We marked the end of our fieldwork process in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala in April 2018 by bringing together over 40 key stakeholders from across local government, women’s advocacy groups, academics and urban planners in a participatory workshop. The stakeholder workshop was co-organised by our local partner, Sakhi Women’s Resource Centre.
The purpose of the workshop was to share our initial findings from our Thiruvananthapuram neighbourhood study with women in low-income communities and manual and vehicle-based safety audits using Safetipin software; to hear from local stakeholders on their views and experiences regarding infrastructure and safety for women in the smart city and to exchange knowledge and practices through discussion and participatory exercises.
The initial panel of the workshop focused on sharing ‘notes from the field’ based on four components of the overall project: the neighbourhood study in Thiruvananthapuram, data collected on the city’s infrastructure using the Safetipin Night app, an analysis of the usage of the Safetipin app in Kerala and findings from an ethnography of the digital developers of the Safetipin night app.
The keynote speech was delivered by the Deputy Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram who shared the vision for a woman-friendly city, including initiatives such as improving mobility and safety for women in the city centre by installing more CCTV cameras, accessible public toilets and breastfeeding centres and safe and accessible footpaths.
In the second phase of the workshop in the afternoon, the participants were divided into groups and a mapping activity was conducted where participants would mark out daily routes and highlight areas of safety and unsafety. The workshop participants were divided into groups and each given a map of Thiruvananthapuram. On the map they were asked to sketch out routes on the map depicting their daily routines and marking areas which they considered safe and unsafe, and highlighting ‘infrastructural blindspots’ along the way. At the end of the exercise each group shared their marked maps to the rest of the workshop group and generated collective discussion on different areas of the city and what factors had been neglected such as safety in mobile locations – such as public transport – as well as fixed locations.
You can watch the video with speeches from our workshop participants – the #DIVAWProject team, Societal Partners, academics, experts, practitioners and community stakeholders – below:
By Dr Nabeela Ahmed, Project Postdoctoral Research Associate, Urban Futures Research Group, Department of Geography, King’s College London