Urban Thinkers Campus 2018 Final Report – Creating a Resilient and Inclusive City
Title of the Campus
Creating a Resilient and Inclusive City
- Red Dot Foundation (Safecity)
- The Urban Vision
Dates – 21-22 June 2018
Website – http://safecity.in/urban-thinkers-campus/
UTC narrative *
Safecity, Developmatrixand The Urban Visionco-hosted a two day programme – Creating Resilient and Inclusive Cities on behalf of The Swedish Institute and The UN Habitat as part of the Urban Thinkers Campus on 21-22ndJune at ISDI ACE, Mumbai. This programme was conducted in partnership with the U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai, Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI), Tata Capital and BMW Foundation.
The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) model is an initiative of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign, is a stage for exchange of thoughts and opinions between all stakeholders and partners to promote sustainable development and urbanization. Only 27 such UTCs have been approved for 2018 from around the world and we are honoured to be one of them.
The programme was divided into two parts, viz.:
Day 1: Stakeholder dialogue sessions with interactive innovation labs that generate action plans
Day 2: Introduction to the social incubator to engage youth to work on hyper-local, community based solutions through a 5-month programme.
The main aim of the event was to address the barriers to gender equality and women empowerment and finding community driven solutions for the same.
With the aim of bring together diverse voices to share their opinions on the City We Need, we had 37 organisations working on different issues showcase their work, present their innovations and present the audience with problem statements of difficulties they were actually facing. The participants were taught different problem-solving techniques, design-thinking and were asked to ideate solutions that would be safe, sustainable and inclusive.
Day 1 began with a formal address by Mrs. Madeline Sanstedt-Kjellberger who spoke about the important of incorporating the SDGs, especially SDG 5- gender equality and its sub-goals in the policies of every organization. Ms. Supreet K Singh addressed the participants about the need for speaking about gender related issues and speaking up against anybody who violates one’s rights.
This was followed by the launch of Urban Planning Primer and a short-film sponsored by the Standford Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law’s Collaboration Grant’s Initiative as part of the Omidyar Network Leadership Forum. The film was a heart wrenching rendition of the crime of sexual harassment in public spaces, on the Nirbhayas of today and the importance of voicing the issue. The aim of the primer is to highlight urban design, policy strategies and citizen actions that can make for a more inclusive and safe urban environment for women. Lastly, Ms. Kashmira Mewawala, Head- Business Development & Chief Ethics Counsellor, Tata Capital, concluded the introductory session with a key note speech about problems associated with gender equality and her experiences with the same. She raised a very important question in the minds of everyone present there; “We all know gender equality, we all talk and post about it but how many of us actually implement it?”
The day consisted of three panel discussions and 8 innovation labs, divided into two sessions consisting of 4 innovation labs each and concluded with a spoken word piece by Ms. Sapna Bhavnani on the way society perceives women, judges and condemns them for being different from what is conventional.
Takebacks from Day 1
- Women need to work in equal stride and make their opinions and voices heard so that their problems can be brought to light.
- Women need to be included in all decision-making panels in equal numbers as women.
- Women have to support each other, help other women from weaker sections grow so that they reach their potential. They have to collectivise.
- We all need to rethink our perspectives about stereotypes and gender biases.
About 140 participants attended Day 1 of the Urban Thinkers Campus. The participants included members from Shapoorji Pallonji, UN Women India, Swedish Institute, Tata Capital, The Gender Lab, Blue Ribbon Movement, Amity University, SNDT University etc. There were professionals and students alike.
Day 2 began with around 100 participants from various backgrounds excited and eager to participate in the sessions of the day. Mr. James Fennell, Cultural Affairs Officer, US Consulate General, Mumbai gave the welcome address speaking about the current scenario of urban planning and development, the prevalent gender biases and how we all need to play our parts to overcome them. Mr. Amit Kundal, a facilitator at ISDI, conducted the first Design Session where the participants were first asked to work individually and then in groups to bring out the effectiveness of working in a team. He spoke about the importance of being change makers by getting involved in the planning and designing process of a city and being designers and innovators in life. A team of actors from MAVA (Men Against Violence and Abuse) performed a play on the social evils against women and the importance of raising our voices against these evils. In the second Design Session, participants were divided into groups and given stationery supplies. Each group was assigned different disabilities like blindness, no arms and no legs and was asked to design to prototype of a dustbin for people with that particular disability. The aim of the session was to ideate while keeping the target audience in mind and to think out-of-the-box. To further emphasize how the simplest of ideas can bring about great changes, innovations from Urban Leaves, Litmus Test Project and Suzlon Foundation were showcased by their members. The participants were left in awe with how small ideas can revolutionize the lives of so many people.
