The City of Brussels supports six projects on gender and urban planning

At the beginning of May, the City of Brussels launched an open call for projects aimed at initiatives focused on gender and urban planning. No fewer than nineteen organizations have submitted a bid, six of which have been selected and will begin work on the topic this fall.

Why gender and urban planning?

The public space in the city belongs to everyone, but in fact it is used by men[1] dominated. For girls and women[2] And people who do not meet traditional gender norms, public space can sometimes feel unwelcome, intimidating and unsafe.

Urban planning and architecture are both historical and still male-dominated. This means that the city and public spaces are designed from a male perspective, without taking into account the needs of women and girls. Numerous research confirms that due to the lack of a gender-sensitive approach, women and girls do not feel (and are) safe in public and, as a result, also move differently through the city, and cannot take full advantage of the city.

This is all the more reason for the city to launch an open call for projects this year aimed at initiatives that promote a gender-sensitive approach to urban development. Nineteen organizations submitted a proposal. A jury represented by the Departments of Urban Planning and Equal Opportunity, as well as an external jury member from the University of Liège, selected six projects in the end.

Certified Local Council Member for Urban Planning and Public Spaces Ans Persoons (One.Brussel-Vooruit): “This is the first time we have launched a call for projects on gender and urban design and immediately received many responses. It is clear that the subject of the selected projects is ‘alive’ Totally different, but always relevant in their own way.Women and girls as well as people from the LGBTQIA community are increasingly demanding their place in the public space, but they still face many obstacles.The obstacles we want to map and address through the projects chosen, because the city belongs to everyone. “.


Girls make the city- ZIJkant vzw and Wetopia:

This fall, ZIJkant VZW is organizing a co-creation trail with a group of teenage girls at the foot of the Kapellekerk. Girls live in the area or go to school there, and with the guidance of experts, they will be encouraged to think about public spaces in the city: what should they feel at home there? The place was not chosen by chance. As part of the new circulation plan, deleting a single lane, full space will be made available between the Kapellekerk and the skate park. The goal here is to make a concrete intervention by and for the girls at the end of the workshops. There will also be a post with recommendations for gender-inclusive public spaces and a podcast about girls’ experiences.

Girls make the city

© Nora Junker and Manon Brulee

Stalingrad au feminin! – STALEM asbl:

In the southern part of the Pentagon, around the South Station, women are generally less visible and present in the public space. With this statement, Stalem asbl, the local trade association, opens the debate. Primarily, the association wants to engage in a dialogue with the women of the neighborhood. In cooperation with Periferia vzw, a number of workshops are organized on the use or non-use of public spaces. The final part of the project will be an exhibition of photographs in the Stalingrad province and by the women of Stalingrad.

Queering Brussels – L’architecture qui dégenre asbl:

From September 10 to November 21, 2022, the Queering Brussels exhibition will be on display at Halles Saint-Géry. The exhibition measures and visualizes a possible future for the city of Brussels through a peculiar lens. The aim of the exhibition is to increase public awareness of the gender and homosexual dimension of architecture and the impact of LGBTQIA+ sexuality issues in architecture and urban design. An additional program of city tours, lectures, and film screenings on sex and the city and specific LGBTQIA+ issues is also offered throughout the exhibition.

Girls ‘n Play- RED / Laboratoire Pédagogique vzw & Alive Architecture:

RED / Laboratoire Pédagogique, in collaboration with Alive Architecture, is organizing a series of 8 workshops with a group of girls from Brussels. The workshops focus on the special needs of girls when designing public spaces. Their rights to safe, accessible and comfortable public spaces are central to this. The workshops end with an installation in a public place in the city and a documentary about the whole process.

JES Brussels vzw:

Street Work at Jes Brussels has been active around Anneessens and Papenvest (Five Blocks) for over 15 years. Just before the emergence of Corona, the girls’ work began. With this call, a new impetus is given to the process. The aim is to highlight the girls’ experiences and needs through participatory workshops with the group. The region is facing major changes. More specifically, the renovation of the five blocks will be discussed in more detail and the impact it may have on the girls in the neighborhood. The process ends with a visible intervention or activity in the neighborhood. The organization hopes that this will lower the threshold for using public spaces in various ways in the future.

City Collector’s Office – Lilith & Mo vzw:

For a week, the city’s collectors’ office would rest in a city square. The office invites locals, passersby and other curious people to explore the square. With small tasks, we look in a playful and playful way at how men and women use the square and, above all, why. The place where the office will rest is still a surprise.

Lydia Mutebli Ngwe, Alderman responsible for equal opportunity, concluded: “Urban planning ensures a harmonious planning of the territory and, to some extent, plans its development. As is known, diversity and urban planning have a significant impact on the security and accessibility of services for different user groups., including In that Women and LGBTQIA+ individuals, I am pleased that my colleague supports the activities and considerations proposed through these projects to the “demasculine” public space in Brussels, since the implementation of such actions is an important part of the action plans for gender equality and LGBTQIA+ in the city” .

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