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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Urban Planet: Women in the Public Spaces of Mumbai

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Urban Planet is a daily roundup of blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

In Mumbai, a city of 13 million, at any given time of day you are likely to find more men on a street than women. Women here are considered to have the most independent lifestyle of any city in India, yet they rarely occupy public spaces. In their recent book, “Why Loiter? Women & Risk on Mumbai Streets”, sociologist Shilpa Phadke, architect Shilpa Ranade, and journalist Sameera Khan explore women’s relationship with public space in Mumbai. “Loitering [is] a fundamental act of claiming public space. [Women should be able to] loiter without purpose and meaning, loiter without being asked what time of the day it is, and why we are here.” To improve public space for women, the authors recommend improved street lighting, more public toilets for women, increasing the accessibility of parks and welcoming street vendors to increase the number of eyes on the street. (Metropolis Magazine)

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