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ON SEX & THE CITY - GENDER EQUALITY IN PUBLIC SPACE

Looking at the historical context of public space design and gender roles, you will notice how urban planning and architecture have for a long time been exclusively the business of men. Even though women entered the work fields of urban design and architecture especially during the second half of the 20th century, not much has changed in the urban design practice in terms of inclusiveness, which reflects in the way our cities are designed.

 

Decisions on how money is spent, and cities are planned are largely made by men, stifling women's rights in regard to equal access to public space. Female needs are often overlooked by male-run urban governments, and moreover, decisions were for a long time heavily influenced by gender roles in society. This has resulted, amongst others, in a lack of public toilets suitable for women and lesser abled bodies, and it results in a daily basis of harassment for women on the streets, due to dark corners in the parks, no surveillance and lack of street lighting.

 

This project aims to promote gender-sensitive urban planning and architecture in the city of Utrecht. A gender-sensitive urban planning strategy is one that acknowledges the different perspectives of citizens of all ages, ethnicities, faiths, sexuality and backgrounds, and be conscious of the narratives of those affected by multiple forms of discrimination. It is a strategy that looks at the experiences of migrant women and children, the young and the elderly, those with disabilities, women of colour, LGBTIQ groups, to see how the city, it's design and services can better meet their needs and aspirations.