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Gender and Planning: A Readerby Susan S. Fainstein
Synopses & Reviews
Increasingly, experts recognize that gender has affected urban planning and the design of the spaces where we live and work. Too often, urban and suburban spaces support stereotypically male activities and planning methodologies reflect a male-dominated society.
To document and analyze the connection between gender and planning, the editors of this volume have assembled an interdisciplinary collection of influential essays by leading scholars. Contributors point to the ubiquitous single-family home, which prevents women from sharing tasks or pooling services. Similarly, they argue that public transportation routes are usually designed for the (male) worker's commute from home to the central city, and do not help the suburban dweller running errands. In addition to these practical considerations, many contributors offer theoretical perspectives on issues such as planning discourse and the construction of concepts of rationality.
While the essays call for an awareness of gender in matters of planning, they do not over-simplify the issue by moving toward a single feminist solution. Contributors realize that not all women gravitate toward communal opportunities, that many women now share the supposedly male commute, and that considerations of race and class need to influence planning as well. Among various recommendations, contributors urge urban planners to provide opportunities that facilitate women's needs, such as childcare on the way to work and jobs that are decentralized so that women can be close to their children.
Bringing together the most important writings of the last twenty-five years, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of planning theory as well as anyone concerned with gender and diversity.
About the Author
Susan S. Fainstein is a professor of urban planning at Columbia University.
Lisa J. Servon is an associate professor in the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at the New School.
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