Takebacks for Day 2
- Design thinking process of knowing the problem, knowing one’s target audience and defining it and then creating a solution for them accordingly.
- Working in groups is more effective than working solo. It is easier to brainstorm and develop one another’s ideas.
- Each of us needs to raise our voices against the social evils against women.
- Learning from innovations that are already present and the difficulties they face.
- The importance of the youth being change makers, designers and innovators and being involved in finding solutions to the city’s problems.
Introduction to/overview of the Campus
The Urban Thinkers Campus took place on 21-22 June 2018 at ISDI Ace (Indian School of Design and Innovation), Mumbai in India focusing on ‘The City We Need” principle under the theme “Creating a Resilient and Inclusive City” whilst incorporating Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 11 i.e. Gender Equality and Safe and Sustainable Cities. It was organised by Red Dot Foundation (Safecity) in partnership with Developmatrix and The Urban Vision. As part of the UN Habitat’s World Urban Campaign, it was supported by the Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI), The Swedish Institute, U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai, Tata Capital and BMW Foundation. Over the 2 days we had 33 organisations involved in the different sessions, 140 participants on Day 1 and 100 students on Day 2.
ElsaMarie D’Silva led the Safecity team while Latha Sankarnarayan led the Developmatrix team and Prathima Manohar led The Urban Vision team. The host for the day, Ruben Mascarenhas, Co-Founder and CEO, Litmus test Project, set the tone for the day by talking about the need for creating resilient cities from an intersectional perspective. The day took off with a formal welcoming note to the mass of 140 participants from all over the city. The Campus was officially opened by Mrs. Madeleine Sandstedt-Kjellberger, Consul at the Swedish Consul General of Mumbai. She spoke about the 6 sub-goals of gender equality that the Swedish Government swears by. This was followed by a short film by Supreet K Singh, Director and COO of Safecity, which brought out the issue of violence against women and girls in public spaces by highlighting glimpses of sexual abuse cases which have been more newsworthy than others. The film sensitised the audience about the importance of reporting violence in order to prevent more cases like Nirbhaya and Kathua from happening. The short film was followed by the launching of the Safe City Urban Design Primer which has been designed to highlight urban design, policy strategies and citizen actions that can make for a more inclusive and safe urban environment for women. The primer was launched by Mrs.Madeleine, ElsaMarie D’Silva, Prathima Manohar and Supreet K Singh.
The keynote address was given by Mrs. Kashmira Mewawala, Head of Business Development and Chief Ethics Counselor at Tata Capital. A resident of the city of Mumbai herself, she shared her lived experiences of being in Mumbai for more than 5 decades, the daily realities she has had to face as a citizen as a woman and the development she looks forward to for the women of Mumbai. She highlighted the issues of employment, transport, mobility, hygiene and living in Mumbai that many women face and why we need to work together to find urban solutions for women’s safety and inclusion.
The sessions for the day covered the issues of urban planning and design from four aspects- gender, environment, mobility and governance. There were three panel discussions and eight innovations labs during the course of the day. The first panel discussion covered the issue of whether cities were designed for women and children, the second- ways of building resilience and inclusion in a city and the third- reimagining a city from a youth and gendered perspective. The panel discussions were alternated with innovation labs conducted by 8 organisations which posed to the participants the different issues each one faced and urged them to come up with urban solutions to each issue. All the innovations labs were accompanied by facilitators from ISDI, who added their perspectives to each issue and helped the participants in ideating solutions. In-depth discussion were held with each Innovation Lab which involved diverse participants. The first day of the campus ended with a spoken word piece by Sapna Bhavnani about the experience that a survivor of sexual harassment goes through, being victim-blamed and judged for her appearance. This performance provoked everyone to think about the stereotypes and preconceived notions about what is acceptable in our society and urged everyone to broaden their visions and be accepting of differences.
