Women’s Design Service was first constituted in 1987 by a group of women architects, designers and planners who were determined to help women’s groups access the skills they needed to find, adapt and improve buildings. The Greater London Council was at that time making grants available for numerous voluntary organisations to progress their work, and most of the women’s groups that WDS worked with were funded by the GLC.
As a result of working with these groups, a number of common themes began to emerge as being critical to the creation of successful environments for women. Issues that came up time and again were toilets, nappy changing, creches, housing design, parks, pavements, safety and transport. Women’s Design Service moved into a period of carrying out research into these areas and producing publications and guidance for designers and decision makers.
More recently Women’s Design Service was much more involved in regeneration programmes and focused a great deal on action research with groups of women which was used to influence policy-makers and designers.
January 2012: It is with regret that Women’s Design Service Trustees had to take the decision to wind up the organisation in January 2012, due to a lack of funding and resources. A final meeting was held on 14th February in London, attended by members, staff and trustees.