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Our Approach

Our team of designers, homeless advocates and manufacturers believes that vacant land throughout Los Angeles County can be beautified and made available to different communities within the homeless population in a manner that re-integrates them into society.  We believe that resources should be provided in every Tiny City that matches the needs of the population segment served.

Our Story

Our group met through a variety of meetings and projects that were spearheaded by Pando Populus.  We each had different pieces of the idea and were brought together by a shared vision of improving the County.

We understand the "not in my backyard" syndrome and are striving to overcome it by interacting with residents who will become our mainstay volunteers.

Meet the Team

Tiny Cities LA is a partnership of many interested people in the L.A. area.  Formally, this is our

Board of Directors


Herman Cenci, Partner, ModPod Solutions

Herman is an entrepreneur, businessman, and concerned citizen who realized that his cargo container business can be used for the Common Good.  He succeeds in his businesses because every piece is of importance to him:  design, quality, service, and being sure the people served get what they want and need.   At start-up, Mr. Cenci relies on research and study of the sciences and trends of the industry.  He believes in bringing new ideas and fresh development to the table, and is involved in every step to create a successful result.

ModPod Solutions has been customizing once-used containers for several years, specializing in repurposing the containers to be used as restaurants.   Because they are able to customize every unit, turning a 20-foot container into a 1-person living space;  or a 40-foot container into a 2-person living space;  or stacking containers for a family, ModPod can do the basic design.  Using solar for the utility part of every pod is a standard feature.  The only thing needed is a water source, and periodic pumping as if you lived in an R.V.

Marcela Oliva, Professor, Dept of Architecture & Design, Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Professor Oliva was the Knowledge Architect for the Los Angeles Community College District Sustainable Building Program for ten years. She envisioned and implemented the largest Virtualization BIM/GIS System in the nation following National Intelligence Standards.   Now, she is a full time Professor in Architecture and Environmental Design at Los Angeles Trade Technical College and founder of UCLA World Peace One Extension Courses: Transforming Community, Virtualizing Neighborhoods and Environmental Design for Social Justice.   Professor Oliva participated with NASA’s Knowledge Management Program, as a principal investigator for the Cyber-Physical Systems National Science Foundation Grant, and is a recipient of the California Governor’s Award in Geospatial Technologies.

Marcela’s design students are responsible for the beauty in every Tiny Cities development.  They are intense users of color and plants, and their designs will fit the people and the community for each TC.  They are also eager to add “Maker Spaces” to as many Tiny Cities as possible, because this group believes in the power of creating to heal.  So whether it’s a temporarily homeless family or a chronically homeless addict, the resource spaces created by our teams will serve their needs and help each individual to re-connect with society.

Nick Rasmussen, Executive Director of Family Promise of the South Bay

Nick is a  graduate of Wheaton College with an M.A. in Clinical Psychology, and over 20 years serving children, adolescents and families, Nick brings an informed perspective to homeless issues, as both a Clinician and Administrator.  His involvement with Tiny Cities gives our group an edge in building services for the homeless community, as he brings his experience as a Director of Community Health and Wellness programs, along with program development for community-based organizations and a number of non-profit agencies to the table.  Through Nick, we have truly understood that “the Homeless” are not an homogeneous group that can be treated in one way.

Nick will be instrumental in helping to define the needs of every community:  if it’s Skid Row, then we will build for the problems of the chronically homeless.  In the South Bay where Nick works, we will serve families who have gone through a temporary crisis.  His work has led him to create assessment plans that will help to define the people who need help, and he will advise the group on how best to serve them, what resources they will need, and how we can blend them back into our social webs, for the benefit of everyone in the County.

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Next Steps...

We hope your community will join in the effort to integrate the homeless back into our society!  Email us at