Data Collection Update

Our workshop this weekend was a success! To inform our design and policy interventions we wanted to speak with practicing planners and urban designers for the dual purpose of learning how these kinds of issues play out in their workplaces and to allow experienced planners to dialogue with each other about these problems.

Our survey is now posted on our website. We are looking to get as many experiences of safety in public space as we can to paint a rich picture of what goes on in public space in New York City. Please take it!

With Jackson Heights as our focus area, we have been conducting person-on-the-street intercept surveys with people using public space in the neighborhood. It will be interesting to compare the intercept surveys with the general NYC survey results and see if Jackson Heights is any difference.

We are just about wrapping up our expert interviews where we are learning a lot about the implications of addressing gaps for trans* and gender non-conforming people in public policy. These discussions will help us decide who will help us the most in disseminating the wide variety of intellect we have collected. 

The studio is entering the essential period of data analysis and we will see you on the other side!


Policing Public Space

As we consider the ways in which urban planning can combat street harassment, a guiding principle of our work is to make safer spaces in ways that go beyond calling for increased police presence.  A non-criminalizing approach guides the work of both our partner organizations, because creating spaces in which women and LGBTQ individuals do not experience harassment is not the work of traditional law enforcement bodies, it is the work of the community.  

This is precisely what makes ending harassment so challenging: it is about changing the culture that has allowed for these public displays of violence.  First, this means broadening recognition that street harassment is violence, and that it shapes the daily experience of so many New Yorkers. Changing the culture means building a platform for those affected by harassment to share their stories, and empowering others to act as allies who are able to identify aggressive behavior and step up to stop it.  Changing the culture also means educating young men and instilling mutual respect early on, instead of enacting punitive measures later on men who are often acting as mirrors of society.  

Simply increasing police presence on certain streets at certain times is not an answer. in communities of color, and particularly among LGBTQ residents of those communities, the presence of the police presents its own problems.  

A 2011 study of Jackson Heights residents conducted by Make the Road NY and the Anti-Violence Project surveyed 305 people on their interactions with police in the area. The study showed trans individuals reported verbal harassment in 51% of times stopped by the police. Trans women in Jackson Heights spoke of their experiences of being profiled by police as sex workers because of their gender expression. In 2012, the NYPD adopted a patrol guide that codified the respectful treatment  of transgender and GNC individuals by police officers.  But the legislation follows years of abuse that has certainly left a scar on how trans, GNC, and gay individuals perceive the police.  

The work of ending street harassment is ultimately about building community, not only between the people who are its targets, but across to those who might not yet realize the reality of this threat.



2.5.2016 | Nick Addamo

GenderInc is proud to partner with Hollaback! in the effort to elevate safety in the urban public realm. Dedicated to fighting street harassment, Hollaback has empowered people in over 79 cities and 26 countries internationally to respond through a smartphone/web application. Users are encouraged to speak up when they see harassment by quickly documenting it in a short post (photo optional) and sharing it to a publicly viewable map. Street harassment is a form of sexual and gender-based harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQI folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Street harassment can be sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, sizeist and/or classist.

At the core of Hollaback!’s model lies the belief that movements start with people telling their stories – and they succeed with people taking action. Thanks to the proliferation of blogging and social media, it is no longer the loudest, wealthiest and most powerful who rule the airwaves: anyone with access to their local library’s internet portal can have a voice. Hollaback! leverages technology to bring voice to an issue that historically has been silenced, and to build leadership within this movement to break the silence. //

Twitter: @ihollaback // @heartmobber

Facebook: //

Instagram: @ihollagram // @heartmob

Share your story and personal street harassment map with the click of a button. Download Hollaback!'s new app for iPhone andAndroid today!


1.26.2016 | Nick Addamo

Institutionalized discrimination is one of the biggest challenges affecting gays and lesbians, and has shaped the LGBTQ community into what it is today. The problems are most acute for members of the transgender community. Transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, particularly those of color, continue to be widely -- and, in many cities, legally -- discriminated against in housing, healthcare, and public accommodations.

The high levels of violence against trans and gender nonconforming people cannot be understated, as the number of trans people murdered in the United States has hit historic highs. Many of these attacks occur in public space, with public transit being a primary location. Recent news reports tell of attacks on trans women on public buses, including a trans woman who was stabbed at a bus stop in Washington, DC. In New York City, a trans woman was pushed onto the subway tracks in 2015. The threat of potential harassment, violence, and murder powerfully inhibit how LGBTQ people use and experience public spaces.

The lived experiences of women and LGBTQ individuals in public spaces have been invisible to planning professionals because their activities are generally considered to be part of the private, not public, realm. In recent decades the planning profession has begun to experience a shift as the notion of who constitutes the public has expanded. New planning paradigms have recognized that there in fact exist multiple publics whose disparate public space needs cannot be dismissed, and planning practices are changing as a result.

As part of Hunter College’s Master of Urban Planning program capstone, the Gender Inclusive Planning Studio (GenderInc) will produce a report describing planning interventions and policy recommendations that will elevate LGBTQ safety and equity in the urban public realm. We will use the Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens as a focus area for our efforts, as it is home to a large LGBTQ population and has been the site of several recent instances of gender-based violence. Jackson Heights also contains varied land uses, transportation options, and a richly diverse populace, enough so to capture the wide range of planning issues that one could encounter in New York City at large.

Our initiatives and recommendations will be aimed at reducing harassment and violence against LGBTQ people in public spaces, with a particular focus on public transit as well as on transit’s street-level access points. These recommendations and initiatives will be specifically designed to be executed on a broader level across the five boroughs of New York City. Such a citywide application of the report’s findings would position New York City as a national leader in addressing gender-based violence and harassment.

Join us in elevating LGBTQ safety and equity in the urban public realm. 

Facebook: GenderInc Studio

Twitter: @GenderIncStudio