Participatory workshops: Women Visible in the city

In the framework of the action “Women Visible in the city” we visited the city of Agios Dimitrios and conducted 3 participatory workshops on experiential mapping. Together with residents and members of the Municipality of Agios Dimitrios, we put on the “gender glasses”. We walked around neighborhoods, assessed the changes that have already been made in the public space, and documented the needs that exist to make the city safer for all people.

The sense of safety and the possibility of accessibility emerged as two of the biggest deficits that women and femininities face when walking around the city. Women’s mobility differs from that of men, with the result that femininities become invisible in the city, within their own neighborhoods. The exploratory walks highlighted a shared experience with common concerns, which led to the mapping of the city of Agios Dimitrios and the (re)evaluation of the public space. Thus, through an inclusive and participatory process, reflections and suggestions were made to improve the precarious places of the city, so that the public space could be more friendly to women, girls, and femininities.

 “I don’t want to keep feeling like this!”

During the action:

  • We adapted our methodology and tools for participatory mapping of the city through exploratory walks with participants from a gender perspective. The methodology we used was that of participatory research, a bottom-up approach where participants take the role of researchers.
  • We implemented 3 experiential workshops, in which participants were familiarised with theories and tools for evaluating public space from a gender perspective, followed by two exploratory walks (one in the afternoon and one in the evening).
  • We created a collective map with the problems identified by the participants for the neighborhoods of the municipality of Agios Dimitrios, as well as suggestions for their solutions.
  • We collected the observations and conclusions of the workshops and designed the map of the area in the form of a report, which includes all of the above. Finally, we forwarded the report to the Municipality of Agios Dimitrios in order to take further action in the specific areas we studied.

The new urban redevelopments were positively characterized by the participants and seemed to enhance the feeling of comfort and safety of the residents at the neighborhood level. However, there are still issues of safety, accessibility, and lack of urban amenities that remain to be addressed. 

With our final event (March 2023) at the Agios Dimitrios Town Hall, we closed the cycle of the pilot implementation of the action “Women Visible in the city”. We presented the results of the project together with the video created from the workshops we conducted within the project, exchanged views, and discussed with municipal authorities and residents of the municipality or neighboring municipalities how the needs of femininities can be taken into account in a more inclusive (re)planning of the city, friendly to all people.

Our aim is to implement similar actions in more neighborhoods, municipalities, and cities in Greece, in order to highlight the needs, desires, and obstacles that women and other vulnerable social groups face in the city. By highlighting these and through participatory research in collaboration with participants and local stakeholders, we can co-design urban interventions for cities that are more inclusive and welcoming to all.

Location: Municipality of Agios Dimitrios (Athens Metropolitan Area)

Period: December 2022 – March 2023

Participants: 30 participants (mainly residents)

The project was implemented in collaboration with the Municipality of Agios Dimitrios, the Municipal Committee for Gender Equality – DEPIS Agios Dimitrios, and ActionAid Hellas