Stakeholder engagement with Her City toolbox
The aim of the Her City initiative is to make methods and tools for inclusive, gender- and age-sensitive urban planning available to urban actors and cities globally. Too often, the city does not work for young women and girls. It is unsafe, unwelcoming and inaccessible. The toolbox supports urban development from a young women and girls’ perspective and guides urban actors to implement projects using a step-by-step methodology. It supports cities to scale-up and mainstream young women and girls’ participation in planning as a part of their long-term strategies for building sustainable cities and societies. The toolbox has been developed in collaboration with a range of stakeholders from the public sector, private sector, research, civil society and citizens.
Description of practice
The toolbox follows a unique process with nine building blocks as a digital guideline on how to co-plan and co-design cities from a young women and girls’ perspective.
● Block 1. Stakeholder engagement
● Block 2. City-wide assessment
● Block 3. Site-specific assessment
● Block 4. Analysing challenges
● Block 5. Designing ideas.
● Block 6. Recommendations for action
● Block 7. Action plans
● Block 8. Sharing results
● Block 9. Gather feedback on the process from participants, follow up on implementation during the construction phase and provide an overall evaluation of the quality of the public space six months after construction has been finalised.
Who is involved
Her City is a joint initiative by UN-Habitat and the independent think tank Global Utmaning. It is financed by the Swedish Innovation Agency, Vinnova, in collaboration with the Block by Block Foundation, White Architects, the Swedish Tenants’ Union and MethodKit.
Experts: Girls and young women are the main target group, as well as other marginalised groups
Stakeholders: Urban professionals, the private sector, researchers, grassroots organisations, local and national decision makers.
Promotion and communication
The Her City team has trained over 500 professionals to use the platform toolbox. Training has built capacity for inclusive urban planning in many cities globally and showcased the method to new and potential users. The project has been endorsed in local schools to encourage girls and young women in the area to join in. The toolbox has also been promoted through UN-Habitat’s and Global Utmanning’s channels and on Her City’s social media.
The toolbox is free and open source, which makes it available to a variety of actors. Some tools suggested in the toolbox, however, require a licence or software (Minecraft)
Software: GIS (QGIS); SketchUp 3D Software; computers as tools
Skills: Local expertise (girls and young women), architects
● The overall project time required to implement the Her City methodology is 8.5 months.
● The Her City initiative was launched in 2017 with the aim of mapping methods and tools for increased equality and inclusion in urban development.
● Tools were tested in a pilot in Fittja, Botkyrka municipality, Sweden in 2018.
● The tools were made available to all actors globally in 2019.
● The Her City Toolbox was launched together with 2000 stakeholders on International Women’s Day 2021.
|Level of participation
|Urban planning challenge(s) tackled
|Governance and institutional factors
Knowledge and skills
● Engaging stakeholders early on in the process will strengthen expertise and local knowledge within the project and set up a co-creative and inclusive process.
● Stakeholders and target groups are key to carrying out the city-wide public space assessment and the site-specific public space assessment. They are valuable assets in the entire planning and design process and in ensuring the longevity of the project.
● Without a substantial record to draw general conclusions from, girls tend to value and propose developments of a “common good” type with quite a long-term perspective for both “people” and “planet”.
● Her City helps bridge the digital divide between professionals and residents by including local target groups when creating the toolbox.
● The toolbox facilitates ongoing dialogue between professionals and citizens as it is digitally accessible to all.
● About 500 professionals have been trained in the process of the project.
● Thus far, the Her City toolbox has 700 users in 90 countries and 280 cities worldwide, and has been used in 100 initiatives.
● Among the joint results from the Her City projects in 2019–2021 are environment and mobility solutions (e.g., urban agriculture, energy-generating pavements) and social and economic solutions (e.g., interactive lights, free clinics). All these will lead to improved air quality, access to basic services, greenery and beautification in the urban space.
Her City guide https://hercity.unhabitat.org
For information on the Her City initiative and toolbox see https://globalutmaning.se/her-city-toolbox/?lang=en