Feminist approach to planning, adopted in Glasgow

A FEMINIST approach to planning in Glasgow has been agreed by the city’s elected members.

Councillors earlier today approved a motion submitted by Scottish Greens councillor, Holly Bruce, which began: “Council agrees that, in order to create public spaces that are safe and inclusive for women, and accessible for all members of the community, it is fundamental that women are central to all aspects of planning, public realm design, policy development and budgets.

“Council notes a gender-neutral approach to city development does not work, that women and people of marginalised genders have diverse needs that are not currently reflected in practice and that an intersectional, inclusive and climate-friendly approach is needed.”

The motion continues: “Council recognises the main features of a healthy city are aligned with gender-equal cities, including walkability, proximity to services, mixed-use environments, a safe public realm and open greenspaces. 

“These factors aren’t only important for women, they are key considerations for creating a healthier, more liveable city for all, with positive impacts in terms of physical and mental wellbeing and air quality.”

The motion was passed by the city’s full council, which also approved a five-year plan for the city.

And the motion goes on: “Council agrees that public places that are better attuned to women’s security and practical needs would open up opportunities for women, and could lead to an increased participation in political meetings, and ultimately women’s elected representation. It would present job opportunities, and enhance the autonomy of disabled women, women of colour, unpaid carers and lone parents. 

“Council recognises that data-gathering, community consultation, policy development and planning processes need to engage and ask questions about the everyday embodied experience of women, so that public spaces and services are truly accessible. Council believes that intersectionality must be at the heart of this approach. “

The decision is being hailed as the first time in the UK that planning  has been framed by a feminist perspective.

The motion concludes: “Council can learn from evidence of international initiatives, such as the gender lens used in Vienna’s planning frameworks and Barcelona’s policy on urban planning with a gender perspective, to design spaces and services around women’s needs.”

Says a council announcement of its five-year strategic plan, here: “[It] will shape the authority’s response to the cost-of-living crisis, the climate emergency and pressures on public services, as well as increasing the prosperity and well-being of citizens.

“It will also ensure that Glaswegians are central to how the decisions affecting their communities are taken by the city council.”

The announcement continues: “The plan sets out four key challenges and more than 230 commitments on how all council services will help address, support, and deliver on the city’s main priorities.

“The four grand challenges which have been identified as the reduction [of] poverty and inequalities, increasing opportunity and prosperity for all citizens, addressing the climate emergency and delivering a just transition, and enabling staff to deliver essential services in a sustainable, innovative, and efficient way for our communities.

“In a move away from previous council plans, the City Government will revisit the plan annually to ensure it remains fit for purpose and to update commitments in line with changing circumstances.”

Pictured: Homes for the Future, Glasgow Green, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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