What would a city designed by women be like?

What would a city designed by women be like?

Cities are supposed to be built for all of us, but they aren’t built by all of us. So what would a city designed by women be like?

This video from BBC explores what a city might look like if it was designed and built by women. To illustrate, Barcelona might be able to give us that answer.

For the past four years Barcelona has had a female mayor with a profoundly feminist agenda. The team from BBC spoke to feminists working in urban planning in the city to find out what they think needs to change to make cities better for women.

How to Build a City Designed by Women

The feminist collective of urban designers, Punt 6, has considered this question for decades. With this in mind, they outline 6 ways to design cities that better fit the needs of women.

1. Toilets

Research says that women spend on average, 3 times as long in bathrooms. Most of the time, men can stand up, which means that more men can fit into a bathroom of the same size. In this case, women’s bathrooms should be 3 times the size of men’s.

2. Play Fair

By considering the design of a space and how it can be shared, the design trio of Equal Saree made a playground where everyone has equal access to space.

3. The way she moves

Statistics show that women travel on foot and use public transport more often than men. When cities make a big effort to get more people to use more public transport, they should think of women. However, more often than not, they don’t. Cars and vehicle traffic take up much of the access to Barcelona’s public spaces. However, redistributing access to these areas can help to support pedestrian groups.

4. The Superilla (Superblock)

In almost every city, cars take up more space than every other road user. The idea of the Superblock is to combine 9 regular city blocks and reclaim the streets for pedestrians or cyclists. So far, Barcelona has built 6—and the plan is to built over 500.

5. Take a seat

When asked what they wanted to sea in the Superblocks, the most resounding answer from women was—benches. Besides acting as an avenue for socializing, benches are also a basic necessity for mobility for people who are sick, for people with disabilities, and for carers or childminders.

6. Anti-machismo stands

Barcelona’s anti-machismo stands around the city aim to provide women with a safer night out. Women can access the booths for advice, resources, and information about an anti-sexual harassment app developed by the city. The idea is to create a map of where sexual assaults are happening, so the city can stop them.


Reporter: Stephanie Hegarty

Directed and edited by: Camelia Sadeghzadeh

Producer: Eva Ontiveros

Video journalist: Derrick Evans

Animation: Jilla Dastmalchi

Want to help promote equality in your city? Get Involved with WFCC, or Submit a Wise Practice.

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