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GENDERED SPACES IN DEVELOPING CITIES: SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING IN KAMPALA CITY UGANDA

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  • International Institute of Social Studies

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The understanding of space use in cities differs due to variations in planning experiences across the developed and developing world. This paper focuses on equal access to spaces with infrastructure and services that meet the residential, travel, commercial and leisure needs of women and men at neighborhood to city level. Triangulated data from Kampala city, Uganda's capital, showed that women often prefer physical and social spaces that offer personal security, flexible mobility, hygiene and physical comfort while performing their domestic and commercial travels. Men on the other hand, were primarily concerned about quality alternative travel modes, adequately-lit streets, sufficient road safety measures and directional signage, which can guarantee punctuality, security and convenience as they drive and cycle around the city for connectivity to public utilities. But planning at city level is based on economic and environmental principles that overlook these gender differences in the use of physical and social spaces, which ultimately leads to the delivery of infrastructure and services that are less aligned to end-user needs. The paper therefore draws implications on how the design of urban spaces can be made responsive to women's compared to men's needs in the context of developing cities.
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Humberside Journal of Social Sciences
Humberside Journal of Social SciencesHumberside Journal of Social Sciences
Humberside Journal of Social Sciences
ISSN 2051-7335 (Print Version) ISSN 2051-7343 (Online Version)
VOLUME 2 NUMBER 1 (2013) 22-31
GENDERED SPACES IN DEVELOPING CITIES: SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE
PLANNING IN KAMPALA CITY UGANDA
Buyana KAREEM
1
and Shuaib LWASA
2
1
Department of Socio-economic Sciences, Cavendish University, Uganda
2
Department of Environmental Management, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical
Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Uganda.
ABSTRACT
The understanding of space use in cities differs due to variations in planning experiences across the
developed and developing world. This paper focuses on equal access to spaces with infrastructure and
services that meet the residential, travel, commercial and leisure needs of women and men at
neighborhood to city level. Triangulated data from Kampala city, Uganda’s capital, showed that
women often prefer physical and social spaces that offer personal security, flexible mobility, hygiene
and physical comfort while performing their domestic and commercial travels. Men on the other hand,
were primarily concerned about quality alternative travel modes, adequately-lit streets, sufficient road
safety measures and directional signage, which can guarantee punctuality, security and convenience as
they drive and cycle around the city for connectivity to public utilities. But planning at city level is
based on economic and environmental principles that overlook these gender differences in the use of
physical and social spaces, which ultimately leads to the delivery of infrastructure and services that are
less aligned to end-user needs. The paper therefore draws implications on how the design of urban
spaces can be made responsive to women’s compared to men’s needs in the context of developing
cities.
Keywords: Urban Spaces, Gender, Developing Cities, Planning, Services, Infrastructure
1. INTRODUCTION
The physical, economic and environmental aspects of a given city always take center stage in
the design of urban spaces. Many times, however, the outcomes with regards to infrastructure and
service quality often fall short of what end-users expect. This has been attributed to planning
approaches that do not embrace changes in lifestyles, values and attitudes towards livability in cities
(Cappiello et al. 2011; Helm and Tindall 2009; Hoehner et al. 2003; Thompson, 2002). Urban
planning therefore has to find answers on how the physical, economic and environmental
characteristics of a particular city can be pieced together in ways that offer services and infrastructure
for improved livability. From a gender perspective, such livability would call for equity in planning to
meet the differing residential, commercial, travel and leisure needs of female compared to male end-
users. However, many a study on urban planning do not offer much on this gendered understanding of
livability and its implications on the design of urban spaces in cities, with particular emphasis on
infrastructure and services.