The second day of the campus was the kick-off for the Youth Design Innovation Challenge, a social incubator designed for the youth of Mumbai. The day began with a welcome address by Mr. James Fennell, Cultural Affairs Officer at U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai. The day consisted of 9 organisations showcasing their innovations to the participants. This was done with the aim of helping the youth understand the importance of defining a problem, knowing the target audience and then creating a solution. A group of youth part of the organisation MAVA- Men Against Violence and Abuse put up a play about harassment in public spaces and how we can stand up together against it.
Summary of all sessions
- How can cities be better designed for women and children?
The first panel discussion discussed the various issues that women and children face in a city from the perspectives of planning and designing a city. They spoke about the fact that planning a city was not gender based but more of a holistic process. Harshad Bhatia spoke about the importance of involving women in the planning of cities and that it is imperative to have equal number of men and women so points from both the points of view of men and women can be addressed. The panellists also spoke about the issue of housing that immigrant single women face due to society’s numerous restrictions. Then came the question of women’s safety being everyone’s issue and not just a woman’s issue. The panellists spoke about the importance of men being key stakeholders in creating safe spaces and not just assuming the role of protectors which perpetuates patriarchal dominance. The panel also brought up the idea of technology, a boon for women’s safety through apps but a curse if used for revenge porn or providing easy unlimited access to anybody. The panel ended with the question- “How smart are smart cities?” and that it was better to be safe than smart.
- How can we build Resilience and Inclusion in a City?
The second panel discussion revolved around ideating ways on building resilience and inclusion in a city. They spoke about the difficulties of the people living in slums due to congestion and the increased vulnerability they face when the slums turn into crime breeding spots. Each of the panellists emphasised the importance of taking the voices of people from all gender identities into consideration while planning a city for them. They spoke about the importance of create safe spaces for children to play and elderly to move around without the fear of harm or violence and creating community forums to give the decision-making power to the people and ensuring that women are involved in such forums since no one knows what women experience except they themselves. They also emphasised on the point that segregation is not the solution to end abuse and violence. The panellists talked about transforming institutions into gender-friendly spaces.
- Reimagining a city from a youth and gender perspective
The third panel discussion was based on the experiences of the youth of today of all genders of the city and how their passion, compassion and drive to make the world a better place was important to make cities more open minded and inclusive. The panellists shared their thoughts on the challenges that transpeople face in accessing public spaces and mentioned that privilege plays a big role in how a person accesses their city. Due to lack of conversations about gender, sex, safety and more people from LGBT communities do not feel free to live their life to the fullest. In search of such inclusive spaces, sometimes they have to move cities in order to have access to such communities where they feel safer and able to reach their potential. The importance of having economically empowered women, leading to holistic empowerment, was emphasized uponwhile also highlighting the significance of empathy, entrepreneurship and peer friendliness.The panellists appealed to the youth to share their ideas to join the process of making cities friendly and liveable for all.They also spoke about the importance of providing mentoring and mental health counselling especially for persons struggling with their sexualities. Sonal Giani stressed on the point that Mumbai needs to keep an equitable mind while going forward in order to create a space for the holistic empowerment of all.
- Innovation Lab 1 – Safe public spaces and transportation led by Safecity
Led by Supreet K Singh this innovation lab centred on creating awareness about the issue of harassment and violence that women face in public spaces. The bigger issue was that 80% of sexual assault is not reported due to various reasons thus causing the issue to be invisible. Most people experienced harassment in their own neighbourhood. Fear of such violence restricts people, especially women, from accessing spaces freely and fearlessly. Supreet shared about the Safecity web and mobile app which pins the location of the harassment while maintaining the anonymity of the user. The participants were asked to ideate on ways to increase bystander intervention and speak up about sexual violence.
