“Urban environments where women feel safe to go about their everyday lives without fear”
is the vision behind the Making Safer Places project. The quotes below illustrate that women want to live, work and socialise in safer environments and that women have something to contribute to the community safety agenda.
” I will definitely notice things like hidden corners and lighting levels now but I also think that I could get in touch with the council and say I think it is dangerous here, what are you going to do about it?”
Project participant from the School’s Safety Check: Pedestrian Routes in Hammersmith and Fulham.
“Safety in the area would increase if there were more amenities or the opening hours for shops were extended, as this would increase the number of people in the street and not make it seem so deserted”
Project Participant from the Bangladeshi Women’s Shopping Audit Group.
Making Safer Places is specifically interested in the experience of black and minority ethnic women, older women and disabled women, whose social and physical vulnerability - both real and perceived - makes an impact on their quality of life. The wider community in urban areas and policy/decision-makers with a regeneration and community safety remit are also key interest groups.
The project has been bringing women onto the regeneration and community safety agenda so that they can enjoy a greater sense of safety, develop their self-confidence, economic and social independence and contribute to a more sustainable community life.
A set of criteria has been drawn up to ensure that our target group is well represented, that there are community structures in place that MSP can fit into and that there are resources available to ensure that some recommendations identified by women living in these communities can be implemented. Following presentations and meetings in Manchester, Islington and Bristol we agreed on the neighbourhoods we would work in.
Making Safer Places has started to develop a profile on women and community safety. Presentations have been made at the following events:- - Urban Forum ‘The Environment’ Conference November 2002 - London Women’s Planning Forum ’24 Hour City’ Conference January 2003. paper from the 24 Hour City presentation - Manchester Women’s Voices Conference
Meetings have been held with academics with a gender and community safety focus based at London School of Economics, University of East London, University of West England and Sheffield Hallam University with a view to developing our unique position on women and community safety in urban settings.
In addition, a number of site visits were carried out in Manchester, Hammersmith and Fulham (although our focus has now changed to the London Borough of Islington) and Bristol, which incorporated publicising the project, developing our knowledge of the key issues and making contacts with key stakeholders in the areas.
A project outline has also been produced and distributed to a range of local, regional and national contacts, many of whom operate beyond our target cities.
The Making Safer Places national conference, Women’s Safety in Our Cities, took place on 18th November 2005, with almost 100 participants. The conference marked the end of the 3 year pilot project and sought to disseminate the project and place it in the wider context of women’s safety.