For instance, Buhr (2009) and Sager (2011) brought out the relationship between
infrastructure and economic production in urban areas, but gender needs did not feature in their
analysis of who gets involved in and benefits from such production. Simone (2004) highlighted the
significance of infrastructure in expanding spaces for economic and cultural operation, using evidence
from Johannesburg in South Africa, but his discussion on city residents and their participation in
enabling cities grow economically, lacked a gender dimension and yet women and men differ in the
use of economic spaces due to social differentiations in the distribution of domestic and commercial
roles. A livelihood-based angel has also been given on urban space use; however, most of the research
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presented has not included analyses on the gender differentiations in livelihood strategies and their
implications on urban design and space use in cities of the developing world (Oberhauser & Hanson,
2007; Owusu, 2007; Onyebueke, 2001; Muzvidziwa, 2000 Yeboah, 2010). This has left the discussion
on the use of physical and social spaces, and the linkages therein, to studies that are mainly spatial in
nature, whose focus lies on the application of remote sensing and other geographical methods that do
not deeply bring out people-centered views and experiences on urban space use (Jim, 2004; Miller &
Small, 2003; Thompson, 2002; Longley, 2002; O’Neill et al., 2006).
However, there is evidence on studies that do provide a gender angel on urban planning, but
many of these largely focus on women’s safety in cities thereby overlooking the relational
understanding of women’s compared to men’s urban-specific needs. For example, Whitzman (2007)
did a study that drew insights on how urban design can be attuned to community-level prevention of
violence against women. Similarly, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme
(UNHABITAT), in its 2008 report, noted that addressing women’s safety in urban design increases
civic participation in planning at local government level. This inclination towards women-specific
concerns does not wholly represent the gendered understanding of urban space use and its implications
on design, and the delivery of infrastructure and services in cities. This is because such studies
undermine the fact that women-specific needs are end-user needs and therefore an integral part of what
the different segments in the urban population prefer.
To reinforce the point, Hengehold (2011) argued that women safety audits in cities provide
suggestions that are restricted to simple technical fixes, such as camera systems for night-time safety
and policing, thereby failing to justify an alteration in the delivery of services and infrastructure for a
city-wide benefit. The risk therefore lies in assuming that women-specific issues can be tackled using
programmes that are separate from those targeted at other city residents, which undermines the
relational understanding of women's interface compared to men's in the use of urban spaces while
living and working in the city. This is why the paper bases on triangulated data from Kampala city
Uganda’s capital, to draw implications on how the design of urban spaces in developing cities can be
made gender responsive to provide infrastructure and services that equally benefit women and men at
neighborhood to city level.
2. MATERIALS AND METHODS
Kampala is Uganda’s capital and only city, occupied by 40% of the national urban population
(UBOS, 2002). The mandate of delivering services and infrastructure is under Kampala Capital City
Authority (KCCA), which until 2011 was known as Kampala City Council (KCC). This mandate is
derived from the KCCA Act (2010), which also entails the transfer of planning and service delivery
functions to five administrative divisions in the city including Kawempe, Makindye, Nakawa, Rubaga
and Central division. Together with KCCA, these divisions through their political and technical teams
ought to plan and deliver a number of services including sanitized neighborhood environments, safe
and comfortable public transport, user-friendly physical infrastructure, protection and restoration of
green areas, provision of recreation facilities and other services that are expected to enhance livability
in the city.
The study therefore undertook an end-user service satisfaction survey across the five divisions
using an open-ended questionnaire. A purposive sample of 500 respondents was selected, and further
sub-divided into 100 respondents per division. This sampling method was chosen because it permitted
the selection of female and male respondents that have at one time used one or more services, and
many of these had to be contacted from home, at the work place or from urban traffic. Out the 500,
the survey acquired a response outcome of 244 male and 226 females, making a total of 470
respondents and a response rate of 94%. The information generated was managed by use of descriptive
statistics on women’s relative to men’s level of awareness and satisfaction with services and
infrastructure by sector, focusing on environmental sanitation at neighborhood scale, urban transport,
physical infrastructure and recreation. The choice of these urban sectors enabled the capturing of
gender differences in residential, travel, working and leisure needs respectively. The survey was
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complemented by key informant interviews with planners and service providers across different
departments within KCAA including physical planning and works, engineering, environmental
services, labor, gender and community development. Analysis of interview data was conducted as
conversations were being carried out. This permitted immediate grouping of responses to ultimately
triangulate end-users’, service providers’ and planners’ experiences on livability and the delivery of
services and infrastructure in Kampala city.
