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
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.