Planning for Safer and More Inclusive Places for Women and Girls

About this guidance

In Essex, and across all of the associated planning authorities, we recognise the importance of living in a safe and inclusive environment, and we recognise the role of urban design and planning in creating these areas.  A traditionally under-served group in this regard is women and girls, who have historically not been one of the key considerations in placemaking and design.  We have produced this guidance to encourage developers, applicants, and local authorities to design schemes for new developments that address the safety of women and girls within our public areas.

We continue to remain in line with the most relevant and up to date developments in the field of urban design in an aim to create more positive and people-friendly public realms, and an increasingly common point of discussion in this regard is inclusivity. The principle of inclusivity challenges us all to create spaces that are designed with the interests of the whole of society in mind. A key aspect of inclusivity is considering the needs of women and girls – asking how we can develop built environments that respond to their needs, and that allow them to feel safe and included.

The key objectives of our strategy to develop safer and more inclusive spaces for women and girls are as follows:

  • To create movement networks that are safe, legible, and sustainable
  • To create public spaces that are well-used, contextually located, functional, and open
  • To create sustainable and liveable communities that utilise natural surveillance and active frontages to deliver safe and comfortable environments
  • To balance street lighting with our other obligations, such as climate efficiency and biodiversity
  • To create play spaces for children and young people that are open and inclusive to various forms of play
  • To create public transport links that are efficient, clear, and safe
  • To create parks and other forms of green infrastructure that are contextually located, safe, well-used, well-maintained, and aesthetically pleasing

Page updated: 29/06/2023

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