On March 25th the event Citymaking: voices from the LGBTQ+ community took place as part of the The Inclusive City: an LGBTQ+ Perspective project. The event, organised in collaboration between the Academy of Urbanism Young Urbanists Network and the Building and Social Housing Foundation, follows on from and presents the results of the #MyQueerCity workshop, where views were gathered around what an inclusive city meant to gender and sexual minorities.
This project illustrated the gaps and inequalities faced by this minority group in the urban context – such as barriers to safe and adequate housing, lack of visibility and representation in citymaking, to concerns about safety in public spaces, loss of community facilities, insufficient funding and commitment by city authorities to tackle LGBTQ+ specific issues, etc. Yet, it also highlighted many creative solutions and enthusiasm around redefining and reclaiming queer spaces.
Two speakers from organisations making real change in improving conditions for LGBTQ+ people in cities presented their work at the event: Lucy Warin from Sexual Avengers talked about ‘re-queering spaces’ through activism and direct action, and Michael Nastari from Stonewall Housing (World Habitat Awards finalist 2016-17) explained how they provide advice or supported housing to vulnerable LGBTQ+ people in housing need. The floor was then opened to the public, and left space for discussions around various related topics, including the effects of gentrification on the LGBTQ+ community, and whether there were good examples of inclusive citymaking for LGBTQ+ people globally.
Mariangela Veronesi, World Habitat Programme Manager and organiser of the event, said, “Despite the many difficulties still faced by the LGBTQ+ community, I believe this event was overwhelmingly marked by a positive willingness and energy to act together to overcome barriers and move towards more inclusive cities, and also helped us reflect on links of solidarity with other underrepresented groups that make up the cities we live in today”.