Bringing bodies into planning: Visceral methods, fear and gender violence

TitleBringing bodies into planning: Visceral methods, fear and gender violence
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSweet, EL, Escalante, SOrtiz
JournalUrban Studies
Keywordsbody mapping, gender violence, shared sensory spatial expediences, urban planning, visceral methods
AbstractPlanning has been ineffective at addressing women’s fear of violence and violence against women in part because of the false public/private divide. This divide is parallel and mutually supported by parochial and conservative understandings of male and female gender constructions and norms in spaces and social structural systems. We propose exploring the actual spaces of bodies and planning at the scale of bodies since bodies are at the nexus of public–private spaces, gender identities and gender violence. Using bodies as geographical spaces to understand and analyse visceral experiences and fear of violence may help diminish the dominance of the public–private divide and challenge the unequal rights women have to use space. Based on exploratory workshops in New York City, Mexico City and Barcelona as well as research events in Medellin, we share our experiences using visceral methods including body-map storytelling and shared sensory spatial experiences, also evaluating their usefulness. We examine the ethics of visceral methods, ways to analyse body-mapped data and the use of planners’ bodies as tools in research and practice. We conclude that bodies have the potential to become a source of dynamic and reflective information that might be effectively used by planners and communities to make places better and safer.