Apologies for my long absence from the blogosphere – I’ve been moving cities. I’ll be sure to take note, in my new residence, of how sexist my new city is. Yep, see here, for details of a study on how much town planning takes insufficient notice of recent gender equality planning regulations. Viv Groskop writes:
‘The report, by Dr Gemma Burgess of Cambridge University, concluded that the vast majority of town planners are ignoring the gender equality planning regulations that were brought in last year. This is significant, because if public spaces were designed with women in mind, they would look entirely different, with much more lighting, better-situated car parks and more areas where residential and office spaces are mixed, making it far easier to juggle work and childcare.’
A good example of standpoint theory?
“Designers see themselves at the end of their pencil – or their mouse,” says Wendy Davis [of Women's Design Service]. “Until about 15 years ago most architects and planners were men. They saw themselves moving through this environment. Because they were men and they were car drivers, they were interested in keeping commuters moving. It’s the same issue as with disability. They didn’t understand how a 15mm lip on a kerb could upset a buggy or a wheelchair. Not that they were being sexist – it just didn’t occur to them.”
Of course, important to distinguish the two issues: planning that accommodates primary care givers (easily accessible creches, walkways suitable for buggies), and planning that accommodates women (more space to accommodate an equal number of female toilets). And planning that will accommodate men and women: better lit spaces, seats that are not built for a narrow conception of what men’s bodies are like (6ft6).
Clara Greed, professor of inclusive urban planning at the University of the West of England writes:
‘what is good for women is good for everyone. It will create better cities for all’