Why We Need Feminist Cities
A conversation with Leslie Kern about cities under strain in our COVID-19 times. The more feminist they are, the better cities will cope!
I’m very happy to start this new series of podcasts with an interview of Leslie Kern, whose book Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-made World (2020) I found so inspiring. Leslie is an associate professor of geography and environment and director of women's and gender studies at Mount Allison University, in Canada.
With the pandemic and much political, economic and social chaos, 2020 generated lots of questions about cities, urban life, and activism. Many people wonder whether cities still have a future. I’m sure they do. But maybe more so if they are “feminist cities”. And that’s why Leslie Kern’s ideas are even more relevant than ever.
She is “proud to call [herself] a feminist geographer”. Twenty years ago, people may have mocked the idea that geography could be sexist or feminist. Today more people understand that urban planning does indeed have consequences on gender equality, and that we need to take more diverse points of view into account to make housing and infrastructure better for all.
As I wrote in a Laetitia@Work newsletter on the subject of feminist cities:
This means we can’t let urban planning be designed by default for the nuclear family. First, the nuclear family default is not great for feminism. Second, the traditional nuclear family is no longer the norm: there are so many single-parent families, single people, same-sex couples, and all sorts of alternative family arrangements that the traditional 1950s nuclear family is now in the minority. A “feminist city” is an inclusive city that makes life easier for more people.
I hope you enjoy listening to this podcast as much as I enjoyed recording it. Please share it with someone else who you believe might like it too 🤗
For access to the full transcript, we’ll create a paid version of Building Bridges to which you’ll be able to subscribe soon. To be continued…
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(Credits: Franz Liszt, Mephisto Waltz, S.514-extract from the album Miroirs by Jonas Vitaud, NoMadMusic.)