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  1. LAGARDE and de los RÍOS, Marcela “La construcción de las humanas. Identidad de Género y derechos humanos” in El feminismo en mi vida. Hitos, claves y topías. Mexico, Mexico city government and Inmujeres, 2012.

Cities of the future are inclusive

Basic clarifications on urbanism from a gender perspective / or Urbanism with a gender perspective for beginners

To encompass humanity in its fullest embrace including a gender dimension, women’s movements and feminist philosophical analysis have ethically brought to light the alienation that over-identifies us as women with men and their symbols while dis-identifying men with women and their symbols.

Modern bringing to light of women, enhanced social participation and human vindications overall all define women’s empowerment and power and have triggered a crisis in patriarchy. The universal imaginary and political symbol of humankind, of us as beings, can no longer be expressed in terms of men or what is masculine according to a clearly masculine symbolic and political hegemony. Nor do women’s vindications involve exclusivity or supremacy of the feminine. Human voices encompass both genders and criticise both of their current conditions: gender conditions in each social category, women’s and men’s lifestyles and situations, and also the political content of domination-oppression in relationships between the two genders .

Urbanism with a gender perspective seeks to think, observe, analyse, plan, design and maintain cities by and for women, but not exclusively and not by excluding. Gender perspective is not based on considering women as a minority or a uniform group to be attended to. Gender perspective puts women at the heart of the matter and makes them active agents in their rights and therefore they become the makers of cities. Urbanism with a gender perspective spotlights the tasks that have traditionally been assigned to women and have not been taken into account by politicians or city planners. By no means does this perpetuate these assigned roles. But one of the ways to break with role assignments that excludes is by placing the needs stemming from the tasks of reproduction on an equal footing with the needs of production. This rectifies the slighting of these tasks. Doing this involves attaching the same priority and budget to these tasks as those of production.

“Inequality between men and women, gender oppression, has supported myths and ideologies that assert that diversity between men and women in and of itself holds the same inequality, and that this inequality is natural, a-historical and thus irremediable.  Naming women among human beings means acknowledging that differences between men and women are due to their genders and are not merely sexual. Social movements have insisted on equality, on the recognition that inequality is a construct and is not natural, on the need for affirmative action to bring about parity between women and men.

Gender perspective puts the accent on members of the community, on the work that reproduction of life involves, on the tasks that lack prestige, that are undervalued by a patriarchal society. Yet if these tasks are not performed, nothing else can exist. Without performing the tasks of carers, we would not be here. Refocusing on life enables us to recover our planet, change the course taken by our extractive, commodifying society which, as Silvia Federici  well explains, is based on exploiting nature and women. It is a great challenge to dare to think beyond the utilitarian in monetary terms and depart from a type of land use and city planning that futilely and exclusively pushes us to the brink of our finite time on this planet.

Image: Screenshot of the video What is feminist urbanism? Col·lectiu Punt6

Attention on life, on the lives the gender perspective envisages, enables us to understand that, as human beings, we are different, and that this difference does not mean inequality. Taking care of these manifold differences when we design policy and cities, architecture or objects enables us to achieve greater equality, because assumptions of what is average or neutral only come to negatively bolster differences and fuel inequality. The results of these averages will be good for no one other than those who are statistically above them.
By recognising the different ways in which time is used and the spaces given rise to by the gender division of roles, we can work on more inclusive urban policies tending towards equal opportunities in accessing our rights to the city. The mapping and measurement of itineraries, tasks, time, reasons for and types of mobility is a first step in bringing these differences to light and recognising different needs and feeding their meaning into urban planning proposals.

Applying a gender perspective is not the outcome of applying one or several specific recognisable formulae a priori. Nor does it necessarily involve a major impact or hype. This is why much action goes virtually unnoticed because of its everyday nature but becomes essential for enhancing people’s quality of life and autonomy.

Text translated by Beth Gelb
Notas de página
  1. LAGARDE and de los RÍOS, Marcela “La construcción de las humanas. Identidad de Género y derechos humanos” in El feminismo en mi vida. Hitos, claves y topías. Mexico, Mexico city government and Inmujeres, 2012.
(Argentina, 1964) Vive en Barcelona y nació en Buenos Aires, arquitecta por la FADU-UBA en 1988 y doctora arquitecta por la Universidad de Sevilla en 2002; profesora del Departamento de urbanismo y ordenación del territorio de ETSAB-UPC. Entre 2015 y 2019 ha sido Directora de urbanismo, vivienda, medioambiente, ecología urbana, espacio público, vía pública y civismo de Santa Coloma de Gramenet. Especialista en arquitectura y urbanismo con perspectiva de género y feminista. Autora de entre otros: La arquitectura de la ciudad global (Gustavo Gili, 2004) Arquitectura y política. Ensayos para mundos alternativos (Gustavo Gili, 2011) y Mujeres, casas y ciudades. Más allá del umbral (DPR-barcelona, 2018)

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