We, humans, have a very typical and absurd trait of seeing humans as everything else but humans. This trait is prevailing in our world since the dawn of the human race. One such toxic trait, yes I repeat myself, toxic trait, is the disparity based on the gender of an individual. History has it said, ever since evolution; there is gender bias in some form or the other.
If you look around in the world we’re living in, you can easily see the binary. Certainly! It is that easy to see binary, ironic, isn’t it? But there is a revolution taking place. It would be immoral of me to say it’s now that the revolution is happening; there have been people since the ancient times that have devoted their lives to eradicating gender inequality.
We can easily identify the hypocrisy prevailing which signifies the dominance of the male gender above the others. I specifically mention the others because it is high time for us to adapt to the basic minimal idea of genders apart from male and female. We cannot deny one’s human rights on any basis, Nelson Mandela has said, “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
You must be wondering why all of this is mentioned in an architectural manuscript. Architecture, my friend, is a powerful mode of expression which has the potential to impact the vigilant brains. We as architects often undervalue this power of ours. But change is evident and we can see it.
Architecture has extensive wings. One of them, community design has gender equality enrooted deeply. Community design emphasizes discovering various means to make it possible to involve people in shaping and developing their environment. For a better environment to reside in one of the basic requirements includes the involvement of all the individuals irrespective of their gender. Community design is an umbrella term housing community planning, community architecture, social architecture, community development, and community participation, all of which focuses on the involvement of local people in the social and physical development and well-being of the environment in which they reside. Community design is a modern professional solution that specifies the insufficiency of technical knowledge solely to resolve social problems.
Community designing has been evolving ever since its existence. Because why would one not avail the opportunity to get involved in the designing of their own space? But then the question arises whether there is any gender equality in community design?
If you ask me how relevant it is to get gender equality in designing a community I would better state it this way – I get up straight and design a space where you will be living, without accepting any suggestions from you about it or just let me put it up straight not accepting your thoughts only because of your gender, which has nothing to do with the issue, how would you feel? Thus, don’t bother asking if it’s relevant or not.
There was a time when the architect was the sole and only creator of the structures and the people had nothing to do with the same. Some basic requirements are provided and there it is! But as time passed, it was for the people to realize that structures have more to it, architecture is a form of expression. Where you live and reside does say a lot about you, it does! This made common people and architects realize the need of community design. This I would say was/is the golden phase of architecture.
The concept of gender equality emerged in community design with a basic sense of authority of having a part to be played by all the members who will be residing in the space. Genders had a crucial role to play in a hypocrite world with a set of privileged people. (I’ll avoid addressing only the male gender as the privileged) Time makes people realize what and how things should be and here we stand at the stroke of a historic period and a phase where we have architects and designers with a basic intellect of addressing community-based designs with the accordance of all individuals residing irrespective of them being a man, a woman, a Trans or any other.
Isn’t it beautiful that the world which once was against equality and tolerance of one’s freedom is nowhere on a threshold which once surpassed we will have a world we all intellectual beings dreamt of, the world where every individual has freedom, respect, and dignity to receive and offer?
Do you know what the most fascinating thing about this is? We architects have a special and crucial share in this as we stand upright considering gender equality in architecture through community design. Architects are offering a platform for people of all genders to speak up about what is expected by them and how should their space be designed for them, which perfectly makes sense, doesn’t it? Irrespective of how patriarchy had led the civilization, which has been witnessed throughout history, here we are hoping for a change, a revolution, a fightback, and a place to feel thoroughly free, rightful, and most importantly respected!