A feminist perspective on urban politics and social space in the neo-liberal city. Theoretical outlooks and social practices in the Italian context


Gender dimension, from a feminist perspective, in urban policies is a subject that urban planners, urban sociologists, politicians, and activists have often grappled with over time. However, the need to achieve an overall feminist take (Mol) or a gender urban advocacy approach (Kern, 2020) has frequently clashed, in urban activism or in the analysis of policy areas and segments open to gender issues, with a cultural climate resistant to gender inequalities, especially in the context of the neoliberal city. The latter is focused on maximizing its ability to extract value from cities and citizens, and naturally tends not to pay the necessary attention to the spatialization of inequalities (both gender and intersectional) that occur in the urban context. On the other hand, the increasingly widespread adoption of the gender mainstreaming paradigm seems to permeate various institutional levels, descending from the supranational level of the EU, where it was formulated, down to a more formal than substantive incorporation in urban contexts. This paper aims to analyse, first and foremost, from a theoretical perspective with the necessary reference to the gender claim of urban space and the introduction of the gender mainstreaming paradigm in public policies, and secondly with an empirical approach dedicated to Italian metropolitan cities, the ways in which the right to the city (Lefebvre) is interpreted in terms of gender. The goal of the work is to highlight a formalistic and non-substantive adherence to the gender mainstreaming paradigm in the context of Italian cities, where, in the light of references to gender equality in the right to the city, predominantly symbolic and commemorative references to the role of women are made, proceeding only in limited cases towards planning urban spaces and services tailored to women, supporting women's participation in city life, and fully integrating gender issues into the programming of social, educational, and city-sized welfare services.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n25p185

Keywords: Gender Mainstreaming; Social Space; Gender; Italian Metropolitan Cities; Urban policies; Feminism; Citizenship; Communication

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.