Faculty: Sahiba Gulati

TA: Ratik Verma

Un-Gendering the Everyday City

A growing body of academic literature brings to fore the exclusion of women from the public realm which further translates into their absence from public debate, policy and action. In Indian cities where vehicular ownership usually lies with men, streets are imagined around automobiles, thus invariably assuming the ‘universal citizen’ client to be male, car driving, leisurely, able bodied and wealthy. It thus becomes apparent that the street as a public space belongs more to a man than a woman. This studio focused on mapping and analyzing the sociospatial practices of gendered bodies in order to establish the unique challenges they face of access, leisure and safety in the city. The students systematically translated the outcome of this analysis into a clearly articulated design strategy and detailed out design drawings in order to propose a solution that enables equal access to the city.

Studio Unit

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. 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 Mapping. The Modernist city of Chandigarh was chosen as a site for gendered mapping resulting in a feminist critique of the designed city.

Stage 3: Socio-Spatial Analysis. Students began to derive spatial information about urban public spaces that informs social behaviours and vice versa, creating a series of analysis diagrams and statements.

Stage 4: Design Conceptualisation, Development and Representation. What would an un-gendered city look like? What design issues would it tackle? Students undertook an array of visualisation exercises in order to identify the core purpose of their design. The student applied their learnings from previous exercises (of analysis and critical thinking) to device key strategies for an un-gendered design. The design thus emerges as a product of analysis and ideation, represented using technically accurate drawings, analytical diagrams and rich perspectives.

Stage 5: Post Design Analysis. After designing, each student had to evaluate their own work by making predicted movement and activity maps using socio-spatial information gathered earlier in the semester, in order to establish if their strategies were successful to some degree.