Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Designing women’s safety into cities from the start

Dancing in the streets during a car-free 'Raahgiri Day' in Gurgaon, India. (EMBARQ/flickr/cc)

Cities often respond to concerns about women’s safety by making changes, such as adding emergency call boxes, after sexual harassment and violence are reported. Instead, they should be anticipating safety needs and designing public spaces to be safer for women from the start. 

That’s the argument Nidhi Gulati makes on the Project for Public Spaces website. Gulati draws on a wide body of research and discussion on the topic to conclude that “placemaking” is central to safeguarding women in cities. In some cases, subtle design tweaks can go a long way toward protecting women. Improving lighting, programming family- and child-friendly activities and gathering community input are among her recommendations. A city must feel safe to be safe, the article says.

“Safety should be given prime consideration while shaping our cities and towns — right from the start,” Gulati emphasizes. The UN Women Safe Cities Global Leaders’ Forum in June 2015, held in New Delhi, shed light on this global problem. Read about UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative here.

Project for Public Spaces

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