Name, first nameGalvani OrnellaYear of birth1995eMailornellagalvani@bluewin.chUniversityHKBField of Interest / research fieldDesign Research and ReflectionTitle of projectWomen and public spaceAbstractMy project title is women and public space. The background of my project is the fact that I used to fear a lot in public space and after a while I realised that I was not alone to deal with that problem. That is why I decided to try to understand why women fear in public space. Because if you look at statistics women risk less in public space than in their home. In view of these statistics, among other things, one might say that women’s fear of public space is a social construction. Moreover, Yves Raibaud, a French sociologist, wrote a book about the fact that our cities were made by men and for men. He emphasize the fact that public furniture are occupied mostly by men and that women only pass in public space with a specific goal. According to him, it is really rare to see a women in a strolling position in public space. After my reading of his book, my research question came up : is it possible to design a public space where each individual feels comfortable ? I will have a specific focus on women and the problem they are facing in public spaces.
The aim of my project is to raise awareness by highlighting and comparing the good practices around the world to see what’s working or not. My final goal is to create a book or an exhibition to help urban planner to build more inclusive public space.
There is some existing information about cities which have an inclusive and egalitarian politic about public space.
I also want to collect data on my own. To do that, I will apply the following methods. First, I want to do a road trip. I will go to the different cities which are trying to create more inclusive and egalitarian public space. I want to see these good practices. I also want to experiment them myself, to see if it works for me, how I feel there. I want to document it by recording all of my feeling that I will have to say aloud. I also want to find a way to describe the space. I may also ask some other people to do the same to compare our experiments.
While I am in these cities, I would like to convey interviews with people in charge of these projects. I want to understand how they worked or are working on these projects. I want to understand the process, the methods they used/are using, if they have some ways to evaluate how their projects are working, etc.
I would also like to contact Chris Blache. She is a French feminist activist and psychologist. She is interested in this subject because she is the cofounder of the organisation “Genre et ville” (Gender and city).
After that or at the same time, I would like to choose a city which doesn’t have a politic for inclusive and egalitarian public space. There, I want to study how women feel about or in public space to see what the city can improve. The city will probably be Geneva. I would like to give two cameras to women (or ask them to take pictures with their smartphones). With these cameras, I would ask them to take picture of places where they don’t feel safe in their day to day life and places where they like to go and stay. I may ask them to write in a diary all of their feelings about the places that are on their pictures and when they took it. They may also write about the sound, or record a sound if they find it relevant. I want to have as much material as possible. After that, I will print all of the pictures and I will do photo-elicitation interviews with these women. I want to talk with them about the pictures to understand why they fear, what they like in a public space, what is important for them.
Maybe I will find some other interesting criteria to build public space or I could relate these information to the list of criteria to build women-friendly public space made by the UN. I also want to ask them to mark on a map where these different pictures were taken. That will be a way to visualise easily where are the problems in the city and where changes are needed. This will help me a lot, I think, to collaborate with the city and urban planner. It will be easier for me to show them where they need to start.TutorsPriska Gisler and Marylène Lieber