Feminist perspectives for sustainable just cities: the last UrbanA CoCo before the summer

Urban Arenas
Jul 24, 2020 · 3 min read

Historically, European urban planning has predominantly been in the hands of homogeneous groups of men. Although in the last decades the diversity of actors involved in urban planning has increased, many of the urban spaces we live in and interact with are not designed to address the needs of, for example, women, girls, people with non-binary identity, immigrants, ethnic minorities or the elderly.

In the Community Conversation of the 21st of July, UrbanA had the pleasure to host Sara Ortiz Escalante from Punto6, a cooperative from Barcelona working on bringing an eco-feminist view into urban planning, to create more inclusive and sustainable cities. 70 enthusiastic participants joined the event to listen to Sara as well as share their experiences and knowledge on feminist urban planning in their cities.

You can watch Sara’s presentation, and question and answer session on UrbanA’s Youtube channel and access her slides here.

Sara Ortiz Escalante’s presentation and Q&A session on feminist perspectives for sustainable just cities

The Punto6 Cooperative’s aim to build a “feminist city”, that has four main pillars:

  1. An intersectional gender perspective
  2. Community participation
  3. Sustainability
  4. Solidarity economy

Feminist urban planning suggests to put people’s diversity and everyday life at the centre of urban planning decision. A major way to do so, says Sara, is by:

“Breaking the barrier that exists between the experts, such as urban planners and architects, and residents. We believe residents are the experts of their territory, they live them on an everyday basis. They know what the needs are. That is why community participation in planning is essential”.

Visual representation of the feminist city (Credit to Collectiu Punt6)

Of particular relevance is the subject of care. In many areas around the world services of care are not provided by institutions, so care ends up being a household responsibility, the great majority resting on the shoulders of women. Punto6 advocates for a city where care responsibilities are equally divided among everyone and for everyone, society and the environment. Sara also talked about how pollution affects men and women differently, and the challenges of women’s mobility in cities, such as violence on public transport.

After Sara’s presentation, participants discussed some of the following questions in breakout rooms:

  • Do you know examples of cities implementing feminist perspectives / “city of care” models?
  • How do cities respond to the diversity of needs, households and people?
  • How have cities reorganised work and what have been the gender consequences of the Covid-19 crisis in the distribution of care?
  • What can cities change to place care and people’s life at the center in the new scenario post-Covid?

The material harvested from participants will feed into a new Feminist Urbanism page on the Wiki for Sustainable Just Cities. More resources on the subject can be found on the Punto6 website.

This was the last Community Conversation (CoCo) of the season. Following a summer break, we will return with further biweekly (more or less) CoCos from September. Details will appear here.

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