Women and Public Spaces

In this section, women from different cities across India share their perceptions of public space; the factors that determine their varying levels of comfort; spaces they prefer to frequent with their friends/family and those they sometimes visit on their own. They also talk about how public spaces in our cities can be made safer for women.

A homemaker from Ahmedabad, Gita likes to walk around her society to get a breath of fresh air when her day’s work is done. She is particularly fond of the Sola Bhagwat temple from where she derives the much needed peace.

Interviewee: Gita Vyas

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

An architect from the small town of Ziro, Subha talks of a simple, public space which is frequented by the local for the lack of a defined community space. It is a place that gives one an expansive view of the serene landscape. These details transport us to the location itself, where one can take in its fresh air! Her idea of women safety is not a generic one but stems from and applies, mostly, to her own town.

Interviewee: Subha H

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A former history student, Eeshani lives at the outskirts of Indore and prefers to visit the nearby running track. Interestingly, she highlights how the same place becomes unsafe in the evening. She also talks of Indore in light of its rapid urbanization. 

Interviewee: Eeshani J

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A homemaker and a professional cleaner, Taraka yearns to escape the city noise to be at calmer places. She is straightforward and clear about what she wants from her place of respite.

Interviewee: Taraka O

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A homemaker and an H.R. Professional from Chandigarh, Hemakshi likes to take her child to the neighbourhood park. And with her Mother, she likes to visit the city plaza. Throughout the talk, she brings out well the planned aspects of her city.

Interviewee: Hemakshi N

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A homemaker and a businesswoman from Panjim, Sheetal explains why walking at the local beach is her most enjoyable experience. She is appreciative of the walking experience that the city gives her, in general as well as the fact that it functions at a comfortable pace.

Interviewee: Sheetal Surve

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

An architecture student from Bengaluru, Maanvi guides you through places that one can hop around in here which include attractions like Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh. She explains why this city has an ‘old world charm’ to it and concludes with a unique idea to ensure women safety.

Interviewee: Maanvi K

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A student of urban design from Bhilai, Riya talks of the residual empty spaces between bungalows as the ideal open space in terms of accessibility and physicality, for people of her generation and younger. She points out that the public places to be avoided are some of the male-dominated areas she has visited. She puts forward a few recommendations.

Interviewee: Riya Singh

 

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A software developer by profession, Rushi describes her select choices of public spaces in Jamshedpur. She talks about why she does not like visiting parks and raises issues regarding public transportation in the city. On account of having a hearing impairment herself, she presents to us a unique perspective.

Interviewee: Rushi Sen

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

Sharvani is a chartered accountancy student who lives in the ‘Salt Lake’ area of Kolkata. She shares that this neighborhood has ample parks and describes the one she prefers for her morning walks. On a general note, she suggests that the Hooghly river ghat has the potential to become a major attraction for Kolkata.

Interviewee: Sharvani G

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

Kajal is a homemaker from Pune, who clearly states reasons on why a mall is the ideal go-to place for any homemaker. Living close to a highway, she also points out why she, compulsorily, has to take out her car to reach even the nearest market. However, she has also shared, in detail, her delight for the nearby street market. 

Interviewee: Kajal Singh

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

Sunita is a homemaker residing in Ahmedabad. She likes to walk in her neighbourhood parks and draws a comparison between two of them, at ONGC and the Railway ground. Her occasional visits with her husband, to the Narmada canal on the city outskirts are special for her. She finds that the surrounding greenery and the water body give her a lot of joy. 

Interviewee: Sunita Sharma

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A teacher by profession and a long-time resident of Jamshedpur, Sapna is always excited to visit new places that offer different kinds of food. She shares with us her experiences of a street food lane where most people in their neighbourhood stop by on their way to the city market. She talks about the needs and concerns of both visitors and vendors.

Interviewee: Sapna Jacob

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

Debleena who is a recent graduate and trained as a software engineer describes the public spaces in Bhubaneshwar where she has spent her college years. She draws our attention to two kinds of spaces that she would visit: tourist spots and “hangout” spots. She narrates what is unique about them both.

Interviewee: Debleena Sarkar

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A student of urban design, Anushka talks about Patna’s Gandhi Maidan as an open space that lends itself to several people for leisure activities. It particularly serves as a many-in-one cricket ground. She points out that a public space seems to belong to those who claim it. She emphasizes the need for girls and women to be there at this huge ground to make their mark in a public place where today cricket dominates.

 

Interviewee: Anushka Priyedarshi

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

A landscape architect by profession, Shanthi Kavi always finds the time to stop by the Besant Nagar beach in Chennai. She shares that she is mesmerized by the water, waves, colour, sand and enjoys watching the different kinds of people who come by. She explains why the beach is a “must visit” place for the locals although there a few parks nearby too. The concern she highlights is primarily regarding sanitation.

Interviewee: Shanthi Kavi

Interviewer: Vidisha Sahay

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