How Planning Can Reduce the Threat of Gender Violence

A piece from Anchorage, Alaska discusses problems that can arise when planners don't address gender-based safety. Walkable, populated, well-lit streets and transit are the best remedy.
April 12, 2015, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Hernán Piñera

Rates of gender-based violence tend higher in Anchorage, and better planning is key to reducing them: "robust public infrastructure is critical [...]. Many planning issues are framed as yuppie issues–wanting a dedicated bike lane to bike from yoga to Whole Foods–but planning is fundamentally a women's rights and human rights issue as well."

Specifically, mixed-use neighborhoods with vibrant local activity can cut into crime regardless of culture or socioeconomic class. "Typical places that cause fear and insecurity for women are dark doorways, parks at night, empty and badly lit streets, underground car parks, and pedestrian underpasses." The article continues, "Public spaces utilized by women increase the likelihood those spaces will be used more frequently."

To highlight gender differences in perceived urban safety, this might be worth quoting: "Margaret Atwood once asked a group of men why they feared women, and they replied 'we're afraid they might laugh at us.' She then asked a group of women why they feared men, and the women replied 'we're afraid they might kill us.'"

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Published on Friday, April 3, 2015 in The Arctic Urbanophile
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