Swedish suburb redesigned to be 'more feminist'

Area of Husby in Stockholm is being adapted to be safer and more appealing for women

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The Independent Online

A suburb of Stockholm is being redesigned to make it more feminist.

Housing company Svenska Bostader (SB) is remodelling the area of Husby in the Swedish capital in an attempt to attract more women and make female residents feel safer.

Changes are being made in the district, which is on a Swedish police list of problem areas and was the scene of riots in 2013, after a lengthy public consultation.

“We need to get more women into the public spaces”, Nurcan Gültekin, SB’s social sustainability coordinator in the area, told The Local. “It's above all about having an equal public space where everyone, both men and women, feel welcome."

The company has been in discussions with local residents since 2009. Conversations revealed that the area around the local metro station was considered by female residents to be particularly unsafe 

“We started workshops where female residents were free to speak up and point out the places where they felt unsafe”, Mr Gültekin said.

“We then started to get a clear image of how the centre is perceived and the factors playing into that. It emerged that women to a large degree were opting to take a detour around the centre. They didn't feel comfortable." 

The company is rolling out a series of changes, including a redesigned station entrance and improved street lighting to create a better-lit route from the metro station. 

A café in the area’s main square will also be moved in order to encourage people of both genders to use it.  

“The cafe has become a natural meeting place for some Husby residents, mostly men”, Mr Gültekin said. “Today, however, women don't have a natural meeting place in the centre. There is an imbalance. Our ambition is to create harmony, where both men and women dwell in and move around the centre." 

SB hopes Husby will be the inspiration for gender-conscious urban planning in other areas.