Digital Toolbox for Sustainable, Equal and Inclusive Cities

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hello and welcome to another arc daily


today we celebrate the launch of her

city a platform that involves girls in

urban development

in order to make better cities for

everyone training the tables and putting

girls in the expert position

this digital toolbox aims to create more

inclusive equal and sustainable cities

and communities

the initiative makes methods and tools

available to urban actors globally

in order to support cities and

integrating careers participation in

their long-term strategies

and to talk about it i have here with me

today part of the team behind this

digital toolbox for inclusive urban


from new and habitat we have chiara

martinez the architect and urban planner

at the global public space program

and krista lahood program management

officer hi girls

hi and from the swedish independent

think tank global utman inc we have with


julian project manager hi topham hi

hi okay so these ladies were all

responsible for coordinating the

development of the platform

my name is kisa haru i’m an architect

and i’m a designer and a managing editor

of arc daily and i will be leading this

panel today

so how is everyone doing we’re good

i’m very excited to have you here so

let’s just

jump right into it and let’s talk about

the team so

can you start introducing yourselves and

tell us briefly about your contribution

to the project

toby tell me yeah uh

like you said my name is tobia lin and i

work at the independent think tank the

wallet running

and i was there

in the beginning before we started the

hair city toolbox with another project

called urban gas movement that then

grew and became their city toolbox and

in this

during this period i’ve been working

with messaging a lot and also taking

care of the stakeholder engagement

parts of the toolbox you could say

and the girls from the inhabitants

can you tell us about your contribution


yeah maybe i’ll just jump into it so

yeah my name is kyrgyzstan i work for

unhabitat for the past

five years and i’m one of the co-needing


people in diversity project i was part

of setting up

uh like i was part of of the team that

set up the project

uh the national team that met in

stockholm to define the project

its objective uh to outline the process

and which digital tools

uh was needed to be included so happy to

be here

i really hope your mic works can you

hear me now

yes we can yeah

so i’m kiara again as you said and i

also i’ve been engaged in the

hair city project since uh since the


collaboration with global mining has

started so after the pilot project

in sweden and i’m i also have a

background in architecture and urban

design so i’m mostly supporting

on the design components and uh how to

integrate the

participatory parts uh into actual

into the actual process interesting

so toby can you tell us a bit how did

the project start

and can tell us the backstory of it yes


we mentioned it a bit just now that her

city is actually a result

in some way from the urban girls

movement that was launched

2017 and in 2017 we started with a

global mapping of

efficient methods and tools to

contribute to increasing quality and

inclusion in urban development and so

the ambition was really to highlight the

values of increasingly evolving women

and girls in urban development processes

and their results from that mapping was

then implemented

in the swedish municipality of buchike

and that was called the urban girls


so they would test the hypothesis plan a

city for girls and it would work for


so after the butcher get pilot we wanted

to share the methodology

with everyone and we saw a need for

the digital tools and to do this sharing

so we

came together with you in habitat and

compiled the digital toolbox

that is now her city so now we’re

working on implementing it globally so

in a nutshell you can say that it’s

global knowledge tested in a swedish


and then share it again globally


um so i would like to ask kiara who are

the main stakeholders

and actually who can benefit from this

platform from her city

i think the idea behind her city is that


we are targeting everyone that actually

wants to make a change and they want to

see a change in their cities

so we are really focusing on local


but uh but we actually also really wants


uh empower girls and uh community


