Faculty: Sahiba Gulati | Bhagyasshree Ramakrishna

TA: Mallika Gupta

Un-Gendering the Everyday City

In India, vehicle ownership usually lies with men, whether it is a car, a two-wheeler, or a bicycle, to say nothing of auto-rickshaws. Our cities, however, are imagined around the automobile. How do we imagine a city that recognises that half of its population does not own a vehicle? How do we imagine a city where half of the population is a woman? Through research conducted by various authors, ranging from Phadke, Ranade and Khan to Ayona Datta, and personal research, it is apparent that the street as a public space belongs more to a man than a woman.

According to Ayona Datta, women’s presence in the public street is legitimised by the production of her morality; according to Phadke, Khan and Ranade, women constantly exhibit their purpose to be in public space; they are never there without a reason. The city constantly legitimises domesticities for women, especially women from poor households. All of this limits their mobility, access to greater opportunities and their right to claim public spaces in the city. How then do you normalise the presence of a female in the city, and a growing female workforce?

How then do we re-imagine the street? And by re-imagining the street, how then do we re-imagine the city itself?

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Studio Unit

Un- Gendering the Everyday City

Stage 1: Mapping and Analysis. Students mapped sites at different scales, while recording gendered activity patterns in each. The scales were - a street from memory, their homes, and their neighborhood. The drawings were then analysed, and abstractions produced with respect to a specific set of learning outcomes at each different scale.

Stage 2: Socio-Spatial Analysis. Students began to organize their mapping and analysis into a concise narrative while producing a detailed repository of social behaviors that play out on the street and the spatial elements that enable them, with respect to women, especially of lower economic groups.

Visualisation and Concept. The student applied their learnings from previous exercises (of analysis and critical thinking), to the data provided to them for a common site in Delhi, to analyse the socio-spatial relationships on site and thus identify the problems that they will be solving through design. The students made collages to create a utopian vision for the city, and strategise their intent for un-gendering the street.

Stage 4: Design Development and Representation. The design thus emerges as a product analysis and ideation, represented using technically accurate drawings, analytical diagrams and rich perspectives. After designing, each student conducted a similar analysis on their proposed designs, in order to analyse their ability to successfully ‘un-gender’ the street.