Case study: Gendered landscape from Umeå in Sweden

Gender equality shaping the city landscape

The gendered landscape philosophy of Umeå lays at the heart of urban planning decision making and is seen by them as ”a way of making statistics come alive and demonstrate concrete effects of striving for gender equality”. The planners in this city think that the effects of having gender in mind when planning, will then have positive repercussions on the entire society. 

Amongst other improvements and small local community projects, a new city passage between the city centre and the neighbourhood Haga is an example of gender mainstreaming in physical planning. The architects have worked with space, height, daylight, rounded edges, gradual gradient, artwork and maximal transparency. Working with gender mainstreaming meant awareness raising on issues of safety, fear, violence and power in public spaces. 

According to Urbact ”the method raises important questions about the city’s development and identity issues that are critical norms and, in some cases, provocative as well as challenging and dynamic. How do we build new tunnels, playgrounds, meeting places, recreation centres? Do we plan our public transport for those who use it or for those we wish would use it? Why are women using public transport more frequently than men? Who has the power to decide? What knowledge do we use when we are working on developing the city and our public spaces?”.