3. RESULTS
3.1 The Gendered Nature Of Urban Space Use In Kampala City
In Kampala city, the residential, working and leisure needs of women relative to men are
inherently determined by their travel patterns and social differentiations in their domestic and
commercial roles, and this ultimately defines how they engage with physical and social spaces in the
city. The study found out that women have triple gender roles: domestic care taking; income provision
through participation in paid work; and communal roles that involve networking at neighborhood level
to strengthen residential ties as a way building new or maintain already existing social capital. Men on
the other hand, mainly focus on the search for paid work around the city and are much less involved in
domestic care. This structuring of gender roles leads to shorter but multiple trips for women, whereas
on the side of men, discussions revealed that they travel longer but fewer trips.
To balance domestic and commercial roles, women said that they usually station their
businesses nearer to the areas of residence for a walkable distance between home and the workplace
and therefore depend much on the available pedestrian footpath network, although a number of them
opt for public Omni buses and private means if the travel involves reaching out to the city center or
up-country. Men as noted earlier, highly depend on cycling and driving to access places of work and
back home, except in situations where walking is done at neighborhood level and along the streets in
the city center. These gender differentials in travel patterns do translate into variations in the demand
for services and infrastructure amongst female compared to male end-users. In the subsequent sections
therefore, the satisfaction levels and experiences of women relative to men in regards to: sanitation
services, urban transportation, physical infrastructure and recreation are presented together with the
views acquired from urban planners and service providers within KCCA.
3.2 Satisfaction With Infrastructure And Service Quality In Kampala City
(a) Sanitation Services
Sanitation services in Kampala mainly involve the removal of liquid and solid waste from
commercial and residential areas by private and public entities to landfill centers in the peripheral parts
of the city. This is accompanied by the provision of community-level sensitization on public hygiene
and installation of supportive environmental infrastructure including drainage systems, public toilets
and waste skips. But from an end-use perspective, rating of performance in the sanitation sector was
very low. Most of the male respondents (50.0%) and female respondents (51.0%) said that sanitation
in the city is bad, as indicated in table 1.
Table 1: Rated satisfaction level with sanitation services
Sex
Very
Good Good Fair Bad
Not able
to tell
Male 2.40% 11.40% 23.30% 50.00% 12.90%
Female 6.10% 33.70% 51.00% 9.20%
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The challenge according to officials from KCCA is environmentally irresponsible behavior
amongst end-users, who keep throwing plastics in drainage channels and illegally dumping other
waste on the streets. The interviewees said that this leads to clogging of drainages, flash floods during
heavy rains, contamination of air, water sources and exposure to diseases especially malaria and
cholera. The end-users, however, attributed the low ratings of performance to hygiene and sanitation
difficulties in neighborhoods and the city center. Respondents said that although KCCA has raised
awareness and involved community members in hygiene promotion and sanitation, women do not
have inadequate provision of toiletries (especially sanitary bins) in public toilets whereas the men
noted that the entry-charge of using a public toilet is most times not reallocated to bettering the
services and improving the environmental quality around the public toilets. Both sexes also noted that
public toilets do not guarantee the physical security and integrity of women due to inadequate lighting,
thereby a reduction in the levels of utilization at night. Furthermore, public toilets are not user-friendly
for the disabled due to access-steps and toilet seats that are not aligned to their physical impairments.
Accordingly, livability in sanitation terms is constrained by a combination of factors that include
environmentally insensitive behavior and flaws in the design of infrastructure among others. .