so uh from let’s say the higher level of

  Architecture Is A Medium That Can Make A Difference

the stakeholders uh uh

up to the up to the ground let’s say

and um but also especially including

professionals and all the urban actors

that are related to urban planning and

urban design and the the block one

in in a way it’s one of the first

uh one of the first steps and aims to

select which are which are the

stakeholders that are the more

important for your context and helps to


what are all the people that you should

be uh partnering with to

to make uh to make the best of it and uh

as i said like the primary group the

person the the

people that we actually focus the most

is is the girls so trying to

involve those active and young

women and girls that really wants to uh

make an impact in their community but

then also of course

uh we need the support and the expertise

of the professionals the architects the

urban planners

and in the local governments and the

public institutions that are the

facilitators of that

basically it takes a village

so kiara and christelle both of your

work um you are part of the global

public space program and we’ve been

covering your work for a while here on

arc daily

can you tell us from your experience of

working with people why is it important

to have a platform like her city

like how would you evaluate for example

the participation of women

prior to this tool yeah so

uh thanks for step so we’ve been working

for years to support local governments

to mainstream gender and have effective

participation in their cities

but what we often realize is that in

many parts of the world

women and girls are brought into the


only at certain phases of the of the

project so they’re not really part of

the overarching city discussions

they’re invited either to just like be

uh giving ideas at a certain moment

or just saying their needs at another


or just be consulted in a way so in some

sort of way they’re considered as a


participants rather than active

participants so

this is what where her city tour box


to place to make them the need make them

the expert

in this process the tables are turned uh

they become more empowered they are

actively participating in shaping their

future environment through the use of

the certain tools which proven to be


much needed during the pandemic as well

uh they’re not only expressing their


you know at the cern at a certain

finance projects but they’re having a

discussion more at the

city scan you know also influencing

strategies at the city scan and this is

how changes can

can be seen when you start the

discussion as when not just on a finance

project but you know you up scan it to

the city and you

and you give them the opportunity to uh

you know visualize their idea to express

their how to change their environment uh

and how to put

their um you know needs into into action

so they’re becoming the urban planner

and the architect at the end of the day

through the her city toolbox and this

becomes like a mainstream thing like all

cities start integrating

all these girls like from the start and

it’s not something that they would have

to do it just becomes

part of the whole process right exactly

okay so we know that all those cities

are supposed to be built for everyone

they are

most of the time thought planned and

designed by man

so tove how would you define an

inclusive urban planning

and can you tell me a bit more how is

her city contributing to

pushing forward these ideas of


yeah i think that crystal really

mentioned it in her answer

before because it’s all about involving

vulnerable groups in the process of

urban planning

and not only thinking about the the

built city and the big public space

as an end product but also involving

vulnerable groups

rather it be women and young young women


and girls that we’re working with or

migrants or people with disabilities or

whichever group and these groups have to

be able to

define their own needs and implement it

in the urban planning processes

for city to actually become inclusive

maybe just to add like there’s i mean

there is no

wrong way of having men designing cities

as long as they include the the right

groups in the planning

uh you know it doesn’t it doesn’t have

to be that we’re advocating only for few

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main architects at the end of the day

