Gendering Urban Development: Making room for women in urban planning and design in Argentina

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs

Having adopted the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Argentine government is committed to making its cities better for all residents and reducing inequity, by removing slum conditions, alleviating poverty, and tackling climate change in one of the world’s most urbanized countries. Connecting all of these efforts is a commitment to integrate gender perspectives into urban development programs and policies in order to specifically account for, accommodate, and improve women’s experiences in Argentine cities.

This focus on gender endorses the observation, made by practitioners and researchers alike, that for cities to become truly equitable and sustainable – and meet the SDGs – they must attend to a broader range of experiences. Women and girls around the world face specific yet near-universal challenges in the urban realm, particularly in low-income settings. Male-dominated public spaces, physical and perceived barriers to access, insecurity on public transport, transportation networks designed for the male commute, street harassment, and the threat of gender-based violence obstruct women’s mobility, safety, social integration, civic engagement, and economic opportunity. Urban design and planning have central roles to play in mitigating these gendered challenges.

The Department of Urban Planning and Design has partnered with the Ministry of the Interior, Public Works and Housing, to take up this challenge through a fall studio. Students will approach familiar design and planning questions from new viewpoints, use a broader range of participatory tools, and reconsider the kinds of data included in their analysis and solutions sets. With this information, students will develop innovative, yet grounded design and planning strategies for re-shaping a critical portion of barrio ‘La Favorita’ (City of Mendoza), to better meet the needs of women and girls, and by extension, all residents. Specifically, students will create a plan that includes both specific design interventions for an existing plaza, and written and visual recommendations for wider community infrastructure systems. The planning methodologies and specific design outcomes developed will form the basis for future gender-focused urban design initiatives across Argentina.

This course has an irregular meeting schedule.

Studio sessions will take place on the following Wednesdays and Thursdays: 9/12/2018September 12-14; September 24-28 (pending studio trip to Argentina); October 3-4; October 17-18; October 31-November 1; November 14-15; November 28-29.