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comment by bioemerl
bioemerl  ·  1466 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to Design a City for Women

    By default, all cities are designed for men.

You... Do you really believe this?

No part of cities were designed in the way "would this work best for men and what men typically want?".

Cities are designed considering a number of things that depends on the city.

Some are pre-made, and are more works of art than anything else.

Some are built through people's decisions over a lot time, based on people moving in around a factory, then stores pop in around the people, etc.

Parks, apartment complexes, etc, are designed to appeal to people. Male or female.

The only thing you could say about cities that may not be "Designed around women" are cases such as parks or public transport.

I can't comment on parks. I have zero idea how parks come about or are made or designed. I always thought it was just a big grassy thing with signs in front of it and decorations. Cheap, easy, fast.

Public transport isn't something missing in cities, at least in most of the first world. It is only in the US where public transport is ignored and not really very good, and that is more because of the fact that cars are a huge thing here and distances are much longer. You can find cities with more public transport in some areas.




_refugee_  ·  1466 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yup, I do. Let's hear your counter-argument, this ain't gonna be pretty. "He" is the default universal/unisex pronoun because for so long, the male perspective has been considered - well, the default. 'He' as such is not end-all-and-be-all proof, 'he' is an example.

If, in general, the people who design cities tend to be men, it is safe to assume that in general their perspectives, which have driven the design, shape the design; therefore it is safe to assume that unless they have opted out of their perspectives by bringing in females or soliciting female POVs, the male perspective and experience have been predominantly what have shaped city design. Besides that, one may argue that inherent, underlying city design (i.e., the original grid structure of Philadelphia, or what-have-you) has been shaped by the populace's use of that land - for instance, roads and walks that are paved after being down into existence by common use. However, considering that concept, one must understand that historical use by the majority would then create such groundwork, and historically, women have not been travelers (in American cities, I'll caveat) and if they have been, typically it has been as travelers with male companions. Moreover, even giving female travelers, it is very easy to posit that they were not the majority, considering that it was not typical for females to travel unaccompanied or undirected by males until well into the 20th century.

Unless you consciously consider the perspective of others in a given situation you are bound to follow your own perspective. I'm not saying anyone sat down and said "We're going to design this city for men." I'm saying that when men are the group in charge, it is not likely they will also consider the perspective of women, particularly when for so long women have been considered a less class. Why bother consider the women's perspective? As a result, in general, I think it is extremely safe to say that cities have been designed with the male, and not female, populace in mind.

bioemerl  ·  1466 days ago  ·  link  ·  

He being the "universal pronoun" has fuck all to do with city design, and is not relevant for anything but trying to connect the idea that men were considered the default by society to how cities are designed/remain in the modern day.

It isn't an end-all and be-all proof, it isn't even a very good example of anything.

Cities are not designed considering one person's perspective or issues. The "people who design cities" is based on thousands of different people in thousands of different situations and locations. You could just as well say "Cities are designed for government workers" or "cities are designed for elected officials" or "cities are designed for architects" based on such a thing.

You will almost never find any decisions made for a city that are made for one reason or through one issue. Every decision has a thousand reasons behind it, from voters wanting a new road in town, to workers being lazy and not putting in a brick or two.

The following is, of course, as as I understand the general "City design scenario" tends to go. Honestly, it's probably a hell of a lot more complex than anything below. It is also based on "fairly modern" practices. It is also based on the US.

Things like the grid structure of Philadelphia are basic and simple structures to build roads around. Had the city been built or designed by the roamings of women rather than men, it would have still been a grid.

The only example you really could use is the idea that some cities/older cities were forged from men being the ones who primarily used roads and traveled. However, I am not quite sure it was men primarily using the roads and traveling. Assuming the article's "men use transport twice a day, women use it many times" it would be women doing the most traveling and defining of roads.

I do not think american society has ever been based around women not being able to travel alone. Isn't one of the old steriotypes that women are the ones going around, shopping, doing errands, etc, while the husband is at work?

Secondly, before the 20th century most cities and city-structures didn't exist. This isn't a question of how things were before, it is a question of how they are today. Outside of those areas that did exist in the pre-modern era, your argument does not apply.

Picking lights or making parks divided or having different options for sports is nearly entirely a matter of "does the city have the money?" A mayor or planner is going to do things like add footpaths and things for play if the money exists, because people like those things.

I see absolutely zero things about city design that rely on "the male perspective". Perhaps it is different in a city where all transport tends to be public transportation, but even then I do not see how "lets make the paths wider and better lit" is an improvement that caters to women or is not an issue from the male perspective. Everyone likes decent, well lit, sidewalks.

I honestly don't see a single area in which it seems that women are somehow singled out or not represented in any modern city-structure. The only concrete example the article has is "we made roads wider and brighter" in terms of actual city design. That is nothing. That is beneficial to everyone involved, and doesn't help men or women more (outside of if women use public transportation more often, making any changes more beneficial).

