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Cities for everyone

Last week new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was making some excellent comments about cities, now it’s the turn of his wife who is chair of the think tank Committee for Sydney and is a former Lord Mayor of Sydney. She is talking about an issue I’ve long agreed with and have unsuccessfully tried to get some guest posts on.

The chair of the thinktank Committee for Sydney, Lucy Turnbull, has called on city planners and designers to make building female-friendly cities a core component of urban renewal.

“If a city is female-friendly, it is friendly for everybody,” Turnbull told Fairfax Media in an interview published on Sunday.

“It’s not an exclusionary idea of female-friendly, but to ensure that women and young children … are able to fully participate in the life of the city and the economy of the city.”

A female-friendly city is one where women’s perspectives are central to the design process, and where women can safely access services such as healthcare, public transport, social services, and education with the same ease and opportunity as men.

Turnbull told Fairfax how it was a mission to transport her now 33-year-old son, Alex, around the city of Sydney in a pram when he was a baby. “Sometimes you see extremely glamorous designer pavements that are completely impassable,” she said.

As she says the key issue is actually about making cities that work for everyone not just one subset of the population. This is an issue I’ve had personal experience with in the form of a family member who has a physical disability meaning they are not very mobile. Cycling is another good example, I’ve seen it described that females and children are an indicator species when it comes to riding a bike. That’s because many (or parents in the case of children) tend to be much more risk adverse than someone like me and as such will only ride a bike if is absolutely safe to do so. That’s why one of the metrics in the Copenhagenize ranking for the worlds most bike friendly cities the gender split is included.

Another example we see a lot at the moment that impacts a lot of people such as mothers with prams, children or those with disabilities is the issue of parking on kerbs. For example how would a person in a wheelchair or a mother with a pram deal with the situation below

Kerb Parking 6

To me when a wider cross section of society are able to be involved in what’s happening the city as a whole works and feels better.

37 comments to Cities for everyone

  • nemisis

    There is a certain subset of our society who will always flout the rules as seen with the truck on the curb. We all see it everyday and the culprits just do not care and deliberately break the rules. The only way that will change is if they know there is a very high chance they will be fined. The authorities need to enable enforcement by way of accepting photographic evidence provided by the public ( as Matt has provided above) of an infringement. Instant fine. Sure there would have to be some controls over abuse but it would be simple,cost effective control of those who refuse to accept rules.
    Re Sydney , just got back from a fully pedestrian/public transport holiday and what a pleasure it was to kick the car habit. It also pisses me off that our Government,Councils and AT do not fully adopt the public transport /pedestrian ethos and fast track the shift to a fully people friendly city.
    I am seriously thinking about moving to Sydney so that I can enjoy a city that makes it self so easy to enjoy

    • JimboJones

      I was thinking the other day how physically policing poor driving will soon be a thing of the past. It won’t be long until all cars have a camera filming everything and you’ll be able to send a video of the last person who cut you off or ran a red to the cops with the click of a button. There will also be a smart phone app for parking etc. I can’t wait!!

    • People will always find ways to mess things up. A couple of weeks ago, in central Amsterdam, a car parked across the foot path and part of the bike lane. The passenger then doored someone (in the bike lane) getting out.

    • Dan C

      I guess the point is, if they are going to flout the rules, why did they choose to park on the footpath, and not just park on the road on the yellow lines? Because the choose who they want to inconvenience, and the mother with a pram doesn’t count?.

  • BrettD

    I wonder what things (both good and bad) we would see if an action camera was strapped to a pram or wheelchair and its owner sent off on a tour of Auckland.

    • nonsense

      I did it! Truth is the most annoying thing were not illegally parked cars but footpaths that ended abruptly or drivers not giving way when intersecting footpaths

  • Lord Maths

    I’ve suggested it before, but instead of spending tens of millions on capital works, how about say a 20m OPEX budget for a new enhanced enforcement unit? That could easily fund 150 or so staff – let’s say 3 shifts a day, 20% office staff, that’s 40 enforcement officers on the road all day every day. Every truck parked on a kerb – towed 5 minutes later. Every car on a clearway – towed 5 minutes later. Car on a bus stop? Boom, towed.

  • RB

    Love how you all jump to conclusions and the obsession with fining miscreants. It would be very interesting to know why the truck was parked on the kerb before going off. Anyone know why? There may be a perfectly sensible reason.

    • Stu Donovan

      what is your definition of a “good reason”? I mean, I see this happening all the time simply because it’s convenient for the driver, who no doubt considers that a “good reason” – even if I don’t

      In this case the truck is parked on the footpath and on yellow lines. What sort of reasons would you accept as reasonable in this situation?

      • Mike F

        Probably the same reasons that cyclists riding on the footpath have. It was perceived that they could just get away with it. No other reason.

      • unaha-closp

        A vehicle providing mobility access might be permitted to park on the pavement or the yellow lines to allow the disabled ease in boarding. A delivery or service industry vehicle undertaking home calls might be permitted to stop for a short period.

        • Matthew W

          “might be permitted to stop for a short period.”

          Really? Who issues these permits? Yellow lines are often in place for safety critical reasons. I cant see this being acceptable without a TMP.

          • Dave B (Wellington)

            That’s right. Anyone requiring to obstruct the footpath like this for roadwroks-purposes would need to lay out appropriate traffic cones, warning signs and temporary kerb-ramps to mitigate the safety hazard caused. Failing to do this would risk getting the worksite shut down and the possibility of a big fine.
            Why should this truck be treated any differently?

          • Ted F

            The footpaths are not built to carry axle loadings. We had a neighbour who constantly did this and broke our pavements and transferred loads in the street at 4am. After talking to them at in the early hours of the morning then taking flash photographs of them and eventually forwarding the photos to the local council. In those days it did not seem to have the desired effect however they eventually got the message and moved away. Since we became part of the super City the path has been repaired but I feel that the trucky should have been charged for the damage.

    • There is no valid reason to ever park on the footpath. He was just being a dickhead because he could and also got abusive when I pointed out he shouldn’t be there

  • “Female friendly city”? Utterly ridiculous. Men push prams around too.

    I can’t think of on thing in a city that doesn’t effect men women, transgender etc evenly.

    Can anyone else?

    • Sailor Boy

      I can think of things that *disproportionately* affect women. Anything related to child care, fear of assault due to poor CPTED.

    • harrymc

      Quite right. I brought up my son on my own from 5 months old. It always irritated me that the baby changing facilities in malls etc. were all in the female toilets! That’s changed in most places.
      And of course, men are never afraid of assault. Almost twice as many men as women are the victim of violent assault. Let’s just leave gender bias out of it and make it safer for ALL.

    • Matthew W

      Women tend to be more risk averse. My wife won’t ride on the roads with our daughter in the bike trailer. I will. This difference makes sense to me.

      • Women make an excellent indicator for the health of the cycling environment because of their lower risk profile. Women are much less likely to accept the risk of road conditions that seem unsafe, regardless of the actual numbers – which is fair enough and exactly what “subjective safety” is all about.

        If women aren’t cycling then that tells you your environment is broken. Auckland has 3 men cycling to very one women so our environment is broken. In the Netherlands and Denmark the majority of people on bicycles are women.

        The same applies for our urban environment in general, not just for cycling.

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