that’s not the issue we want men to be

part of the discussion

if men not are not on board we’re not

going to have her city

this is the reality of many contact in

many contexts around the world so

it’s really the importance about the

whole life life cycle of the project and

who’s included and who’s given the voice

to actually

transform those cities

yeah so it’s more about diversity and

my question for you kyra is if given the

chances obviously girls will plan and

design with different needs in mind

and what you think are the components or

the ideas

that you might notice more in a female

designed city and do you think that

there are some global concerns brought

to the table by women from all around

the world yeah uh

so i mean we’ve been working in

different contexts and uh

it’s interesting to see that actually

there are some

common grounds in the needs of the girls

and i mean women around the world

experience the public space in a

completely different way from a man

because they have to face different

challenges uh

that are uh not taken for granted

well they are taken for granted for men

let’s say which is

freedom of use for instance or or safety


representation like women don’t feel uh

safe the most of the time to walk around

the city

in the night or in certain areas of the

public space

or they don’t feel like free

to use the public space or spend the

time they want to spend

in a public space because there are

certain uh silent

rules or invisible rules that are not

supposed to

be there but like what is interesting of

the women mind that somehow is not only

it’s a person he’s an individual it’s an

adult but it’s also a worker

he’s also a mother is also a friend so

they she really i think has

a comprehensive way of what are the

needs of a girl and but not only a girl

so she thinks about what what’s lighten

she thinks about lightning she thinks

about having a safe

space to that can see their children


she sees she needs

ramps to access to increase

accessibility for

children and strollers but uh therefore

becomes social sensibility for

wheelchairs users and she needs

uh toilets public toilets because uh i

mean we’re women and uh

as as women we need it the most but uh

finally it’s a basic need for everybody

and um yeah and then she needs to

to enjoy the the public life as well so

she wants to meet the friends

in a nice place and uh with uh with some


that uh provides shades and so on and so

forth i mean there are so many literal

aspects that uh

women i think women are really able to


uh what are the basic needs that finally

reflects to

the basic needs of the old society true


just like he said with basic different

needs men and women expect different


from their urban surroundings going back

to the platform right now

so um from what i’ve seen the process

seems pretty simple can you walk us

through the different phases

yeah absolutely so the toolbox is built


nine very flexible blocks and they’re

divided into three phases

so first you have the assessment phase

it’s where you start with the

stakeholder mapping that kristen

mentioned earlier

just to make sure that all the right

people are invited to partake in the


and both stakeholders and target groups

and then you continue with a

city-wide assessment and a site-specific

public assessment

so you locate the public space that you

will work in

and that is in most native action and


in phase two we have the design phase

and that’s where you analyze the


detected during the assessment phase so

you design

solutions for the public space

and this is where you find the block by

block minecraft workshop

and for instance and other design

thinking tools such as

method kit just to mention one and you

also prioritize among these ideas and

formulate recommendations for action

and and this is all done together with

the stakeholders and

and the girls and the third phase is

implementation so you work with them


some plans and implementation of the

solutions you start construction

and you also share results with the

community at large

and then after six months or so you also

do a follow-up and evaluation of the


so that’s it

simple i would say quite simple yeah

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nine bucks

very yeah we tried to think of

everything so it’s quite comprehensive

even though it’s um very like clear what

to do

and who can actually access this toolbox


who should lead the process i would ask


uh you have uh the the website is pretty

straightforward so you have a general

overview of the entire process

then you have a registry uh option when


can create your own account whether you

are the project team

who is leading like who’s fascinated i

think the whole process

you would create the her city let’s say

nairobi or her city beirut or her city


and then you would invite also the girls

to be uh

to register as one and log in in order

to put their data

or their information throughout the life

cycle of the

of the process so it’s pretty much open

for everyone we do support in some cases

some cities that want to collaborate

directly with us but

again it is a free of use it is open

source so anyone could log in anyone can

start your city today

basically to know that it’s an open


and what are the cities that are already

on the platform

and how has been the experience so far

um so let’s say that the idea of the

project in general right now is to

uh implement the platform and try and

like pilot it

uh in three different cities and

right now we have on board the

johannesburg municipality

and uh beirut and fleming

fleming ferry in uh sweden

and then a few cities in palestine that

are also

uh trying out uh the toolbox the

different tools and see how it

uh how it’s working and after after this


after this phase we will review the

toolbox and see how

how what to change and how to make it

better and better

but again i want to just echo the idea

that um

the platform is free and open source so

everybody can just log in and start


her city now and um make uh

incre increase the participation of uh

girls and young women

in in any urban planning process so it’s


uh yeah this is quite uh interesting for

us as well

and um yeah and uh the idea is also that

uh later on we will have some

original uh training so that

we can also try to uh tailor even better


the the service that we are providing uh

for different contexts and different


so finally what are the main sdgs at

stake here and how does this open

platform contribute to the 2030 agenda

yeah so there’s many sdgs that we are

contributing to

uh by doing the her city process the

overarching one would be the sdg 11

on sustainable cities and communities

especially the target 7 which is

providing accessible safe inclusive and

green public spaces for everyone

in particular women and children there’s

sdg5 on gender equality so making sure

all groups are included

in the discussion and shaping their

cities there’s the sdg

3 on hands and wellbeing by providing

more clean

and safe spaces that are enjoyable by


not to mention also sdg10 reducing


so we’re providing more equal


uh to access different basic services at

the city level

and finally as the g7 on partnerships

through the her city project

we were like uh forming partnership and


between different entities at the

different level of the city

so with strong partnership we strengthen

means of implementation and maintenance

but more importantly we ensure

upscaling uh so in a nutshell those are

like the main ones but at the nokia

level it’s also contributing to a wider

um wider contribution yeah

like you already named like a bunch of

scg sdgs if not like most of them so

i think this open platform is a great uh


to cities uh worldwide uh kyaratov

and krista thank you for sharing your

thoughts and for explaining to us more


the her city platform any last words you

want to share with our audience

no we welcome everyone to start their

her city today

they have a link in the article of

course everyone can log

in and start using her city it’s pretty

simple i tried it

and it’s very visually also

interesting i would say thank you


thank you thank you yourself thanks for

having us

thank you girls it was a pleasure having

you and talking with you