(b) Urban Transportation
Findings from the survey showed that transportation services in Kampala are characterized by
Omni buses that take the biggest share of trips and traffic, followed by motor cycles, to privately
operated bus services and an increasing use of bicycles. The analysis reveals that all modes of
transportation are less sensitive to the specific travel needs of women, people with disabilities
(PWDs), men, boys and girls. To illustrate the point, the design of Omni buses does not meet the
boarding, sitting and disembarking needs of PWDs and pregnant women. The issue is that the
available Omni buses are high for boarding and alighting while the disabled would find it difficult to
access the buses with wheel chairs and clutches. The limited legroom in Omni buses also causes stiff
knees and prevents shopping bags from being conveniently carried by both women and men. More
often than men, women are carrying children with luggage when utilizing Omni buses, and high steps
make it difficult to easily board.
In addition to gender insensitive vehicle designs is road infrastructure including bus stops,
pedestrian walkways, sound signals which for many roads have been removed by design or turned
into stages by Omni buses for picking passengers. The gender dimension of this shortcoming is the
creation of a public transport system which is devoid of facilities that would bring about convenience,
effective and efficient public transportation. By Omni buses stopping just anywhere and everywhere,
this has affected traffic flow and inconveniences that translates into high costs for female and male
road users as well as inflexibility in mobility. These experiences are reinforced by the low levels of
satisfaction with the transportation network that were captured from the survey and presented in table
2. The table shows that only 1.4% and 1.9% of the female and male respondents respectively indicated
“very good”, in regards to public transport in Kampala city.
Table 2: Rated your satisfaction level with transport
network
Sex
Very
Good Good Fair Bad
Not able to
tell
Male 1.40% 17.70% 43.20% 32.70% 5.00%
Female 1.90% 21.20% 39.90% 30.80% 6.30%
This low level of rating on satisfaction with public transport was also attributed to persistent
limitations in safety while travelling to, from and within the city. Both female and male respondents
expressed concerns about competition for space on and off the carriage. The observation made is that
the city road network is characterized by absence of segregated lanes for pedestrians, motorists and
cyclists. This shortfall partly explains the prevalence of road accidents amongst pedestrians and
cyclists. Records obtained from the Uganda Police Headquarters in Kampala (2011) showed that in
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2009, pedestrians and motorcyclists were the highest number of victims in road accidents. At Kira
Road police station in Nakawa division, for example, 43% of the accidents recorded affected
pedestrians whereas 21% affected passengers in vehicles. A similar pattern was recorded at another
police station in Kawempe division, where 32% of the accidents recorded had pedestrians as the
victims and 25% were passengers. Respondents admitted that road crashes have time and labor
consequences for women as custodians of family health who must take care of the injured and
shoulder the household economic burden in case the main income generator dies.
Discussion with some female respondents in the survey revealed that their mobility is
constrained by narrow sidewalks and absence pedestrian precincts, as they take short but multiple trips
that maintain the household at neighborhood level. For the men, overcrowding and delays associated
with traffic congestion mean that they have to take longer travel times and cannot rely on driving to
take them to their destinations. Results of the survey on constraints showed that the overriding burden
in transport amongst males is time constraints stemming from traffic congestion, represented by 72%
of men’s responses compared to 19% of the female responses. These gendered patterns and
experiences signify the usefulness of comprehensive and accurate gender disaggregated information
on urban transportation, as the entry point towards placement of end-user expectations at the center of
delivering services and infrastructure.
(c) Urban Physical Infrastructure
Survey data and further discussion with respondents revealed that signage on roads, in and
around buildings together with street lighting are not reliable in providing physical and visual clues to
women and men for easing passage and access to other city services. Women said that it is usual to
forego a travel if the street or neighborhood access road is not well-lit or if there is a perceived threat
of getting lost or failing to find parking while shopping due to overcrowdings in the city center. Men
on the other hand said that they are usually victims of injuries and sometimes fatalities because they sit
in the driving wheel and have to ensure the safety of pedestrians, other motorists and cyclists at road
junctions and on the main streets of the city, due to inadequate lighting or failure to adhere to
directional signage or the absence of it. Narrow pavements were also noted to be a limitation when
seeking to overtake a person ahead of you or crossing from one road side to another. Respondents in
the survey further noted that road signage is more dedicated to cars than pedestrians. They were also
quick to note that even the available signage is not well maintained and sometimes obscured by
advertisements and election posters, thus giving an impression of mess and negligence. These
concerns underlie the variations in satisfaction ratings, as presented in table 3.
