A digital toolbox, HerCity is a platform that seeks to involve women in urban development to create more inclusive cities.
Turning the tables and putting girls in the expert position, the digital toolbox aims to create more inclusive, equal, and sustainable cities and communities. The initiative makes methods and tools available to urban actors globally, in order to support cities in integrating girls’ participation in their long-term strategies.
Launched on Women’s day 2021, the guide for urban planning and design is a collaborative effort between UN-Habitat and Global Utmaning, the Swedish independent think tank.
Although cities are supposed to be built for everyone, they are, most of the time, thought through, planned, and designed by men. Research shows that girls and women do not use a city’s public spaces to the same extent as boys or men. “From the age of eight, 80 percent of the public spaces can be dominated by boys, and girls express that they feel significantly more insecure and excluded.” The lack of knowledge in participatory urban planning and design, on a decision-making level, is contributing to widening the gender gap and to the marginalisation of vulnerable groups in urban development processes.
HerCity aims to define and contribute to inclusive urban planning, where the basic needs of all individuals are considered. Providing an opportunity to build capacity on a larger scale, the platform provides a toolbox for municipal professionals, urban actors, and local decision-makers that involves girls and young women in urban planning and design. A joint urban development initiative by UN-Habitat (the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) and the independent think tank Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), with contributions from the Block by Block Foundation, White Architects, Swedish Union of Tenants, and MethodKit, HerCity is the result of the Urban Girls Movement launched in 2017.
How does it work?
The digital guideline presents a cost-efficient process that includes nine building blocks on how to co-plan cities from a girl’s perspective. The nine blocks represent the three phases of the urban development process. They guide the users through the assessment phase (block 1-3), the design phase (block 4-6), and the implementation phase (block 7-9). Moreover, each one of the blocks contains a number of activities with detailed steps to follow, and tools such as checklists, calendars, agendas, manuals, forms, boards, apps, templates, surveys, and visualization services.
Images via ArchDaily.