Group brings equal­ity to city’s plan­ning

East and Bays Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - ADAM JA­COB­SON

A group of women are aim­ing to bring gen­der equal­ity to Auck­land’s city plan­ning.

Es­tab­lished in June Women in Ur­ban­ism (WIU) boasts more than 500 mem­bers on its Face­book page and is pre­par­ing a hui later this month to fi­nalise the group’s di­rec­tion and de­cide whether to reg­is­ter as a com­pany.

The group cur­rently has two key fo­cuses. The first is cam­paign­ing for women’s is­sues around the fu­ture plan­ning of Auck­land city, such as more street light­ing and bet­ter spa­ces for women.

The sec­ond seeks to move more women into se­nior lead­er­ship roles in ur­ban­ism in­dus­tries, like trans­port plan­ning and civic de­sign.

Mrcagney de­signer and Mt Eden res­i­dent Emma Mcinnes said WIU was formed after notic­ing a lack of women par­tic­i­pat­ing in ur­ban­ism in­dus­try gath­er­ings.

‘‘We de­cided to have drinks just for women, and sud­denly there they all were, and they wanted to be a part of this con­ver­sa­tion,’’ Mcinnes said.

How­ever, WIU was not ex­clu­sively for women in the in­dus­try, as any­one who self-iden­ti­fied as a women and cared about the city could join, she said.

Cur­rently women’s concerns tended to be ig­nored as many of Auck­land’s de­sign­ers, en­gi­neers and de­vel­op­ers were men, and thus the city was be­ing de­signed around ser­vic­ing them, she said.

‘‘We just want to have more peo­ple de­sign­ing for the di­verse needs of Auck­lan­ders, and we don’t think we can get that if we only have a very small per­cent­age of our pop­u­la­tion de­sign­ing for the rest of our pop­u­la­tion.’’

One key is­sue which WIU wished to tackle was that of women be­ing iso­lated due to ur­ban sprawl was, she said.

As they tended to stay at home with their chil­dren, it was com­mon for women in far flung sub­urbs to be bound by their cars, with few op­tions in ameni­ties and lit­tle trans­port choice at their dis­posal, she said.

‘‘We are try­ing to im­prove the lives of women all across the spec­trum, but we’re think­ing about how we de­sign bet­ter ur­ban out­comes for ev­ery­one,’’ she said.

Auck­land Coun­cil ur­ban strate­gist Natalie Donze said WIU pro­vided a place for women within the in­dus­try to get to­gether and talk about their ex­pe­ri­ences.

‘‘It gives women the op­por­tu­nity to find men­tor­ship from those who have bro­ken the glass ceil­ing,’’ Donze said.

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