Table 3: Satisfaction with visibility of the signage for road
users
Sex
Very
Good Good Fair Bad Not able to tell
Male 1.80% 22.60% 38.90% 31.70% 5.00%
Female 1.40% 23.20% 35.30% 34.30% 5.80%
Data further indicated that the rating for ramps that ease of movement among persons with
disabilities, is poor, with over 57.4% of the respondents rating as so. But the gender statistics indicate
a higher proportion of female respondents rating their satisfaction with ramps as poor compared to
men (table 4). This was further attributed to women’s concerns about drainage works at neighborhood
level that have no ramps, which hampers movement by disabled family members. The study also
found out that sight impaired people move around the city with difficulty requiring support. For
example, sound signals at road junctions with traffic lights are not installed. Sight-impaired road users
would have to rely on other road users to get to know where it is safe to pass, which in some cases
may not be available. In addition on-road guides for sight impaired people are also not installed like
proper kerbs for them to know at what point they would when walking. Whereas this can be defrayed
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during day when pedestrian population is at its highest and can offer help to the blind, in the evenings
and night, the blind would get serious problems.
Table 4: Satisfaction with ramps for
physically impaired
Very
Good Good Fair Bad
Male 0.50% 9.90% 27.50% 54.10%
Female 0.50% 6.30% 24.00% 61.10%
Further discussion with men revealed that they prefer infrastructure that ensures speed,
punctuality and predictability to have greater access and ensure safety in all modes travel including
driving, cycling and walking. Women on the other hand, said that because of triple gender roles, they
are in need of infrastructure that creates mobility options and ensures safety while on their varied
destinations. Women further raised the issue of neighborhood routes which are not well-lit and yet
children utilize these routes on their way to and back from school, especially late in the evenings and
early mornings. They further argued that KCCA has laid emphasis on well-lit main streets and roads,
such as Kampala and Jinja roads that stretch through the city center, leaving out neighborhood routes
like Kulambiro ring road in Nakawa division and Nsoba in Kawempe division, which are used by
school-going children. To some women as well as men, this creates possibilities of harming the
physical integrity of girls, especially in the evenings when travelers run the risk of rape, defilement,
mugging or another forms of sexual assault.
(d) Recreation and Social Amenities
According to KCCA officials, part of the legally prescribed functions is planning recreation
parks, tree planting, green corridors and other environmental-friendly areas. The interviewees added
that this requires well-maintained, lit and furnished green areas, squares, parks, entertainment halls,
and play fields are a binding factor between environmental and physical development planning for the
city. End-users on the other hand, said that the location of a household determines women’s access to
leisure facilities and choice of travel means as well as number of hours to be spent on leisure activities.
Respondents argued that since women are the primary care takers of the home, their preference usually
lies in recreation facilities that are nearer to their residence or within the neighborhood. Women
further said that those at the lower scale of income rely on neighborhood routes to access
entertainment centers in the evenings, and therefore safety on such routes is a leisure need.
Respondents continued to add that women in relatively higher income groups can afford recreation
facilities that are located far away from their homes, and therefore need well-lit streets and buildings to
guarantee their physical integrity and safety from sexual violence while walking, cycling or driving
back home in the night.
As child care takers, women said that they need play fields nearer to homesteads or within
recreation centers that can guarantee safe and amenable access by boys and girls, especially during
weekends and school holidays. Interviews with urban service-users also showed that good lighting and
landscaping creates active spaces for women to rest and not feel isolated during their chain of trips and
varied destinations at neighborhood level. On the contrary, men were more concerned about the prices
of family leisure trips because most green areas and entertainment centers are now privately owned
with entry user fees. Male respondents argued that prices for family leisure trips are high, especially
for low income groups, and therefore men prefer shorter and cheaper travel to recreation centers.
