Can Planning Reverse the Rise in Sexual Violence in India's Cities?

The increase in vehicular speeds, removal of street hawkers, and addition of gated neighborhoods are all seen as contributing to a rise in crimes against women in New Delhi and other Indian cities. How can planning and design reverse this trend?

1 minute read

September 28, 2013, 5:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Neyaz Farooqui looks at some of the factors that are thought to have contributed to the rise in sexual violence in India's cities. Auto-centric planning, the placement of streetlights, and the segregation of cities into zones of exclusion each have a role in producing unsafe social and physical environments for women. 

"Urban planners and designers argue that apart from better policing, gender-sensitive city planning and design can help make India’s cities safer for women," explains Farooqui. "Patterns of crime in a city, according to these experts, vary according to its urban design."

UPDATE (9/30): It appears as though some cities are already taking steps to create women-only spaces in response to the rise in sexual violence. Writing in The Washington Post, Annie Gowen notes that women-only buses, cabs, travel groups, and parks are emerging in several cities. 

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