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Icebreaker – Shaping Inclusive Cities: Women’s Safety and Empowerment in Urban Design.

As a female urban designer I am passionate about fostering intersectionality and ensuring universal accessibility within urban design, I aim to shed light on a crucial topic that resonates deeply with my convictions. One area I am particularly keen to discuss is inclusive urban design for women…

Shaping Inclusive Cities: Women’s Safety and Empowerment in Urban Design.

 As I immerse myself in the field of urban design, I’ve stumbled upon a stark revelation that echoes through various sources. Sara Candiracci’s poignant piece in Dezeen has unveiled inherent gender biases entrenched within our cityscapes. Her discourse on women’s inadvertent exclusion from urban spaces underscores the dire necessity for transformative change (Candiracci, 2023).

The compelling narratives penned by Kate Abbey-Lambertz on HuffPost struck a chord, vividly illustrating the prevalent gender disparities ingrained within our city landscapes. Her depiction of unsafe zones, neglected pathways, and insufficient amenities shed light on the persistent challenges women grapple with in securing their safety and freedom in urban settings (Abbey-Lambertz, 2016).

Reflecting on Candiracci and Power’s report, “Cities Alive: Designing cities that work for women,” highlighted pivotal areas where urban development consistently falls short in catering to women’s needs (Candiracci & Power, 2022). Safety, equity, health, and empowerment – these fundamental pillars underscore the unmet necessities in urban planning, mirroring the challenges faced by women in our communities.

Similarly, the insights shared by Andrew Fleming and Anja Tranovich in The Guardian highlight tangible interventions addressing women’s urban needs. Their examples, particularly the initiatives in Bangladesh, showcase the transformative power of involving women in governance and constructing secure facilities—an approach closely aligned with my belief in community engagement (Fleming & Tranovich, 2016).

Besides these sources my personal journey underscores the importance of urban design beyond these mere technicalities. It’s about promoting environments that resonate with human lives, embodying dignity, safety, and inclusivity. I strongly believe in creating spaces that reflect diversity, nurturing well-being, and equality regardless of gender – a belief echoed in the works of urban designers advocating for human-centric and gender-inclusive spaces (Gehl, 2011; Criado Perez, 2019).

These insights have ignited in me, a passion for a commitment to champion inclusive and safe cities. As I imagine the future, I’m driven by past discussions and conferences like Habitat III. It reinforces the urgency to advocate for gender-inclusive urban planning, fostering environments where women feel safe, empowered, and included. It’s about shaping a future where urban spaces reflect humanity, equity, and dignity for all, regardless of when these ideas were first brought to light.



Abbey-Lambertz, K. (2016, April 26). Cities Aren’t Designed For Women. Here’s Why They Should Be. HuffPost. Available at:

Candiracci, S. (2023, March 8). Many cities do not work for women. Dezeen. Available at:,or%20enjoy%20their%20local%20area.

Candiracci, S., & Power, K. (2022). Cities Alive: Designing cities that work for women. Arup, United Nations Development Programme, University of Liverpool. Available at:

Fleming, A., & Tranovich, A. (2016, October 13). Why aren’t we designing cities that work for women, not just men? The Guardian. Available at:



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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

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