The World Cafe Community

Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter

This story was sent in by Tirza Hollenhorst.

Tirza Hollenhorst - Facilitator
Evonne Heyning - Graphic Recorder
Gil Friend - City of Palo Alto Sustainability Officer

Hosting Org/Sponsor:
City of Palo Alto

Palo  Alto

This World Café was for:
Citizens and elected officials.

* To engage the citizens in the Sustainability and Climate Action plan.
* To uncover additional resources and possibilities.
* To generate interest and action.

Numbers Attending:

Questions Used:
The room was divided into four different areas: water, transportation, energy and natural resources

What would it mean to me if Palo Alto was a leader in (water, transportation, energy, or natural environment)?

What obstacles might we face and how can we overcome them?

If our success was completely guaranteed, what bold steps might we choose?

The City of Palo Alto Sustainability and Climate Action Summit was held to introduce the citizens of Palo Alto to the city’s Draft Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.  The half day event was attended by well over 300 people including local citizens and government officials from Palo Alto and neighboring cities.  

After an in depth review of the plan by city Sustainability Officer, Gil Friend, Tirza Hollenhorst facilitated a two-hour World Cafe. The cafe was designed to give citizens the opportunity to discuss the plans and bring forth additional solutions.  The Cafe was lively and many well thought out proposals where brought forth. Attendees were overwhelmingly positive about the day and the level of engagement from the city.

People felt that the day was incredibly well organized and the cafe made a real difference.

Key Themes and Findings
Microgrids and electricity generation at the local level
Distributed power, water, alternative currencies to manage flow
Water catchment, greywater systems for gardens and native flora/fauna
Wetlands, watersheds and wildlife care includes preservation of green spaces
Educational keys to engaging participation and efficient time lines to change
More biking, less cars - new approaches to creating a walkable city
Getting over the fear of change by working together on culture shift
Use games, challenges, public play as opportunities to develop solutions
Explore local energy storage and smarter distribution in neighborhoods

Additional Comments
I have great photos but they are too big for this form

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