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Gender sensitive public space? Placemaking and spatial justice through the perspective of gender

What do we mean by the ‘gendered nature’ of urban space? How can a better awareness of gender create safer and more inclusive cities?

These questions were explored back in the very first URBACT Gender Equal Cities workshop in Stockholm (SE), back in 2018. The session took place within the framework of the inaugural European Placemaking Conference. Over 2 days 170 participants from 20 countries came together to consider how cities, civil society and professionals can meet the challenges of displacement and loss of affordability in urban centres across Europe. How can we as placemakers strengthen spatial justice, to build the cities for all, aspired to in Sustainable Development Goal 11.? The call to action, in line with URBACT’s mission, was to be aware of the bigger picture: to understand the political, cultural and economic dynamics of the city and to boost cohesion by involving all communities, stakeholders and voices in a meaningful way.

Gender Equal Cities, URBACT’s new initiative, seeks to highlight ways in which cities are driving change to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality. As this was the first ever consultation for us specifically on this topic, we were keen to get the ball rolling and start the debate. Through presentations and discussion a number of strong messages emerged.