Can we design out sexual violence from our towns?

Safe Streets LLDC 2

In the latest for our Building [Re]Design series, Pam Alexander outlines how digital tools can help designers and placemakers create safer streets and parks

The murders of Sabina Nessa, Sarah Everard and the too many other women killed by men over the last year have focused public attention on male violence and harassment of women on the streets and in public places. More, women of all ages have been vocal in expressing their demands for a better culture and environment that suits their needs and disperses their fears.

Horrifying though it has been, there’s nothing new about this “epidemic” which goes from unwanted jokes and attention to physical abuse and harm. Nearly all of us have experienced at least one aspect of it. #MeToo.

What’s new is a generation of women determined and empowered to make it a thing of the past – and a significant number of male allies, essential to keep this conversation moving forward and create a trust that does not exist. Because what’s also new is a focus on the need to change a prevailing attitude of accepted disrespect that creates the lack of comfort and safety: “It’s not all men but it is all women”.

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