In late March of 2006, Ecocity Builders met with citizens of Willits, CA, to discuss ways in which ecocity tools could be helpful in assisting them in the transition away from dependency on fossil fuels and outside imports towards a truly sustainable community with a local economy.
The day and a half workshop was primarily sponsored by the City of Willits, WELL (Willist Economic LocaLization) and REDI (Renewable Energy Development Institute) with a number of other local groups assisting.
Willits, located in scenic Mendocino County, is a small town with big ambitions. They are serious about getting ready for a world without cheap oil and they are doing something about it. It is a rare case where local government is actively working with community groups and concerned individuals to prepare for a post carbon world.
The citizens of Willits are not avoiding the big, uncomfortable, messy and life changing issues, such as how to reshape the built environment so that it can be powered by alternative energy sources and accessed by two legs instead of two thousand pound machines.
They are considering applying the ecocity mapping tool, which they are calling “community” mapping, to help chart a course for a future Willits that would save farmland and open space, restore the watershed, and help locate people in walkable centers, carefully designed for maximum energy conservation as well as and social and economic vitality.
These are clearly courageous people! Willits is guiding light to communities seeking ways to chart a course for a healthy future in a coming era that will be so very different from the Age of Oil we are exiting.
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