Glasgow: the UK’s first feminist city

1 0
Read Time:4 Minute, 3 Second

Glasgow City Council will officially use gender mainstreaming and an intersectional approach in urban planning. It will design a city that will benefit everyone. What does a feminist approach to urban planning look like?

Imagine walking home; how would you feel if you needed to pass through a dark street or park? How is it to be alone at a bus stop or station? What is it like to change, feed or carry your child if you are a parent in a public space or transport?

These are some questions a person would ask depending on their gender identity. Men, women, and people from marginalised genders and diverse abilities experience the city and public spaces differently.

“These experiences are highly intersectional. The spaces you and I access can be different based on how we perceive our bodies within the cities.”, explained Sorcha MacIntyre, an MSC (Research) Spatial Sciences graduate from the University of Groningen. She looks specifically at gender in planning and the intersection between people, place, and accessibility.

A public toilet in Glasgow City Centre. Women’s average wait time for toilets is six times longer than men’s (UNDP).

Feminist urbanism proposes putting people’s lives at the centre of urban decisions, challenging the idea that urbanism is neutral. Adopting a feminist perspective in urban planning makes you be able to walk through a city and feel like in some way or another your city has been kind of shaped for you.”, says Sorcha MacIntyre.

¿Qué es el urbanismo feminista?(What’s Feminist Urbanism) by Col·lectiu Punt 6

In October 2022, a Motion passed in Glasgow City Council unanimously, which puts women at the heart of urban planning, officially embedding a feminist approach into the City Development Plan. Glasgow will use a gendered lens for all aspects of planning, public realm design, policy development and budget. It will create public spaces that are safe and inclusive for women and accessible to all members of the community.

“What I see is the city development plan having a feminist section within it, and this basically will underpin the entire plan. It is not just a tick-box exercise. It needs to be across the board in all decisions and policy changes we make”, explained Green Councillor Holly Bruce, the motion’s author. “A gender lens applied in urban planning does not benefit only women. It benefits everyone in our society. Various academic studies and research demonstrated that”, she says.

Who designs the city, and who are the cities planned for?

Urban planning and public space design are not gender-neutral. Historically, cities have been planned and designed by men and for men. The average percentage of female directors in planning consultancies in the UK is 19%, and only 5% of planning skills are female, according to Women in Planning.

Adopting gender mainstreaming into planning is integrating the perspective into every stage of policy processes – design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation – to promote equality.

 Vienna pioneered applying gender mainstreaming in urban planning more than 30 years ago. Other cities, such as Barcelona, are using this tool to ensure that public spaces are fair and safe for everyone.

A bus stop in Glasgow City Centre. Transport is not gender-neutral. Women tend to have more complex patterns of mobility, making numerous trips (trip chaining) and caregiving duties (mobility of care).

What how a feminist Glasgow will look like?

“It’s difficult for me to answer because I can see it from my perspective as a woman who is able-bodied, white, and privileged in some respects. But all point in this motion is to ensure that an intersectional and gender lens is applied. I want to hear from all women, from all walks of life, from different backgrounds, communities, races, everyone to be involved in the planning process and to understand how it impacts them.”, explained Councillor Holly Bruce.

“Work with researchers and citizens and give them the tools to design. In Glasgow, people are creative and can develop ideas about how gender can be incorporated within their areas.” Sorcha McIntyre said about the steps the city needs to adopt to incorporate gender mainstreaming in urban planning.

Glasgow Green. 95% of women in Glasgow feel unsafe visiting parks at night. “Glasgow: a feminist city?” YWL report 2021

Councillor Holly Bruce believes Glasgow can benefit from the experiences of Vienna and Barcelona; however, Glasgow’s realities and needs differ from these cities. “Glasgow is a unique city with unique problems. We have a very high level of poverty compared with Barcelona and Vienna. We are different, but we can certainly learn from them”.

“I will do as much as I can within my power to make sure that a city development plan with a feminist approach is embedded by the end of my term.”, concluded her.

Happy
Happy
100 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %
White shop door Previous post <strong>TV producer starts new episode in her life by opening a zero-waste shop in Lochwinnoch</strong>
Miss Peaches, trans performer, poses in a staircases Next post Scottish and Proud

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *