Women’s safety and urban form : a perspective from Kochi (India)

Venerandi, Alessandro and Viese, Vija and Kalyan, Kavya and Bhardwaj, Nitin and Romice, Ombretta and Porta, Sergio; Djokić, Vladan and Djordjević, Aleksandra and Milojević, Milica and Milovanović, Aleksandra and Pešić, Mladen, eds. (2023) Women’s safety and urban form : a perspective from Kochi (India). In: XXX Conference Of The International Seminar On Urban Form (ISUF2023) - Praxis Of Urban Morphology. University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade, pp. 54-65. ISBN 9788679243416

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The world is urbanising fast. Official estimates report that around 70% of the global population will live in cities by 2060. While this phenomenon is assumed to be beneficial, social inequality and safety issues are on the rise. Among the latter, women’s safety in the urban environment is a topic of particular concern due to rising numbers of assaults, especially in South Asia. However, systematic investigations of the relationship between women’s safety in cities and urban form lack. In this paper, we explore such a relationship in Kochi (India) by correlating 24 urban types (UTs), i.e. distinctive patterns of urban form, obtained from previous work, with four scores of women’s safety (i.e. presence of people in streets, feeling safe, visibility, gender diversity), extracted from an open dataset by Safetipin, a social organisation focusing on gender issues in the urban space. Four UTs out of 24 are consistently correlated with the set of four scores. Three of such UTs are inversely correlated, with two of them presenting sparse, relatively low-density urban fabrics with very small or very large buildings; one UT shows a very fine grained, relatively dense, mainly residential fabric with very small buildings. Conversely, one UT shows a positive correlation with safety. It is characterised by a compact, fine grained and more orderly urban fabric with averagely sized buildings hosting multiple functions.