Urban service providers in KCCA noted that commercial developments within the center and
at neighborhood scale should be the area of focus in responding to leisure needs while sustaining green
spaces. Service providers, however, observed that commercial developments in Kampala have to a
greater extent undermined the ways in which integrated urban land use can be applied to respond to
leisure needs. According to the interviewees, there is a huge neglect of social amenities that they have
been left to private sector. Though this might not be a problem, it is increasingly difficult to guide
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private providers who largely do not consider standards or value compatibility of land uses according
to the service providers in the study. Further discussions indicated that the interdependence between
the natural and built environment in the recreation sector is increasing becoming a hard-to-implement
principle due influence peddling during the approval of commercial and residential developments at
KCCA.
(e) The Need For Gender Responsive Planning In The Delivery Of Infrastructure And Services
Sustained response to the women’s and men’s livability constraints in Kampala city requires
gender responsive planning. This is an approach that involves disaggregating end-user demand for
services and infrastructure by sex, location and connectivity to public utilities, thus deepening the
analysis on livability needs to inform the design of plans, programmes and policy decisions that
respond accordingly. But the capacity to conceive, design and deliver infrastructure and services that
are customized to differentials in women’s relative to men’s needs, is still lacking amongst planners in
Kampala city. The study found out that several capacity building workshops and trainings have been
conducted for this purpose in KCCA on an annual basis, since the National Gender Policy (1997) was
entered into force by the central government, through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social
Development. The training has been through delivery of a range of short-term lecture and case study
modules by outsourced experts and consultancy companies, as provided for by the Local Governments
Capacity Building Policy of the Republic of Uganda (2005).
But at the time of the study there was no indication of applying the knowledge and skills
gained to the routine procedures of economic, physical and environmental planning, yet not less than
15% of the annual local government capacity building fund had been on KCCA alone, since 2001,
with additional financial support from development partners, notably; World Bank, Swedish
International Development Agency (SIDA), UNHABITAT, Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC)
and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa Canada.
If the knowledge acquired could be effectively used to mainstream gender into planning,
processes such as procurement and contracts management, which is one of the key interfaces between
service providers and end-user demands, could involve tasking the physical planning and works
departments to input gender considerations into the Bill of Quantities (BoQs) for contractors.
Examples of such gender considerations include signage that provides visual and physical clues for all
gendered categories of road users (pedestrians, motorist and cyclists), obliging construction firms to
comply with the stipulated width and length of pedestrian precincts, the positioning and design of
signage and providing equal employment opportunities to female and male casual laborers while
ensuring that the design of urban spaces caters for the physically impaired, adequate lighting within
and outside the building, parking slots for wheel chair users, door-way signs and toilets that have
sanitary bins for women’s comfort. To achieve this, the following stages that characterize gender
responsive planning can be adopted.
(f) Key Steps In Gender Responsive Planning
The following can be considered as the basic steps for mainstreaming gender into city-level planning
for the delivery of infrastructure and services:
(i) Conceptual planning and design: In all urban sectors, one of the initial steps in service
provision is the thinking behind the design of a plan and or its strategy, a process known
as conceptualization. This step is very crucial in gender responsive planning because it is
where tools for baselines and situational analyzes need to be disaggregated to ensure
capture of gender differentials in needs and design requirements for a planned
infrastructure, service and or system. At this stage, the gender needs are identified,
detailed according to sex, location and socio-economic status. This leads to the attainment
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of gender disaggregated data and analysis for proper identification of differentials in needs
by urban sector and category of end-user.
(ii) Installation and implementation: Following design is installation for infrastructure and or
implementation if it is more of a procedure or system like decision making processes. At
this stage is the importance of supervision to ensure that gender responsive designs, for
example road signage that heeds to differences in language proficiency and visualization,
are adhered to during installation. Gender responsive planning is implemented at this
stage. A key function is the procuring of services and or equipment that is aligned to
gender needs, something that is often thought of as an additional cost, yet if well
understood and appreciated from the end-user point of view, can be budgeted for using the
available resource envelope. In KCCA, it is common for procurement and financial
processes to consider gender mainstreaming as an issue that is either irrelevant in physical
work or a donor-driven requirement that needs a separate budget. However, it is costlier to
neglect end-user demands than investing a service or infrastructure that is not user-
friendly in strategic terms.