- Ensuring streets are well lit
- Police patrols in the nights
- Using technology to pin down the safest and least safe streets in the city
- Displaying emergency numbers in public spaces that victims and by-standers can use to contact authorities for immediate help
- Forming volunteer groups in each area that can assist victims at the press of a button, part of safety apps
- Creating SOS apps
- Employing more women drivers and conductors in public transport
- Increasing awareness workshops on sex and gender in schools for young children
- Parents should minimise gender biases and stereotypes
- Innovation Lab 2 – Sexuality and disability in the city led by Point of View
Led by Nidhi Goyal and Srinidhi Raghavan this innovation lab focused on creating awareness about the experiences that people of different sexualities and disabilities face whilst living in a city which is actually a global problem. They spoke about how disabled people are often seen as a liability, not included in ‘society’ and are presumed to be asexual. They chose to dive into topics broadly related to people across three disabilities – deaf community, blind/vision impaired community and those who use wheelchair or crutches. They highlighted the fact it is a challenge to talk about sexuality when words like ‘law’, ‘sex’, ‘sexuality’ and ‘violence’ don’t exist in the Indian sign language. Through the use of 3D body models of the human anatomy the participants touched them to understand how blind people live and experience their world. This also brought out the issue that there are no low cost 3D body models to explain anatomy to those without sight. The participants were asked to ideate on how mobility and transport in Mumbai can be more easy and accessible to those with disabilities, especially those who use crutches and wheelchairs.
- To deal with the limited vocabulary of the sign language Group 1 suggested Pictionary, mimes, acts and plays (visual methods) ; A comprehensive curriculum on sexuality learning (sex education) at an early age .
- Group 2 talked about plastic ramps (recyclable plastics) which will be lightweight and easy to handle; detachable ramps for BEST buses and mobile crutches to deal with accessibility for people on wheelchairs.
- To deal with the cost issue of 3D body models Group 3 came up with compact models for accessibility which eco-friendly (made out of rubber or cloth models , wood models with cushion coverings , clay ), Sponsorships from CSRs, sex toy dealers and sanitary napkins corporations.
- Innovation Lab 3 – Safe spaces for children led by Magic Bus
Led by Preeti Dhingra this innovation lab focused on the experiences of children, especially those at risk, in the city. 30% of adolescents do not complete Grade 12 and 30% girls still get married before the age of 18. Preeti shared the importance of educating children along with soft skills with the aim of developing employable youth. It is important to provide a safe environment where child can participate in activities, learn from experiences and be mentored. This needs to be done by involving parents, school staff, local government and community organisations in the process in a way that is sustainable. The participants were asked to ideate on ways of designing and creating safe and sustainable spaces for children.
- Organising activities to engage children and develop their soft skills
- Ensuring that schools are safe spaces
- Monitoring of schools with CCTV cameras
- Ensuring parks, gardens, playground are well lit and are monitored by CCTV cameras
- Engaging neighbourhood communities to organise or supervise activities for their children to make it sustainable.
- Involving all stakeholders- communities, government, NGOs, schools to create a space for out-of-school children.
- Innovation Lab 4 – Impact of pop culture on gender led by Agents of Ishq
Led by Paromita Vohra this innovation lab focussed on creating awareness on what pop culture is and what it includes. Described as the most common denominator among people, pop culture is usually aimed at younger audiences and they find it relatable. Through examples of art, books, movies, music and advertisements, Paromita asked the participants to share their thoughts on each. Pop culture has generally been sexist, regressive and objectified women. But if the content of pop culture changes, it can have a positive impact on people. The participants were asked for ideas on creating a place that would make a city better for lovers.
The audience members were divided into groups and asked to create a place that would make the city a better place for lovers, these were the responses from the groups:
Group 1– Nature walls and café with Happy hours
Group 2– A garden with a study corner, fountain, karaoke, dance floor, flowers on one end and a beach on the other.
Group 3– A café that would have accommodation for old couples.
Group 4– A café with no inhibitions
The aim of the Innovation Lab was to break the taboo around sex, sexual desires and normalise such discussions in public spaces. This would gradually change people’s perception of pop culture too and make them more inclusive.
- Innovation Lab 5 – Creating cities for all led by Harish Iyer
Led by Harish Iyer, this innovation lab focused on the issues that people of different genders and sexualities face in accessing a city and the need to think of such access from an intersectional point of view. A city should be inclusive of all sections of society, especially those who are vulnerable and marginalised. Harish spoke about the importance of increasing awareness and sensitisation of all people with respect to LGBTIQ communities. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, Islamophobhia and the presence of hierarchy in marginalised communities was also discussed. With the aim of teaching empathy, the participants were asked to put themselves in the shoes of a person with a disability or from a marginalised group and to think of their pains and gains and find solutions to the issues they faced.
