Equal City”, Ex/Inclusion of women in “public spaces””

Negin Armioun



The public space has been always depicted as a space of democracy that all citizens have the right to inhabit but in this short sentence, there are different terms under question: “public”, “space”, “democracy” and “citizens”. As Mike Davis truly expressed an alarm at the “destruction of any truly democratic urban spaces” and as many feminists have contributed¬† to the new understanding of public/private beside all the binaries, now it’s the time to rethink and question the space and it’s relation with women. There’s a need to think about a possible/impossible equal city which includes women as an important group who was excluded from public spheres for a long time.

In this article, I’m going to ask and possibly answer who is allowed in to the public space and who is in charge of the public? How do public spaces exclude women? How the power structure is clear in cities and organizing public/private spaces and their users.¬† How city planning/designing can affect the inclusion/exclusion of women. What are the important elements in the relation between women and public spaces? Through defining the meaning of “public”, “space” and “public space” to make up our mind from conventional definitions, and looking at the most important elements which play a role to build an equal city for all people (including the excluded groups) such as: ” mobility, the idea of “citizenship” and “safety” or “everyday spaces” , I will come to the ways feminists have responded the society and reacted to this spatial binary using other and also think about new possible ways. In this article, I propose to go beyond the physical aspect of spaces and see that sometimes environments themselves are not changed; their symbolism and significance are only altered by the different subversive reading of feminist discourse. The way people use a certain place can challenge and change what authorities expected and aimed to have in that space. Therefor the findings of this research are not specialized for feminists or architects, but for everyone who use the space and possibly is able to increase equality in our future cities.