Organisations from across the UK property industry have issued a letter to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, emphasising the need for national planning policy to address the lack of consideration for women and girls – including both cisgender and transgender women and girls – when creating public spaces across the UK.
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… Designing inclusive and equitable public spaces for women and girls is not just a matter of safety…
18 organisations, including Willmott Dixon, L&Q and Gleeds, are speaking out after the most recent NPPF consultation included only one gender-related question, which grouped women in with all other vulnerable groups and focused entirely on safety in public spaces. The release of the Government’s finalised revisions to the NPPF has been delayed but is now expected to be released this Autumn.
In the letter, industry figures are urging the Government to focus on “designing and delivering public spaces that are fun and judgement-free” for women and girls specifically, adding that the Government should “ensure gender mainstreaming is integrated into all planning policy” and that policymakers take account of “women’s interests and concerns to create a more equitable landscape”.
Gender mainstreaming policies have been integrated successfully into planning systems in cities like Vienna and Barcelona, whilst Glasgow City Council has voted unanimously in favour of putting women at the heart of urban planning.
The UK has the potential to become a world leader in nationwide gender-inclusive planning, paving a path to a future where every individual, regardless of their gender, is afforded equal opportunities to thrive. However, this relies on Government taking the lead by setting policy expectations.
Stephen Bell, Chief Executive, said:
“Designing inclusive and equitable public spaces for women and girls is not just a matter of safety; it is about creating a system that listens to and embraces the diverse needs and experiences of women and girls. We must create a system that guarantees them full equity in the public realm, allowing them to live their lives freely and fulfil their potential.
“Over the last decade, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has been instrumental in aligning planning policies with our wider economic, social, and environmental goals. Now, the NPPF can become a catalyst for further transformative change by tackling head-on the gender bias against women across our built environment.
“By integrating gender mainstreaming and ensuring proper consultation with women and girls throughout the planning process, we can help reshape a built environment that welcomes and empowers all genders. We encourage Government to seize the moment in creating a national gender-inclusive planning system that sets a new standard for equality and inclusivity across the globe.”