(iii) Operationalization: this stage is characterized by detailing the procedures and
arrangements for putting into operation the designed and implemented infrastructure or
service action plan. Operationalisation includes rules of use, modalities for operation,
incentives and penalties for female relative to male users. This requires close monitoring
for compliance including security against vandalism and theft in the case of urban
furniture, like phone booths for real-time communication while on travel around the city.
It is at the operationalisation stage that differences in end-user needs are neglected, for
example enforcing rules of designated spaces for disabled persons in parking slots to
ensure that they access these spaces. Whereas many a time regulations and rules exist, city
authorities in Kampala city have perpetually lamented about enforcement challenges. This
an area for improvement and change if planning is to be successful but it stems from the
whole set of activities required for operationalisation.
(iv) Evaluation: At this stage, the aim is track progress on the results gained from at the earlier
steps of gender responsive planning. Such results may have been planned or unplanned,
but the essence to gain feedback for purposes re-aligning the gender responsive planning
process to consolidate the gains made in the interim and devise strategies for addressing
the challenges that have emerged. This further interlinks the earlier stages of gender
responsive planning through a feedback loop, for purposes of continuous improvement in
the design and delivery of services and infrastructure.
4. DISCUSSIONS
Gender responsive planning as an approach to improved livability in developing cities,
provides an entry point for understanding how the built and natural environment affects the lives of
women and men. This is why gender responsive planning has the potential to match planners’ ideas
about service and infrastructure delivery with end-user needs, something that is crucial in ensuring that
the design of physical and social spaces in cities is guided by decisions that are based on the ideals and
preferences of city residents (Simonsen, 1996; van dijk et al., 2011; van den Berg, 2012). Gender
responsive planning further makes women and men not only community-level participants but also
partners in shaping the urban planning agenda. This is an issue that has been earlier emphasized by
participatory urban planning, as a pathway to improving the quality of places and spaces in ways that
offer a sense of not only livability but also belonging and ownership to the local population (Garcia-
Ramon, et al., 2004; Ennew & Swart-Kruger, 2003; Alparone & Rissotto, 2001).
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However, striking a balance between the idea of gender responsive planning and with the
emerging demand for green (climate compatible infrastructure and service quality) and safe cities is
something that planners ought to consider. Such a balance is obtainable if planning processes follow a
holistic path, where end-user needs are the basis for defining how green, gender responsive and safe a
given city should be and further analyzing how planning processes can be adjusted to take on priorities
that benefit the entire urban population. It also requires a multiplicity of technical and managerial
skills on how the physical, economic and environmental characteristics of a particular city can be
pieced together to offer services and infrastructure for improved livability amongst different social
groups and urban sectors. This implies that capacity development programmes for planners in
developing cities ought to offer innovative ways for enabling professionals of different backgrounds
offer their insight innovatively into the design, installation, operationalisation and evaluation of
service quality and infrastructure, so that the ultimate design of physical and social spaces, is aligned
to the priorities of end-users.
5. CONCLUSION
This paper uses a gender angle to focus the design and use of urban spaces on the provision of
infrastructure and service quality that meets the residential, travel, commercial and leisure needs of
different social groups. The steps for applying this understanding of urban space use to planning
processes are provided, with the aim of emphasizing that since physical and social spaces are
gendered in regards to female compared to male end-user needs, it is then rational for developing cities
to have infrastructure designs and service delivery programmes that are attuned to differentials in
gender needs.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to extend their gratitude to the World Bank, Uganda Country Office for
funding the research on which this paper is based, under the Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure
Development Project (KIIDP). Special thanks to the KCCA Team including Harriet Mudondo,
Josephine Lubwama, Ruth Muguta and Kigundu Tamale for their admistrative input while gathering
the information that appears in this paper.
©British Academic Journals 2011-2013
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