The matter that cities were built for men has been the case since ancient times. The main task of architects (also mostly men) was to create infrastructure for a sustainable economy functioning. Power was also in the hands of men. In this way, the needs of women were relegated to the background. Sergey Tokarev, the founder of the Roosh tech company, shared the necessity to provide inclusive reconstruction and restoration in the country.
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Cities for men
Sergey Tokarev states that Ukrainian cities are built for men. The priority in modern cities’ design was mostly on developing road infrastructure for quick access to workplaces, creating parking lots, and constructing business centres, retail outlets and locations for business meetings around. At the same time, much less attention was paid to the needs of pedestrians, infrastructure and safety of residential neighbourhoods and inclusion in general.
Today, civil society development has caused a change in the vector and rejection of stereotypes. But it happens pretty slowly. There are many reasons, but one of the main ones is that the business continues to focus on the needs of men. Sergey Tokarev believes that this is a big mistake not only from a civil society-building perspective but also from the viewpoint of economic expediency and added value.
Who is the true stakeholder in city reconstruction?
Sergey Tokarev faced this question several years ago when he, along with his company, was preparing a large-scale event dedicated to relocates. They provided a comparative analysis of different cities, economic situations, tax legislation, and general comfort for life and work when moving business to another country.
They also conducted market research to understand the developers’ wishes and their families in the case of a possible relocation. There was a big discrepancy between the needs of men and women. Men had almost no wishes regarding internal and external infrastructure. In contrast, women paid serious attention to safety, the environment, infrastructure development, and housing.
The entrepreneur notes that city developers must create comfort for all target audiences. By doing this, they will gain higher demand. In Europe, it already works. For example, in Sweden, whole cities are built considering women’s needs. In Viena, these are separate quarters.
Inclusive reconstruction program UNITY (Mriemo ta diemo)
In Ukraine, women should be integrated into the country’s reconstruction after the war. Sergey Tokarev specifies that such integration must be from all sides: the active public to architects, designers, representatives of local administrations, and businesses.
As an answer to the need, a Ukrainian initiative STEM and FEM created a course as a part of the UNITY (Mriemo ta diemo) program. This is a free urban planning course for girls in which the participants, mentors, architects and urban planners had to prepare group projects. The best works will be refined by specialists and implemented in Ukrainian cities and towns affected by the war.