The incorporation of the gender perspective in municipal facilities

14/07/2020 - 14:40

Gender perspective in municipal facilities

A new study provides proposals and recommendations to include a gender perspective in the design, implementation and management of Barcelona city’s facilities.

Barcelona has close to 900 municipal facilities of various types including, among others, facilities for children or the elderly, sports, cultural and commercial facilities. These serve as meeting points and socialising venues for everyone, and their implementation and consolidation provides new places to establish relationships and carry out a myriad activities. For these reasons, municipal facilities need to be inclusive spaces, and their design, implementation and management must focus on life.

In spite of this, public spaces and municipal facilities – which are part of these spaces for public use – are not gender neutral. There is a gap between men’s and women’s uses of municipal facilities and services as a result of the traditional gender roles and inequalities that affect their daily lives.

The study, which is promoted by Barcelona City Council’s Department of Gender Services and Times Policies, has been carried out by Ana Paricio and by Alba Domínguez and Konstantina Chrysostomou from Cooperativa Pla Estel. Seven types of municipal facility have thus been analysed, taking into account those internal and external aspects that may be giving rise to these different uses by gender, as well as different user experiences. Aspects such as accessibility, perceived comfort, autonomy and safety, versatility and connection with public spaces, among others, have been examined taking into account the intersection of variables such as gender, age, culture, sexual orientation, ability and social class, among others.

This work has led to a number of recommendations and proposals for the transformation of facilities from a feminist point of view, such as in relation to places for meeting and relating to others. These are believed to encourage spontaneous informal control. The proposals therefore include giving the centre’s information area a good view of the entrance and intermediate spaces; sharing the lobby of the centre with other facilities; filling lobbies with sofas and other items for spending time; or connecting children’s play areas with the ground floor.

The study and its conclusions were presented at an internal working session attended by over 60 people from the City Council’s main bodies and departments involved in the design, implementation and management of the various types of facility. The session, which was held on Tuesday, 7 July, marked the starting point for the creation of a task force for the design of a future Government Measure for feminist municipal facilities.