Cities are not thought out or designed From the needs of women and women is nothing new. In Barcelona, urban transformations in recent decades have been led by architects such as Jean Nouvel, Enrique Miralles, Oriol Puhigas, or Ricard Bofill, among other world-famous figures. Few projects to reshape the public space have been developed Women at the center – both as creators and as residents – thus favoring projects oriented towards consumption, production and marketing of the city. In other words, there are few projects designed from an eco-feminist urban perspective and focus on creating spaces for well-being, health and care.
The pandemic clearly cause Severe social and health impacts, which particularly affects women due to the increase in unpaid care work. (Ministry of Equality, Government of Spain, 2020). In addition, the epidemic has forced us to be aware From the value of neighborhoods as places of convergence and meetingAnd with the pandemic, we’ve increased the value we give Quiet environments, green and public spaces. However, less is known is how women have gone through different phases of the epidemic in terms of the use and perception of public spaces and what are the implications of this for the current use and perception of public spaces.
According to a recent study led by the BCNUEJ research group (part of ICTA-UAB and IMIM), which carried out more than 900 supplementary questionnaires and interviews in neighborhoods of La Barceloneta and Saint AnthonyBetween June 2021 and January 2022, the frequency, type and opinion of women in public changed during the different phases of the epidemic. These changes have increased the value of these spaces today and increased awareness of the impact of factors such as tourism on their use restrictions.
The study, led by Dr Margarita Trigueiro Mas and Dr Helen Cole, showed that the epidemic led to Deterioration of the general and mental health of women in these two neighborhoods. At the same time, 65% of respondents maintained or increased their use of public spaces close to their homes. The public spaces, especially those with natural elements (the beach and promenade of La Barceloneta and Parc de Montjuïc for the residents of Sant Antoni) have become vitally important spaces for relaxation, fun and even meeting friends and family during, especially, the first months of the pandemic. For example, one of the people interviewed for the study commented: “Now I have many friends here who live in the center, and we always stay downstairs, and we sit on some benches, or on these chairs they put et al.
In addition, according to the study data, maintaining or increasing the use of public spaces during a pandemic is associated with 50% less chance of poor general health and bad Psychological health. As a San Anthony resident puts it, “Using public spaces… has helped me a lot in finding a measure of stability”.
San Antonio and La Barceloneta residents have established a relationship between public spaces and health full of nuances. On the other hand, the initial 2020 mobility restrictions were very harmful for people with chronic problems who used to walk to improve their quality of life. On the other hand, the early months of the epidemic allowed areas with high tourism, such as La Barceloneta, to restore public spaces for the use of neighborhood residents, although at the same time there was an increase in insecurity. On the other hand, with the easing of restrictions, there were crowds in some public places, which prompted the elderly, above all, to stop using these places. A resident of La Barceloneta stated: “The beach became full of people and so I had to walk very carefully and lost the beach. Because it was so crowded that I didn’t dare to go. […] There was a time when it became fashionable to go down to the beach and walk and such-and-such, it just frustrated me. Moreover, with Tourism is backNeighbors reported an increase in anxiety and trouble sleepingespecially in La Barceloneta.
Finally, La Barceloneta and Sant Antoni have been reassessed, given their proximity to services, quiet environments and public spaces – the elements we have needed more than ever to tackle the pandemic. At the same time, both neighborhoods have seen an increase in extremes of homelessness, and thus an increase in the number of homeless people living in public spaces.
In general, womenA call for protection and maintenance of public spaces for meetings, care and well-being, spaces that prioritize their needs and value public space as a space of proximity and health for women in Barcelona. The pandemic must restore urban public spaces in a more permanent and safer way, redesign these spaces in a more inclusive and transformative way, and build a city that can truly be healthy, environmentally feminist, and just.
“Beeraholic. Friend of animals everywhere. Evil web scholar. Zombie maven.”