Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gender and the City

Two recent posts in the O highlight the absence of gender in the Portland urbanization discourse.  A story on the increase in biking revealed the fact that men outnumbered women 2 to 1 among bicyclists.  And a letter to the op-ed page lamenting the absence of free parking included this passage:
By removing four blocks of free, albeit unsafe, parking, the number of available spaces within walking distance of my apartment has been cut in half. Think about the implications for safety and work schedule: For a woman who returns from work after dark, it does not appeal to abandon a car under the I-405 bridge.
That the cost of parking should be increased is an axiom among urbanists, but how often do you see an acknowledgement that walking, biking, or taking public transit as opposed to driving poses different trade-offs for different genders?  Do urbanists have anything more to say to women concerned with the safety implications of abandoning the car beyond, "Grin and bear it"?

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