Egalitarian cities is a research project which aims at improving urban structures through applied research.
Many young girls are told that it is unsafe for women or girls to go out alone in a city. While growing up, they begin to fear public space and feel illegitimate to use or be in it. A feminist self-defence course made me aware that many women deal with these feelings.
Moreover, our cities were built by men and for men. They were the only one to access the education needed for that for a long time. Nowadays, women do not feel as free and legitimate as men in the public space. It restricts them in their citizenship.
To change the situation, cultural probes and exploratory walks will be combined in an innovative and explorative method for gender planning. These two tools will serve different needs. The cultural probes will help to understand the women’s use of public space and how they perceive the existing design. The walks will allow them to share experiences and thoughts within a group to come up with innovative ideas to rethink the public space’s design.
This project will empower women. They will feel more legitimate to use public space, they will regain possession of these spaces and will thus access full citizenship. It will also benefit the municipalities, architects, planners, designers as it will create more knowledge regarding the interaction between space and behaviour. Public spaces will, therefore, be more egalitarian. The main output of this project will be a PhD in which I will analyse the results of this applied research. I want to pursue the work with some motivated women to show their work and results in an exhibition to raise awareness on the problems they face to a broader audience.