Some of our Urbanistas co-conspirators in the UK contributed to this article that was published in The Guardian that asked "how would cities differ if women designed them?"
Our Urbanistas co-founder, Liane Hartley was quoted in response to this question that “It gives you a little bit more of a sensitivity to what it might be like to have another vulnerability,” ... “Considerate is the word, because you can’t include everyone in everything. The question is really not would cities be different if they were designed by women? It’s would they be different if more voices were heard?”
I agree with Liane, that it is about the extent and diversity of the voices contributing to the discussions and decision making about how our cities are designed, planned and managed. Cities are complex systems and are required to provide for the needs of everyone. But sometimes in trying to plan and design for everyone, we miss opportunities for specific groups to meaningfully participate in the design and decision making of our cities.
These groups, whether defined by gender, ethnicity, sexuality or age, if given a voice, may influence the way spaces are created that have an unexpected benefit for the wider community and contribute to encouraging connections and greater understanding. We just have to be willing to listen a little bit harder and be open to doing things differently.
Fiona Scott, a leading London architect said “I would go to networking events that were full of guys who had a way of talking I found exhausting,” she says. “Quite bullish, lots about sport. You find yourself feeling you have nothing to say. It’s a vicious circle where your confidence gets diminished if people don’t listen to you. I really wanted a female mentor, I knew I needed to sort it out and I spent a couple of years thinking about that a lot.”
It is this description of Fiona Scott's experience that is relevant to the philosophy of Urbanistas and why we have seen our collaborative women-led network increasing. We know that there are women in our networks and communities that have exciting ideas and projects but are not sure how or where to start. With Urbanistas Sydney want to create a space that people will listen, encourage and support your ideas that contribute to the positive social, creative and physical changes in our cities and places.
In the spirit of creating a space for discussion, we would love to get your thoughts on this question about what our urban places may look and feel might be if women built our cities.
To have a read of the article check it out here
posted by: April McCabe, Urbanistas Sydney curator