot of variety in this world,” he says. “Even if you spend a lifetime you won’t be able to experience everything.” For him the joy of traveling isn’t just about what he discovers while he is there, but how it compares to what he has read in the history books.

His curiosity for travel started at a young age when he started asking questions about the world around him. First living in Brazil and then moving with his family to Dubai when he was 8. “I always had sort of weird observations about things,” he says. “I would wonder why things were the way they were.” When those around him didn’t know the answers to his questions he turned to books.

While he clearly has a love for travel he gets even more animated and excited when the topic of music comes up. He says that he has always had a peculiar taste in music and enjoys researching little known bands. His appreciation for music runs deeper than just the casual listener. When listening to music he is always searching for new sounds and creative ways that musicians produce a song. He lists early 2000’s Radiohead as some of his favorite examples of great music creativity and production.

In his professional life El Atrache has worked for some of the most exclusive luxury brands in the world. He started his career working for Air France before moving on to marketing positions with brands like Cartier, Givenchy and Escada. About four years ago he started planning his return to academia to pursue his longtime dream of working as a broadcast journalist. His goal is to create a television show that introduces an audience to the bands that he discovers and follows. “I could never find a lot of people that shared my musical taste, so I’ve always wanted to find a platform for the people that I listen to,” he says.

While returning to school to pursue broadcast journalism is one of his goals, it’s not the only advanced degree on his list. Prior to moving to Los Angeles to attend the M.S. program for Journalism at the University of Southern California, El Atrache completed an MBA at Murdoch University. When asked about any other degrees he laughs and replies, “This will be my last one though. This time next year I’ll retire from education.”

Walid El Atrache

Posing in front of a red backdrop Walid El Atrache stares confidently into the camera, his arms crossed easily in front of him. The photo, taken in 2006 at the Emirates Palace in Dubai, serves as a glimpse into the life of a marketing executive for some of the world’s most well known luxury brands. At the time of the photo El Atrache was the Event Manager and Press Assistant for Cartier, the brand hosting the event at the 5 star hotel. In addition to Cartier, El Atrache has worked for Air France, David Morris Jewellery & Victoria Casal, and the Swiss Watch Group.

Other photos give further insight into a man that looks as effortlessly at home in locations as diverse as a remote lake in Musandam, Oman to the crowded beaches of Australia. Looking at his resume adds yet another layer of intrigue to the multi talented El Atrache, that of an ambitious student. He recently completed a MBA from Murdoch University in Dubai, before traveling half way across the world to Southern California where he is currently enrolled at The University of Southern California as a graduate student in journalism. While at Murdoch he received third place in the Murdoch Strategic Marketing Challenge.