As an empathy exercise each group of 3 people was asked to choose and assume the identity of a person who is marginalised and excluded from society as their superhero. The superhero would make decisions whilst the other two members (sidekicks) were to identify problems. The takeaway was that we can never learn to be inclusive until we put ourselves in the shoes of a person who is excluded.
Group 1- Transwoman homeless
Feelings– would like to settle down, have more stability in life, wants to be accepted by society, might want to adopt a child, scared that society might isolate her child
Solution– society should be more inclusive and welcoming of different genders
Group 2– 6 year old girl from a red light area.
Feelings– seen a lot of violence, mother being beaten, growing up without a father. Felt confused and helpless for not being able to help her mother. Faced a lot of discrimination in school but better educated and informed so she can help her mother.
Solution– Should not separate the children of sex workers from their mothers and families. Should plan on making red light areas safe.
Group 3- Adivasi
Feelings– Feel discriminated and a lack of employment opportunities because others create fake certificates to use reservation quote. Feel judged for their food choices. Adivasis are assumed to be alcoholics because of their appearance- tattoos, clothing, attire etc and face stereotypes.
Solution-Stricter laws to identity fake certificates and thus create more of an equal ground. Acceptance and tolerance of people and their food choices even if different from ours. Create awareness about different ethnicities, cultures and treat everyone equally. Encourage feelings of love, care, empathy, acceptance and peaceful co-existence among people.
Group 4– Lesbian woman
Feelings– Cautious of other people, jealous that she cannot express her feelings of affection in public like a heterosexual couple could. Scared of marital rape if she is forced into a marriage.
Solution– Create awareness about sex and gender, encourage acceptance and equality among different people. Advocate for equality and abolishing Section 377.
Group 5– Man, 35 years old, hearing impaired works as a data analyst
Feelings– dislike being treated with pity because of disability, contradictory feelings of being normal and also applying for government aid due to disability.
Solutions– Learn to communicate with people with disabilities. Don’t treat them with pity or infantilise them but treat them equally. Don’t make people with disabilities feel bad about asking for government aid as it is their right.
- Innovation Lab 6 – Vulnerabilities experienced due to Urban environment challenges led by CERE
Led by Rashneh Pardiwala, this innovation lab focused on the importance of creating a city that is environmentally sustainable. CERE aims to improve the life of citizens of Mumbai by planting trees around the city but faces the issue of a lack of space as well as existing laws that are not enforced. A vital reason for this is because urban development has taken precedence over environmental conservation and it is imperative to strike a sustainable balance. The group also discussed the need to revitalise existing local gardens and parks that have become desolate due to no maintenance. The participants were asked to ideate ways on creating green spaces and finding avenues to support such endeavours.
- Speak to Bombay Parsi Panchayat about creating spaces for growing trees
- Revitalising and maintenance of existing parks, gardens and green spaces
- Speak to railway authorities if their land can be used for planting trees
- Green space can be increased through various alternative forums such as vertical and rooftop gardens, on top of moving automobiles such as autorickshaws, vertical garden around flyover/bridge columns.
- Landscaping projects need to proactively include planting native species as an integral part of planning.
- Planting native saplings must be adopted in public and commercial areas in the city.
- Saplings can also be planted on top of water treatment plants, premises of religious institutional areas, educational institution campuses, navy and army areas.
- Private stakeholders such as residential authorities, corporates, institutes, private trusts and think tanks can play a pivotal role by providing support. Additional support can be garnered from MMRDA, Municipal authorities, MLAs and religious institutes.
- A community movement to bring about a change can be critical in finding spaces and planting saplings.
- Furthermore, abandoned properties such as malls could be potentially used a site for planting.
- Create more awareness about the importance and necessity of planting native trees in urban areas. Lack of understanding may result in several negative impacts which the cities are already facing today.
- A major movement where the community members are engaged and become stakeholders can help make Mumbai city greener.
