Sense of place for Ojai California

This paper is based on a master's thesis presented to California State University, Fullerton in 1994. A questionnaire was used to elicit responses people and place, critical Ojai issues, and concerns for the future. Findings are examined in the context of the concepts of topophilia, topophobia, and genius loci and compared to current census data. Survey findings demonstrate that Ojai residents generally have a strong, positive, and distinct sense of place and are anxious about its preservation in the future. Respondents agree that Ojai is a place with striking physical features and residents unusually diverse for a small town. Threats to Ojai's lifestyle are perceived to derive from external forces of urbanization and economic development. Cohesive views regarding sense of place and common perceptions of imposing threats translate into community strength and a strong local identity or genius loci.