Brussels wants to make public space less masculine

Brussels wants to make public space less masculine
Brussels wants to make public space less masculine

“The public space in the city belongs to and for everyone, but in practice it is dominated by men. For girls, women and people who do not meet the classical cisgender standards, the public space can sometimes feel unwelcome, frightening, and unsafe. Many research confirms that, due to the lack of a gender-sensitive approach, women and girls do not feel (and are) safe in the public space, as a result, they also move differently through the city, and cannot make full use of the city.” at the city government.

All the more reason why the City of Brussels launched an open call for projects this year aimed at initiatives that bring forward a gender-sensitive approach to urban development. Nineteen organizations submitted a proposal. A jury represented by the Urban Planning and Equal Opportunities Departments, as well as an external jury member from the University of Liège, ultimately selected six projects.

It is the first time that we have launched a project call on gender & urban design and we immediately received many reactions. It is clearly a theme that is ‘alive’. The selected projects are very different, but always relevant in their own way. Women and girls as well as persons from the LGBTQIA community are increasingly demanding their place in the public space, but still encounter many obstacles. These are the obstacles that we want to map and tackle through the selected projects. Because the city belongs to everyone,” says Ans Persoons, alderman for urban planning and public space.

THE LAUREATES

Girls make the City- ZIJkant vzw and Wetopia

This autumn, ZIJkant VZW is organizing a co-creation trail with a group of teenage girls at the foot of the Kapellekerk. The girls live in the area or go to school there and, under the guidance of experts, they will be encouraged to think about the public space in the city: what do they need to feel at home there? The place was not chosen by chance. As part of the new circulation plan, and the deletion of one lane, an entire space between the Kapellekerk and the skate park will become available. The intention here is to carry out a concrete intervention by and for girls at the end of the workshops. There will also be a publication with recommendations for gender-inclusive public space and a podcast about the girls’ experiences.​

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. In the first place, the association wants to enter into a dialogue with the women from the neighbourhood. In collaboration with Periferia vzw, a number of workshops are organized around the use, or lack thereof, of public space. The final piece of the project will be a photo exhibition in the district of 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 in the Halles Saint-Géry. The exhibition takes stock and projects a possible future of the city of Brussels through a queer lens. The aim of the exhibition is to raise public awareness of the gender and queer 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 gender, 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 specific needs of the girls when designing public spaces. Their rights to safe, accessible and comfortable public spaces are central to this. The workshops end with an installation on a public space in the City and a documentary about the entire process.

JES Brussels vzw

The Street Work team of Jes Brussels has been active around Anneessens and the Papenvest (Five Blocks) for over 15 years. Just before corona, a girls’ work was also started. With this call, this operation is given a new impulse. The aim is to bring the girls’ experiences and needs to the surface through participatory workshops with the group. The district is facing major changes. More specifically, the renovation of the Five Blocks will be discussed in more detail and what impact it may have on the girls in the neighbourhood. The process ends with an intervention or visible activity in the neighbourhood. The organization hopes this will lower the threshold for using public space in different ways in the future.

City Collectors Office – Lilith & Mo vzw

For a week, the Bureau of City Collectors will settle in a square in the city. The office invites local residents, passers-by and other curious people to explore the square. By means of small assignments, we look in a playful and playful way into how men and women use the square and, above all, why. Where the office will settle is still a surprise.


The article is in Dutch

Tags: Brussels public space masculine

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