- Innovation Lab 7 – Engaging Citizens in the Urban Planning Process led by Plural
Led by Jasmine Saluja and Oormi Kapadia this innovation lab focused on urban planning that is mindful for gender mainstreaming with respect to various economic strata of people. This was explained with an example of their project located in Mumbai with Dharavi slum dwellers on negotiation aspirations based on different age groups and gender to create inclusive public spaces. The question of whether we are ready to transform Indian cities that are gender neutral was also raised and debated. Gender equality was considered a more relevant design parameter to make Indian cities inclusive. The participants were divided into groups to experience the process of participatory planning by portraying themselves as a defined social character rather than their own selves. This helped the audience to be more conscious, empathetic and involved toward the requirements of different stakeholders while designing spaces for an inclusive city.
Process –The participants were given two satellite images of specific urban precincts within Mumbai and asked to identifying types of public spaces and amenities required to make the common shared space more inclusive. They had to the build their moves and thought lines responding to lifestyles of defined social characters in those spaces on the basis of the given AEIOU framework.
Characters –10 year old ragpicker boy, police man, high ranked government officer, 25 year old woman pavement dweller, resident of a luxury apartment, a taxi driver etc.
Methodology– A – activity one does; E- environment one dwells in, I – Interaction it encounters, O – Objective to accomplish, U – Users roles and relationship.
Takeaways–Thinking of others needs from a physical, mental, socio-economic perspective without having prejudices. Understanding gender equality.
Using empathy and role-playing to understand different perspectives to plan an urban space that is inclusive.
- Innovation Lab 8 – Enhancing economic opportunities for women and transpeople led by Reboot Network
Led by Anupama Kapoor, the innovation lab focused on making employment opportunities more inclusive of different genders. It highlighted the importance of household work and how it needs to be considered as ‘work’ as not insignificant. On the same lines, women deserve more recognition, respect and independence. Under the garb if safety and protection, it is unfair that women do not have the access to night jobs that they might want. Anupama shared Reboot’s program called Equal Half which uplifts women and transpeople. The discussions also revolved around making workspaces safer, gender-equal, gender-friendly and allowing maternal as well as paternal leave equally.
– Making workspaces gender friendly. Ensuring an equal ratio of males and females in all workspaces.
– Women and transgenders should be given equal opportunities at all workspaces.
– The women and transgender safety websites and apps to be provided for easy access for the victim at the spot.
– Awareness among society to be accepting of all genders, difference between sex and gender
– Household work to be given societal importance.
– More recognition, more respect and more independence to women
– Engaging employees in gender equal conversations in workspaces through workshops and activities
– Paternal leave to be given equal importance as maternal leave.
– Women’s day to be celebrated by all the genders rather than only one section of the society.
12.Key outcomes of the UTC
With the aim of creating a space for open dialogue amongst stakeholders, the government, corporates, NGOs, citizens and youth, the UTC brought together different perspectives and ideas on to one platform. Some of the key outcomes that arose from the discussions and innovation labs are:-
- Inclusion of women in decision-making bodies
This was a common sentiment across all the panel discussions and innovation labs. No one other than women will know how women feel. Hence, it is imperative that women are included in all organisations and decision-making bodies and have a chance to share their opinions. Women from different sections of society need to be included in planning and designing in order to bring an intersectional point of view into urban planning. Women should be given equal participatory rights in the management system of the society as well as in a creating a gender-equal city. The perspectives, experiences, voices of women need to be included in the process of planning and implementation of urban spaces. “A recommendation can be made that ’50 percent of the Government should be women'” said Faye D’souza, journalist.
- Improve existing facilities instead of making additions
There already exists technology like CCTV cameras for monitoring of public spaces. Such technology must be used optimally. The cameras should actually be monitored and supervised. If errant behaviour is observed, the responsible authorities should follow up. Workspaces and organisations have policies against sexual harassment. These policies should be adhered to strictly in order to create an environment that is intolerant of harassment against anyone. Citizens agreed that complete CCTV coverage of their residences was better than living in fear and not being able to provide proof for any incident. Similarly, parks and gardens exist but due to lack of maintenance and upkeep such places turn desolate and unsafe. These places need to be revived and maintained. While taking in account the fact that children playing in a garden might hamper the safety of senior citizens, there were suggestions to set different timings for different age groups that would be suitable and convenient for each.
- Men should be stakeholders in all discussions and processes
Men should be involved in all processes. The safety of women is not just a woman’s issue. Be in the workplace, community, organisations, etc men should be involved in creating spaces that are free and inclusive of all. They can play a big role in raising children without gender biases. Men in charge of corporates can ensure zero-tolerance to sexual harassment and all-inclusive protection policies. Being in a position of power, it is also their responsibility to bring policies in to place that work for the safety of all.
