To provide equal access to public resources and spaces, urban design and policy needs to incorporate the needs of men and women equally—including considering the perceptions of safety that impact on women’s and men’s use of public spaces. WCHM received funding from the ACT Women’s Grants to undertake a project that aimed to create a digital mapping tool which will allow Canberrans to map out the routes that they take across the City. The project developed and tested an online tool which is aimed at assisting in understanding and responding to how different people use, experience and feel about places and spaces.
The reason this tool has been created is because perceptions of personal safety can influence the extent to which some people in the ACT use public places and spaces—preventing some people from fully participating in the community. Women and men use public spaces differently, and have different ideas about what makes them feel safe in those spaces. For example, while the physical environment does not cause violence against women having a fear of crime or violence can heavily influence a woman’s perception of safety, therefore affecting how she will make use of the public space.
If the aspects of these spaces which lead to women (and men) feeling unsafe are not removed, improved or addressed, then these members of the public may take their own action to stay safe, which mostly takes the form of avoiding these places. We believe this should not be the case
Visit and use the online mapping system by clicking the link below.