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Holly Wunder Stiles is Director of Housing Development at Mutual Housing California. We spoke to her at the World Urban Forum 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia about winning a 2017 World Habitat Award with the Mutual Housing at Spring Lake project.

How would you describe Mutual Housing at Spring Lake in a few words?

Bridging the green divide for agricultural workers and assisting them in building community and creating new community leaders.

What motivates you in your role?

Mutual Housing at Spring Lake gives our organisation, and me personally, an opportunity to be involved in something where people are committed to improving people’s lives, to reducing our carbon footprint, and bringing that all together in a way that supports people in having strong communities.

What is the single most important part of winning the World Habitat Awards?

Recognising our residents as active community members and the work that they’re doing to be part of the green revolution.

Why do you think you won?

Three reasons – for providing affordable housing for an ill-housed population, doing that in a way that brings the benefits of new energy efficiency and energy production technologies, and most importantly, in a way that engages those residents in building their own communities and building their own leadership.

Tell us about your experience of collecting your Award at the World Urban Forum.

Being at the World Urban Forum is a very exciting opportunity for us to be part of international conversations and also to be recognised. Sometimes when you’re very close to your work, you don’t just step back and recognise, yes we are doing something really important here.

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