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Frauen-Werk-Stadt (Women-Work-City): A Township Designed for Women in Vienna, Austria

Frauen-Werk-Stadt (in English, "Women-Work-City") is a housing project made for and by women in Vienna, Austria. This project grew out of the realization that urban planning must incorporate equal opportunities for both men and women. If we were to look around us, most urban planning is designed for the benefit of men. Acknowledging the gender disparities that exist, the planners for Frauen-Werk-Stadt decided to take full note of all the needs of women, inclusion of women, and actions (and what type of effect that each action conjures). The planning and construction of this project is designed to meet the everyday needs of women, paying close attention to routine patterns and different needs of various female 'users'.

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This project really inspires me because it really illustrates how important it is for us women to have our daily needs met by the urban space designed for us. I myself feel the most safest and empowered when a space, low-income or not, has immenities that cater to my needs and provide me a sense of freedom as a human being. The first concept of this project was developed in 1993.

Frauen-Werk-Stadt is very special because it is designed by women architects and planners. They might not know what each woman wants, but they know how to start researching into it. As women themselves, they know how to approach other women, form a collegial relationship with women users, and in essence, plan together. 

This project is very empowering. It helps stimulate the public's interest in women's daily lives, which would otherwise be invisible. 

My question is how can we take what is learnt from this project and apply it to low-income urban planning?

Also, if we were to carry out something similar for low-income urban planning, where and how can we find women architects and planners who have had experiences of living in low-income areas?

Since the creation of this project, Vienna has been very active in gender mainstreaming. It is safe to say, that in my experience, Vienna is one out of three cities in which I ever felt safe and empowered. I now know why.

More on Frauen-Werk-Stadt and Vienna's gender mainstreaming:

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