Group brings equality to city’s planning
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.