Among the different perspectives that are applied to urban regeneration processes, the gender perspective has not traditionally occupied a prominent place. However, a close analysis can provide many clues about the implications of the urban environment for gender inequality.
Sonia De Gregorio, a researcher at the Department of Urban and Territorial Planning at the Higher Technical School of Architecture of Madrid, has carried out an exhaustive study on the gender perspective in urban regeneration within the scope of the Basque Urban Agenda, called Bultzatu 2050. It is available here (in Spanish).
One of the fixed objectives of this work, commissioned by the Basque Government’s Directorate of Territorial Planning and Urban Agenda, is «to guide those potentially involved in urban regeneration programmes in the Basque Country so that they give rise to strategies that are characterised by an integrated approach with a gender perspective.» In this way it aims, on one hand, to «advance the definition of urban regeneration strategies to incorporate the gender perspective (with a demonstrative capacity that can be transferred to other projects)», and on the other hand, to «promote and consolidate the change of values necessary for equality.»
The work calls for «the reality and needs of women to be taken into account in the framework of regeneration strategies.» Participation amongst vulnerable neighbourhoods and calls, amongst other issues, is needed to take the gender perspective into account and listen to all social groups’ voices, especially women.
Sonia De Gregorio, with the collaboration of staff from the Urban Regeneration Service of the Basque Government Directorate, provides guidelines for defining strategies that establish indicators to «measure» how the actions are implemented to respond to the needs of women.
The researcher has established three transversal axes: the Territorial Planning Guidelines of the Basque Country: gender, climate, and urban health.
Why should this gender perspective be applied to urban regeneration? The key lies in «the transformative capacity that regeneration policy has», which should be used «to advance equality between men and women as a priority for action.»
De Gregorio provides ideas for taking the gender perspective into account in matters that may substantially modify the current model, although they may seem small. Some actions improve, for example, the daily life of the people who do care work (mostly women).
Possible improvements in public space are also defined from the point of view of «walkability», by making it friendlier and more attractive for walking. This also applies to the perspective of «perceived safety» as well as «re-naturalisation and climatic comfort.»
As part of this work, a test has been carried out in the Otxarkoaga neighbourhood, with a diagnosis and a proposal for a pilot intervention to implement a series of actions aimed at integrating the gender perspective in the urban regeneration of the Bilbao neighbourhood.