Women in Urbanism – widening the conversation about our cities

Jul 12, 2017
Women in Urbanism – widening the conversation about our cities

Jessica Rose

Women in Urbanism Aotearoa is an exciting addition to the urbanist scene. I’ve been privileged to be part of the formation of this new group, which emerged in June with a social gathering to gauge interest. The room was packed with women eager to be part of the wider conversation about gender and cities. Off to a flying start!

Women in Urbanism seeks to transform our cities into safe, accessible and equitable urban environments for all people by supporting and amplifying the voices and actions of all self-identifying women and girls.

Why is this new group important to Bike Auckland? Because we are both passionate about how people move around, and we strive to ensure that our city design meets the needs of women and our most vulnerable residents.

If you made it to the recent evening with Jeff Tumlin (which Bike Auckland co-hosted), you may remember the comment that many cities seem designed to cater to a reasonably fit 30-year-old man. This leaves a lot of other people with difficulty accessing our public spaces and amenities, or feeling unsafe or unwelcome in the city.

For example, we already know that statistically, a lot more men feel confident riding bikes on Auckland’s streets than women. As noted in the recently published Auckland Cycling Account, women are only 25% of the people riding bikes in our city. But 74% of the people who ride bikes feel joy most out of the 7 universal emotions. That means there are a lot of women missing out on this joyful experience.

This lower level of participation is due to a number of factors: chief among them is perceived safety, which is tied to design. There are several groups who offer support and solidarity to help women feel safe and confident riding bikes, but the broad area of urbanism is a very male-dominated industry. Without women’s voices in the conversation or women in decision-making positions, we’re at risk of missing out on equitable outcomes on our streets.

Creating public spaces where women feel safe walking and cycling, where seniors have places to rest and can cross streets at their own speed, where people of all abilities and mobilities have equal access, and where children are included and welcomed will mean a happier city for us all.

Women in Urbanism has two major aims:

  1. Inspiring more women to consider careers in Urbanism, such as transport planning.
  2. Encouraging quality urban design outcomes that meet the needs of women and our most vulnerable people.

We would love to share this journey, and invite interested women to jump aboard. You can join the Women in Urbanism Facebook group (which has members from all over New Zealand) and follow us on Twitter at @WomenInUrbanism. Or, come along to our next event in Auckland – details below!

A Conversation with Julie Anne Genter

Julie Anne will describe the arc of her career so far, and focus on how better urban outcomes for women can benefit all New Zealanders.

Prior to being an MP, Julie Anne worked as a consultant in transport economics and urban design. She is particularly passionate about the opportunity for smarter transport planning to reduce costs and climate pollution while creating more liveable cities. Julie Anne is a dedicated to bikes for transport and is an excellent role model for women riding to commute, and for women interested in urbanism.

Where Boffa Miskell, Level 3/ 82 Wyndham St, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

When Thursday 20 June 2017, 6:30pm

Space is limited, so please register here.

The event is kindly sponsored by Boffa Miskell and MRCagney.


Join us

Bike Auckland is the non-profit organisation working to improve things for people on bikes. We’re a people-powered movement for a better region. We speak up for you – and the more of us there are, the stronger our voice!

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