In 2018, KDI partnered with the World Bank and Argentine Ministry of Interior to understand how informal settlements, and public spaces within them, can be designed to work better for women and girls. We engaged women in La Favorita, Mendoza, to develop a series of reports on gender and the informal urban realm.
Cities around the world have been largely designed by upper-class, able-bodied men - who have not necessarily considered the needs of those not like them.
The effects are particularly pronounced in informal settlements, where poor mobility infrastructure, overcrowded transit, inadequate lighting, and lack sanitation facilities impinge on mobility, health, and safety for women and girls.
Working alongside officials from the City of Mendoza, local community groups, and other stakeholders, KDI facilitated sensitization activities, walk audits, and “day in the life” tours to understand how the built environment affects local women’s lives.
The women then developed concept plans for a particular plaza that would better meet their needs.
The concept plans featured better lighting, pavements, crosswalks, seating, and programming to improve women’s safety and mobility.
They formed the basis for a studio at Harvard Graduate School of Design and will inform upgrades implemented by the City of Mendoza. KDI also developed a literature review, methodology toolkit, and diagnostic report.
The project highlighted the need to include women and marginalized groups in design processes to make cities work better for them.
In addition to the improvements implemented in La Favorita as a result of the project, the reports will help the Argentine government carry out community-engaged, gender-informed planning and design projects across the country.