And, of course, this city is not in the US, so perhaps it's an isolated issue.

going from the article

    "It’s about bringing people into spaces where they didn’t exist before or felt they had no right to exist."

The only example of this is the parks. And even that is less a "cities aren't designed around women" and more a "women use upper class parks more often than men do".

_refugee_  ·  1465 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You spend three paragraphs failing at rebutting a discussion of historical influences only to conclude by stating that before the 1900s or so, most cities and city-structures didn't exist and so don't matter.

First, every city of size on the East Coast begs to disagree. Every city of size in Europe (you know - subject of the article) just laughed at you. Second, you rebut my demonstration of a potential historical impact using modern data - that stuff about traveling for chores, etc? That's from the 90s. Applying it retroactively is, well, I don't know - anachronism. Third, I spent a precious load of time looking for sources about women in travel in historical eras (Colonialism, Victorianism, what-have-you) and while I was busy looking for my third I realized shit ain't worth my time.

Moving on, in your response:

Now we have agreed that general city improvements, by illustration of parks, are made not only when money exists for them to occur but also as a result of them being things people in general like. I do not disagree. If a city had the money to build a guillotine attraction in its park, it might opt not to, seeing as the citizens might not enjoy it - or worse, might get full use out of it. Cities don't build any old thing that people want - cities build things that their governance is comfortable with their people having.

Now you are telling me you don't see gender or gender accommodations and don't even really think the ones mentioned in the article are gender accommodations. Then what are we arguing about? You like 'em, I like 'em, we're all happy. The changes were based on polling/survey data. Not arbitrary, lots of facts, just perhaps a more specific look at a target sample that tends to use those areas perhaps more heavily than the population as a whole. In other words, a sub-population that in general is both more interested in the design of these places, and better placed to offer an opinion on their current state (and therefore, potential improvements).

There is a difference between "singled-out" and "forgotten," "not considered," and even "shunned." Example, I watch this great TV show, Better Off Ted. Long story short two guys work for MegaCorp in TV show. One's white one's black. Company, as a cost-savings measure, sets up motion-detecting lights. But wait! They don't detect black people! Not deliberate, black people not deliberately singled out, black people still adversely impacted. NO ONE MEANT IT! Still happened, still now a problem.

Back to you pronouncing that the only stated improvements made to the city that you read in the article benefit everyone. So I repeat, why are we arguing? If the changes made are good, and came about at the suggestion of a body of people which generally uses those areas of the city more, then how are they bad? Because they might change things to work slightly less well for the people who use those areas of the city less?

I feel like half your problems are with the article and half your problems are with this discussion.

bioemerl  ·  1465 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The point is that the design of modern cities is not set up in such a way that ignores or adversely impacts women.

There is nothing about a city that is set up in a way that puts down or puts women/people going out doing chores at a disadvantage. Nothing about public transport is negative for any reason other than costs and usages. These "cities designed for women" seem to be less designed for women and more designed for having better funded and designed things in general.

_refugee_  ·  1465 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sure, I'll grant that no one has consciously designed cities to ignore or adversely impact women.

However conscious choice isn't a requirement in order for potential discrimination to occur.

Since these women were able to suggest improvements to the transportation system it is easy to extrapolate that the transportation system was sub-optimal for their use beforehand. Therefore, one could factually state that, since the system was not optimal, the women were indeed "at a disadvantage" of some sort, although the magnitude of this disadvantage is not determined.

Like I said, I'm sure no one designed a city or any other public space with the intent of leaving out women, repressing women, causing women more discomfort, etc.

Lack of conscious causal behavior does not guarantee a fair impact.

If I gotta break the link down for you: if something you do impacts a group of people in an adverse manner, even if it's not intentional, it's still happening and it's still bad and, depending on the class of persons, can constitute racism, sexism, etc. This is not just my opinion. THIS IS YOUR COURT'S OPINION.

bioemerl  ·  1465 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I am not stating conscious design. I am stating overall design.

All systems can be improved. All regions can use work. The fact that a thing could be improved does not imply that that thing was ignored in the past.

You could use the same logic to say that men are disadvantaged by the fact that traffic exists on the five 0 clock commute. The city just doesn't care enough to put money into fixing the problems!

There is no part of modern city design that is disadvantaging women. You have given no serious examples of such a thing. The story in the OP hardly gives any examples of such a thing.

The only concrete example there is of the park. And even then, the contrast between the two parks sound like an issue of the park previously not being developed or added to, rather than the park being designed initially in a way that benefits men.

ratel  ·  1462 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Skyscrapers are giant penises.

bioemerl  ·  1462 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, if you are so inclined to attempt that...