From little girls to grand-mothers, women are experiencing urban life very differently to men. It is important to make sure that when we design solutions for cities, that we plan our urban environment and develop technologies that take into account the whole population.
That is why this month, in honour of International Women’s Day, we would like to give a voice to ordinary women from all around the world. How do they live in their cities? What do they like? What are their expectations for tomorrow?
We defend a more gender balanced approach toward smart cities. Discover the extremely interesting testimonial of Agnes below.
Agnes Giannaros is working as design strategist for an innovation consulting firm. She currently lives in Paris and is 26 years old.
She grew up on a Greek Island named Patmos, a little paradise lost in the Aegean Sea that can only be reached by boat. She moved to Paris when she was fifteen years old. She also lived in London (UK), New-York (USA) and Boston (USA).
Agnes' favourite city is …
Boston! I think it is a great mix between a big and small city. It is packed with history, great museums and beautiful architecture, and at the same time it is by the sea with beautiful nature all around.
It is a city where walking is very enjoyable as it is very green and has a lot of healthy trails and parks everywhere.
Another thing I love about Boston is the number of community gardens. Local communities are very invested in them and they help generate so much positive impact socially, environmentally and psychologically.
How do you feel as a women in the city and especially in Paris where you are currently living?
As a woman in the city, I feel empowered and at the same time overwhelmed by the possibilities and options offered to us. In comparison to other cities, in Paris I feel that we are quite spoiled with solutions to satisfy our every little need.
Do you have the same access as men to public spaces?
Overall yes. I have to say however that with the rapid development of technologies in smart cities I think many minorities could get marginalised.
The focus of many companies in this sector is to bring their solution as fast as they can to the market. There is not enough focus on the social impact and long term outcomes of those solutions on society.
What is the first thing that you would like to change in your city right now?
I think Paris needs to rethink the infrastructure and usability of its services. A city is a complex system and I am a firm believer that a good understanding of this system would bring a lot of fluidity and cohesion between stakeholders.
A clear indicator that we lack a proper understanding of what this infrastructure should be is the general discord witnessed during the strikes between pedestrians, cars, e-scooters, bikes, segways...
How do you think new technologies can improve cities, especially for women?
Technologies have the power to improve so much... if they are thought of as tools to achieve sustainable and inclusive solutions. That requires however, that minorities do not get overlooked, and that the technology is at the service of a solution and not at its centre.
Can you share with us what are some meaningful moments that you have experienced in the public space?
I love experiencing moments where random people start talking, or are just kind to each other. It, it almost feels weird at first when it happens, but it creates a small but noticeable positive effect.