- Creating Community forums
Each panel discussion brought out the fact that the opinions of citizens are important and must be valued when creating a space for them. The public should be involved in major decisions regarding the area which they live in. People can form community forms for the discussion of issues that affect them. Having a representative body can help take their grievances to higher levels of officials and authorities. Also, the focus needs to be moved from just ideating to also executing and implementing the solutions of the people. Rules that are decided must be followed by all. It is the people’s duty to maintain their public spaces. The onus of safety should not be just a governmental issue but a public and people’s issue. Community forums would encourage participation from all people in a society and increase representation at formal platforms.
- Create open and public spaces that are gender-equal
Many of the participants spoke about the need for spaces that are accessible to all like gardens, parks, libraries, that would be open to all genders, all ages and would be safe. Spaces like dhyanshalas, activity arenas would bring different sections of the society together promoting a spirit of community. It is important that these spaces be inclusive of all irrespective of socio-economic class or gender. Similarly, the internet is also a space that is equally important and should be safe and inclusive of all. It is also essential to create safe spaces for discussing mental health and therapy for all since such services are not always and accessible to minorities and marginalised sections of society. Sonal Giani, from Humsafar Trust, spoke about the importance of mentoring and mental health counselling especially for persons struggling with their sexualities.
- Creating forums for women
All the panellists were unanimous in their thoughts about the creation of forums for women. Pearl Tiwari said, “The women should collectivise.” 92% of women who are in the unorganised sectors should be brought together into the organised sector. Forums for women can help in their mutual development, economic empowerment, help the growth of peer friendliness, entrepreneurship and foster a spirit of empathy and unity amongst them. Acitivities organised by such forums of the women, for the women and by the women can lead to holistic empowerment. Representatives from these forums then have the backing and support in times of decision-making.
- Children’s development
Start teaching gender-equality, consent, inclusion at the school level to create generations of citizens who are respectful of each other, empathise with one another and care for the other’s safety. Involvement of all stakeholders is important in creating safe spaces for children in order for it to be sustainable. Each child must have an access to education, no matter what their socio-economic background and such educational institutions must be safe spaces to help them grow and reach their potential. Schools should include a comprehensive curriculum on gender and sex at an early age. This will help children be aware of their bodies, be more sensitive to others, encourage open dialogues on consent and sexualities. Teach children the importance of speaking up against any form of violence/abuse or harassment and No-Go-Tell. This could help reduce cases of Child Sexual Abuse and would discourage the trend of victim-blaming.
- For the disabled
To deal with the limited vocabulary of sign language, activities like acts, plays, mimes, Pictionary could help explain terms and expand the vocabulary. The teams also suggested the use of plastic ramps made from recyclable plastic, to be used as detachable ramps at bus stops. Being lightweight and easy to handle, detachable ramps and mobile crutches can increase ease of access for those who are disabled and those who use wheelchairs. 3D body models are not easily available to the public and are expensive. To deal with this issue, participants suggested creating compact models which are eco-friendly, made from rubber, cloth, wood, clay etc. They also suggested collaborations with Corporates, sex toy dealers and sanitay napkin corporations.
- Urban Planning
While planning and designing cities and urban spaces, special thought must be given to creating places for education. Factors such as cleanliness, sanitation, water supply must be given prime importance as well as the environment. Stronger regulations are needed for urban planning which must clarify rights, needs and wants of the people categorically. Mrs. Kashmira Mewawala commented, “There is a lack of good, hygienic and safe staying places for single women.” There should be more housing facilities for single women that are safe and economical. Harshad Bhatia, a senior urban planner and designer stated that “Planning should be integrated and not compartmentalised.” A city should be planned keeping the mind the interactions of the different sections of society like men, women, children, elders, transpeople etc but should not be based solely on separate sections of society. Large educational institutions and residential complexes must work toward developing in an ecologically sound manner.
13.Conclusion & way forward
The UTC was a platform for people from different sections of society to come together and ideate on ways of making the city they live in better. This became a possibility due to the participation of numerous organisations and individuals in sharing their work and innovations whilst presenting the difficulties they face, thus giving participants a baseline to begin working on. The UTC- Creating a Resilient and Inclusive City was based on 5 tracks- Gender, Safety, Environment, Mobility and Governance.
