Nov 21 Qs

Pre-meeting Qs from students for the Nov 21 class meeting

Overarching questions

From our readings this week, specifically on Vienna and Inclusive Cities, it is my understanding that gender mainstreaming cities and creating inclusive cities center around the fact that all people experience their city differently because of differing class, ethnicity, age, and other factors but especially gender. Vienna has become a model city for gender mainstreaming by including men and women equally in the decision making and planning processes of the city and its services. These physical and structural changes to urban planning are essential strategies to making cities inclusive and equally accessible to all genders. However, women’s feelings of insecurity and danger in cities, which make cities inaccessible to her, are largely the result of patriarchal societal norms that make violence against women ok. I believe that both elements of urban planning and challenging societal norms must be addressed simultaneously so as to achieve greater social change. So my question is how do you incorporate both? And how do you demonstrate success in changing societal attitudes which perpetuate violence?

In the Khosla & Dhars and Inclusive Cities website reading, they discuss how neo-liberalism reshapes our urban spatial planning by zoning residential areas based off of wealth and class, therefore displacing poorer neighbourhoods and communities. How has/hasn’t the young city of Vancouver experienced and been affected by this? How does our experience differ from those in older cities such as Toronto or Halifax?

On Khosla, “Vienna, Austria: A model city for gender mainstreaming”

In Kholsa’s article we read about gender mainstreaming, the benefits of gender mainstreaming are presented, however are there any disadvantages that can come with gender mainstreaming? It may provide a pluralistic approach, however can addressing women’s safety issues separate from men’s lead to gender inequality?

After reviewing and reading A Model City for Gender Mainstreaming, I recognized the many things we have learnt this past semester regarding gender. Vienna’s step in regards to gender mainstreaming further illustrates the development a city is taking to ensure safety and daily needs of women. For example lighting in areas that were previously poorly lit, reconstruction of parks and pedestrian friendly designs. Another strong and surprising factor that caught my attention was the inclusion of male figures in the initiatives and objectives Vienna considered to be implemented in their city. I wonder why don’t more countries and cities across the world take into consideration the initiatives Vienna has set forth targeting gender mainstreaming? The organization and important aspects are more than looked upon and provide assistance to both the male and female population.

On InclusiveCities.org

In regards to the gender inclusive project we learn about how urban poverty is addressed by supporting and building the capacity of membership-based organizations of the working poor. What projects do we see in Vancouver in regards to supporting individuals who face poverty? Specifically, what is happening in regards to poverty in the downtown eastside? What projects can be implemented?

On Shaw, “How do we evaluate the safety of women?”

Last week, with the LOVE group presentation, we quickly discussed issues around funding. Shaw (2012) argues that for many organizations, funding is dependent on them meeting the expectations of donors. How does this pose a problem to the ways in which an organization operates? Why are these expectations problematic? What does Shaw (2012) propose in order to evaluate policies and change?

On Khosla and Dhar, “Safe access to basic infrastructure”

This was the first time that I have learned about “the World Social Forums” and about “United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) (p. 118).  With regard to the UCLG and “the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights to the City”, Khosla and Dhar make it clear that “[i]t remains to be seen how the implementation of the rights framework by local governments can bridge the divided city, especially in terms of the rights of the urban poor to a healthy living environment” (p. 118). Thus, I’d be really interested in learning more about this specific Charter and organization in the future, because right now, in addition to the issues the authors also raise “about […] the rights framework” on page 119, I too am worried that it has the potential to be very one-sided (i.e. representative of just the governments) and not fully inclusive of the individuals who are actually being affected by poverty;  essentially, I am worried that this organization may be too hierarchical. It would be great if those of you who know more about the UCLG and the way it functions can share your insights with the rest of us!

In this research project, entitled Action Research Project on Women’s Rights and Access to Water and Sanitation in Asia Cities, the main problem in the rural area and urban area was access to water and gentrification. What can be done to protect women from being evicted and maintain their right to live in the city with dignity? What water supply system could be used to eliminate water crisis in these area.

In the text it states; “Globally, urbanization under neo-liberalism has created divided cities, in geographical terms as well as socially, politically, culturally and economically, with greater inequalities between richer and poorer residents. Cities have become polarized, with wealthy neighbourhoods of exclusive and gated communities, shopping malls and entertainment complexes on the one hand, and, on the other, the exclusion by eviction and displacement of poorer residents and their communities to the periphery of the city. Under these conditions, ideals of urban identity, citizenship and belonging become much harder to sustain (Harvey, 2008, p. 32).” When taking this into consideration, do you think that we live in a similar predicament (to a certain extent obviously)?

On Bauriedl, “Still Gender Trouble…”

Bauriedl’s essay on the development of German feminist geography within the academy highlights a question that we have addressed throughout the course, namely, how useful is ‘gender’ as an analytical category? On the one hand, feminists have defended gender categories on the basis of political and emancipatory considerations. Yet others have argued that “feminist geography is no longer just an emancipatory project; it is also a project of understanding social and cultural diversity and diverse realities” (Bauriedl, p.137). As Bauriedl points out, there is still resistance to complicating gendered categories in empirical research to date. What are the implications of a) using gender as an analytical category and/or b) deconstructing gendered categories in feminist research?

Looking at the three strategies Bauriedl discusses as ways that facilitate the establishment of feminisms in geography, how do these intersect and impact one another? Specifically how do the first two impact the third one, which discusses positioning feminist geography within mainstream geography?

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2 thoughts on “Nov 21 Qs

  1. Hi Tiffany.

    RE: Current thoughts and feedback

    Reflecting after today’s class and facilitation I want to share with you how I seriously enjoy participating in this GSWS 333 course. Compared to my other classes and not to put down my other GSWS courses because that is not the purpose for this email I feel, in this course, I have learned a great amount of knowledge about Feminist Geographies. I had not known any feminist geography prior to this course despite taking an intro geography courses at Kwantlen and Langara. This course makes me realize concepts and terminology what may seem like minor things to some people. However by having aha! light bulb moments, I raise my consciousness to questions things that I had not necessarily thought of before. Obviously, if I was not aware of the information there isn’t the likely hood I would have thought about it!! The way the material in our class has been prepared for by you and by my fellow classmates to have small group/classroom discussions and debates with multiple viewpoints. Also the creative crafty peer seminar sessions are a great way to interpret weekly themed readings, to present material, to be in conversation with and to look in depth of issues at hand. Overall this class is a valuable insight and a positive experience. I hope my future GSWS classes have this much flair and passion.

    Thank you,

    Balbina

    • Dear Balbina,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback! I’m so glad that you’ve found the course content and format compelling. A good deal of credit must go to you and your classmates for great participation and an engaged classroom atmosphere, which has made discussion rich and lively. So thanks to all of you, too!

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