Women's rights at the metropolis
| Subject: International Cooperation, Metropolis, Urban Planning
Seminar about experiences of urbanism from a gender perspective
On the 25th of June, the conference "Women's rights in the metropolitan city: Experiences from a gender perspective" was held at the AMB headquarters.
As a conclusion, it was wstablished that urbanism, public spaces and housing are not neutral. They are not only a design matter, but they are a political matter too. And this is why it is essential to develop and apply them from a diversity approach that puts people's lives at the centre.
This seminar was the result of the collaboration between the AMB's International Cooperation Service, the cooperative of feminist architects, sociologists and town planners Col·lectiu Punt 6 and Ciscsa, an organisation based in Argentina for women's rights, housing and cities.
Speeches during the seminar
At the opening session, the Director Manager of the AMB, Ramon Torra, emphasised the importance of rethinking our models of urbanism, public spaces and housing towards achieving a more integrative and inclusive city. He also reminded the audience the growing presence of women in different decision-making positions within the AMB, the existence of the Equality Plan (and the rising awareness about gender equity) which has been developed in its departments. Precisely in that last area, Torra mentioned the new social housing projects developed by IMPSOL, planned under a gender approach as non-hierarchical spaces that encourage a new model of relationships and division of labour within different types of families. This innovative project had previously been presented by Josep Maria Borrell, head of IMPSOL's Construction Service.
Initiatives from Latin America
During the seminar, some initiatives from Latin America were presented, a cradle of pioneering proposals in the area of feminist and decolonial ("planned from the south") planning from the territory. Ana Falú, a world leader in feminist urbanism and contributor in consulting and formulating processes of the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III), celebrated the advances in incorporating a gender approach and the debates about inequalities in urban development agendas. However, she also warned about the ever-present danger of backtracking, especially in the context of what she called "urban extractivism", ruled by the supremacy of the free market which converts the city into merchandise. Falú defined women's rights in the city as a category which is simultaneously theoretic and political, which should be based on an analysis of time and territory needed by all subjects, including those who have been left out or made invisible until now: not only women, but also people in the LGTB collective, racial minorities, etc.
Silvana Pissano, Architect and Urban Development Director of the Intendancy of Montevideo (Uruguay), advocated for urbanism as a political instrument which must be redistributive, sustainable, democratic and feminist all at the same time. She said this is the only way it will be possible to create a space for reflection where social justice policies can be implemented to live in a city with equality of condition.
Reflections from the metropolis of Barcelona
While demanding "town or small city urbanism" far from universal formulas, they also explained local experiences that apply urbanism policies from a gender approach, implemented in local contexts by municipal governments. The new mayor of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Lídia Muñoz Cáceres, presented the objective of applying a gendered vision to the urban plan of reconstructing the railways underground, thereby placing value on everyday life and the work of caregiving. Zaida Muxí Martínez, former Director of Urbanism of the municipality of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, explained several initiatives undertaken in the municipality that use horizontal work based on dialogue to improve daily trajectories and to promote inclusive and integrative use of public space. within the same perspective, Sara Ortiz, an integrative sociologist from the Point 6 Collective, advocated for "feminist, non-hierarchal and non-patriarchal" mobility, which should be accessible and direct, safe and free (including nightlife and festive spaces) and which puts daily life and the work of caregiving at its centre.
After thanking the speakers for their participation, Maria Peix, head of the AMB's International Cooperation Service, closed the event by urging the audience to reflect on the experiences that had been explained in order to rethink, from situated knowledge, how we want the metropolises of the future to be. Remembering that "spaces are not neutral and decisions are political", she reminded the audience of public institution's responsibility to guarantee respect for the rights and liberties of everyone, which is necessary to transform the spaces where people come together from an outlook that puts diversity and people's lives at its centre.
AMB headquarters Barcelona