- Gender– The issues that emerged through the Campus were not just of patriarchal dominance and gender inequality but of seeing gender only as two binaries-men and women and not being inclusive of other genders. In one example Pearl Tiwari mentioned that stopping women from working late-night shifts or taking jobs that demanded late nights was a protectionist attitude that would further patriarchal dominance. Solutions need to be found to make the city safe for women at all times. Through the panel discussions and innovation labs, the question of creating a city for all- men, women, transpeople also came up. Much more needs to be done to create a city that is inclusive of all, provides services for all, is accepting of all and helps each one reach their potential without facing discrimination. Gender sensitisation was recommended for all educational institutions.
- Safety– Safety is an issue that not just women face. Men, women, transpeople, children, elders all face different types of harassment. The number of cases of child sexual abuse have been increasing every day. Sexual harassment, rapes, gangrapes in public spaces are seen in the news often. This causes fear in people, especially women, in accessing public spaces. Such fear is debilitating and limits their opportunities to education, employment, leisure and more. We find that sexual violence is highly under-reported. Without data the problem of sexual harassment remains invisible. With the help of data police, the government and other stakeholders can work together to make areas safer for all.
- Environment– There is much to be done for the city of Mumbai from the environmental perspective. Forested areas have reduced, there is largescale pollution, the number of trees being cut down has increased, there is water logging in the low-lying areas every year and the list goes on. In order to create a city that is sustainable as well as improve the lives of its citizens, special care has to be taken to plant trees, increase green areas, revitalise and maintain existing areas, conserve the environment and be more eco-friendly for the sake of all living beings.
- Mobility– Mobility is a big issue in a city like Mumbai which is over-populated. Many women face difficulties in travelling because of the lack of safety due to crowds, sexual harassment, bad street lighting, unsafe roads, unmonitored CCTV cameras and more. Segregation of transport can only help in the short term but solutions are needed for safer mobility in the long term. Mobility also needs to be more inclusive of those who are disabled and of different genders as their needs are often forgotten when planning transport and infrastructure.
- Governance– In terms of governance, most opined that it is necessary to create forums for women as well as communities to increase the participation of the people. This would also increase representation of the people’s issues in decision-making bodies. Women must be included in all decision-making bodies as they represent 50% of the population.
- On the basis of the UTC outcomes, what are your recommendations to NationalGovernments and other Stakeholders, including local and sub national governments, in order to effectively contribute to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda ?
List of key speakers
Mrs. Madeleine Sandstedt-Kjellberger, Swedish Consul General Mumbai, Sweden, Swedish
Mrs. Kashmira Mewawala, Tata Capital, India, Indian
Mr. James Fennell, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai, USA, American
Nappinai NS, Nappinai NS Advocates,
Sia Nowrojee, UN Foundation,
Shalaka Joshi, International Finance Corporation,
Supreet K Singh, Safecity,
Nidhi Goyal, Point of View,
Preeti Dhingra, Magic Bus,
Paromita Vohra, Agents of Ishq,
Faye D’Souza, Mirror Now,
Anju Pandey, UN Women,
Pearl Tiwari, Ambuja Cement Foundation,
Brijesh Singh, Indian Police Service,
Rashneh Pardiwala, CERE,
Jasmine Saluja, Plural
Oormi Kapadia, Plural,
Anupama Kapoor, Reboot Network,
ElsaMarie D’Silva, Safecity,
Richa Pant, L&T Finance,
Nirmika Singh, Rolling Stone-India,
Ayushi Banerji, The Gender Lab,
Hemant, PVR Nest,
Premila Martis, Urban Leaves,
Nidhi Goyal, Point of View,
Priyanka Sharma, Praja,
Ruben Mascarenhas, Litmus Test Project,
Sanjay Shivdas, Suzlon Foundation,
Shalini Sharma, RECP net,
Runa Ray, Runa Ray Sustainable Fashion,
Shalini Thackeray, Be Happy,
1 comment on “Urban Thinkers Campus 2018 Final Report – Creating a Resilient and Inclusive City”
Great to hear that….alot more to come….keep it up guys!
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