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20 June 2024

Tools for inclusive co-creation - GID panel at The Nature of Cities Festival

Tools for inclusive co-creation - GID panel at The Nature of Cities Festival

For many working at the nexus of health, greening, and urban planning, the importance of inclusive and intersectional action is clear. The tools for such work, in a world where time and financial resources are limited, are sometimes lacking. 

To explore co-creative tools for intersectionality, GoGreenRoutes (GGR) took the stage at this June’s The Nature of Cities Festival. The session added the topic of Gender, Inclusion, and Diversity (GID) to a schedule packed with topics ranging from justice to alternative economies to Capoeira. Shreya Utkarsh (ICLEI Europe), Julia Gäckle (RTWH – Aachen), and Gillian Dick (Glasgow City Council and UrbanByNature Scotland) used their platform to advocate for systematising the integration of GID topics and concerns into EU project planning and on-the-ground implementation.

GGR has worked to create a low-cost and high impact planning tool that guides cities (or anyone) through a set of considerations designed to lower barriers to and increase community interest in making stakeholder engagement initiatives. The process and importance of the approach was outlined in an academic article titled The development of a Gender, Inclusion and Diversity Framework for inclusive Nature-based Solutions in cities by Delbaere et al.

Setting clear expectations for Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion 

Centering GID isn’t only a necessary approach from a justice lens, it is also essential if we are to 1) effectively and efficiently address planning concerns against the backdrop of urbanisation, densification, and climate change and 2) has been set as a clear expectation at the EU level via the Leave No One Behind principle (LNOB) integrated into the EU Green Deal, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the CBD Global Biodiversity Framework.

In addition to introducing session participants to the checklist, speakers shared what GID looks like in GGR’s cities. GGR takes a tactical urbanism testing approach to support cities in weaving urban greenery into their neighbourhoods and active transit pathways. These Seed-bed Interventions invited community members to experience temporary greening in action, and provided the inspiration and context needed to gather rich suggestions, perspectives, and hopes for longer term green interventions. Seedbed interventions are temporary interventions that connect different user groups, thus serving as a springboard for discussion and participation.

Making space for inclusion in Scotland 

Scotland provided a secondary case study of inclusion in action, sharing how gendered experiences of play can exclude people, primarily women and girls, from public spaces. “Football pitches were built by, and for, men” asserted Gillian Dick, as she explained the necessity of asking girls and women (and of course non-binary and trans folk) what they need from a space to feel welcome and inspired to play. Gillian encouraged audience members to ask: are we having the right conversations with the right people at the right time? Everyone wins when we align design with the desired user experience.

Tools for inclusion 

The session closed with the application of an inclusive and fun stakeholder engagement tool-the photo-voice method. Session participants visited a local green space in Berlin and took polaroid pictures of a natural aspect that evoked an emotion in them- be that emotion positive, negative, or ambivalent. Participants then shared their photo and their emotions. This method helps address linguistic barriers to participation and can support the mapping of public spaces and how they are experienced.

Learn more about GID by reading the GGR article outlining the GGR GID framework, or putting the photo-voice method to work in your own community!