In Europe, Vienna is one of the first cities that has started to consider gender mainstreaming in its urban planning and design. Gender mainstreaming is a strategy pursued to achieve gender equality in societies. Its basis are equal structures, settings and conditions for both women and men. The first step of this initiative was to integrate a gender perspective in the design of urban planning and also to develop and implement targeted projects for women. Euradio discussed it with Eva Kail, urban planner and gender planning expert for the city of Vienna.
Euradio - When has Vienna started to consider the issue of gender equality in public space ?
Eva Kail - We started to think about gender issues in public space 30 years ago. We started with an exhibition, "who owns Public space - women's everyday life in the city". We showed one day in the life of eight women : from a small girl to a very old lady, from a migrant Turkish housewife to a single manager and a single parent mother. We focused on different topics. One was about green spaces and parks and playgrounds and the other one was about mobility issues and public space. And this was for the first time that we also made a gender split so that mobility data were really analysed between the share of men and women.
How has Vienna integrated the question of gender equality in public spaces designs ? Can you give us some concrete examples of what you have designed ?
Our most successful example of gender planning in public spaces are our recommendations for gender sensitive parks and playgrounds. It started with a social scientific surveys showing that from a certain age, from nine to ten years, you find fewer girls than boys in the parks. This is due to the circumstances. The parks and sport playing facilities are much more focused on boys needs. Therefore we realized six pilot projects. Four of them with active participation of girls involving them and then we made recommendations. They are very detailed about safety issues, about sport interests. Girls also want to have the space and they want to make sports. But, as girls groups, they also want to have a semi protected zones where they can meet for example. Based on these recommendations, Vienna follows this guideline for every new design or for redesigning parks. It was quite easy because Vienna is the owner of the public parks and also is responsible for the management.
Another topic are safety issues for example to improve the lighting situation.