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The City Gendered: Making visible (Indian) women's experience of our neighourhoods, streets and public spaces

Our objective is to experiment with participatory tools, narratives, workshops on making visible the ways in which the city is experienced by women and girls, not anonymously but as rightful occupiers; create a platform where it can be shared and updated on a regular basis and which can become a resource for communities and local governments to know and act. We will be conducting numerous workshops over the next month with different groups and uploading photographs, exercises, findings. We will also be posting maps / images of similar experiments or findings. So please stay tuned and visit us!

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Low-income areas in urban India are part of the city’s fabric and not segregated as is generally observed in North American or Latin American cities. In many instances, informal settlements sit within high income neighbourhoods. Therefore, when seeing Indian urban environments from women’s perspective, the entire city becomes a laboratory and cannot be restricted to low-income areas or slums. 

Secondly, while we acknowledge that our cities are not safe for women, do we really know how women use, navigate and enjoy the city? How can women partake in representing the city from their perspective? How can their experiences of not only security and risk, but also pleasure and joy become a part of mapping of the city? What kind of participatory tools can enable that? And how can these become tools to make the city better, more responsive to women's needs? 

This builds upon a book called "Why Loiter?: Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets", which documents the exclusions and negotiations that women from different classes and communities encounter in the nation's urban public spaces.  The book argues that though women's access to urban public space in Mumbai has increased, they still do not have an equal claim to public space. Going beyond the problem of the real and implied risks associated with women's presence in the public realm, the book argues that only by celebrating loitering, can a truly equal city be created.




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Definitely an initiative worth exploring. And to create a platform that government bodies can use to deduce information though extremely challenging, is a very good idea.
All the best

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