Ecofeminist Art: on the concepf of heritage

  • Publish On 7 October 2021
  • Tara Londi
  • 28 minutes

The Anthropocene invites us to move beyond the idea of progress, universalism, and the logic of separation or domination of the modern project. It results in a fundamental change in the paradigm of contemporary art, especially around ecofeminist practices, which Tara Londi views as stemming from the feminist avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s. The critique of the capitalist exploitation of nature, therefore, ties in with that of the patriarchal oppression of women in ecofeminist artistic practices, revealing the unspoken history of women, Indigenous peoples, or animals. Beyond the rationalism of the visual realm and of language, archaic animist and holistic visions are revived.


“Women, natives and animals have no history.” Rosi Braidotti

Where, then, the voice of the unheard melody? And the voice of the unheard language?” St. Hildegard of Bingen

Naming what is and what is not ‘eco-feminist art’ confronts various paradoxes. The first paradox is that it risks advancing the idea that contemporary women artists as a gendered category carry a shared vision and sensibility towards nature, which is different from men. It perpetuates a kind of gender essentialism’ which is incompatible with the logic of ‘eco-feminism’ itself.

The term eco-feminism, coined by Françoise d’EaubonneD’Eaubonne Françoise, Le Féminisme ou la Mort, 1974, Pierre Horay. in 1974, describes the wide range of women’s efforts to protect the environment and unearth the historical roots of prejudices against themselves and nature. It calls for a cultural transformation in society and a renewed vision of both.

Women artists are considered eco-feminist because their work directly relates to the environment and to the roles of women in society and because they raise awareness of specific eco-feminist issues, whilst implying that if all life is interconnected, then a group of people whether they are women or men cannot be closer to nature.

However it is no coincidence that contemporary art in the Anthropocene features a growing number of women artists. Neither is it an accident that many male artists are contributing to the wider eco-feminist discourse even if this is inadvertent.

If the term eco-feminism seems in many ways redundant – since feminism always carries an ecological import – then it can also be said that much of what we consider contemporary art at large is closely associated with, if not initiated, by the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Identity-based art, crafts-based art, body art, the collaborative methods of working, as well as the socio-political concerns of representation, ideology and iconology of violence (to name but a few) are all feminist introductions that have been assimilated by contemporary art at large.

Even more crucial to the current debate around an ecological revision is identifying the “dynamics underlying the dominance of man over woman as paramount to understanding every expression of patriarchal and capitalist culture with its hierarchical, militaristic, mechanistic, industrial formsSpretnak Charlene, ‘Ecofeminism: Our Roots and Flowering”, Elmwood Newsletter 4 (1988): 1, quoted by Birkeland Janis in ‘Ecofeminism: Linking Theory and Practice”, Ecofeminism, Women, Animals, Nature, edited by Gaard Greta, 1993, Temple University Press, Philadelphia..’ As Engels puts it, ‘the first class oppression is that of the female sex by the male” and as Silvia Federici stresses, ‘capitalism starts as a war on women.’

Much of what we consider to be the latest cultural developments have to do with gains in the feminist project for equality and a general review of the values associated with femininity and virility. Olivia Gazalé analyses that to be a man is not only to be ‘not a woman’ but much more problematically, not to be ‘effeminate’. The viriarchal system does not only organise relationships between the sexes, and species, but extends to order relations of domination between men themselves: to be a man is to dominate. Therefore, Gazalé writes, the historic reduction of women has not only oppressed women and allowed the exploitation of nature, but also alienated men from themselves, as men who are ‘Other’, or ‘Sub-men’, and ‘It is under the effect of its own internal logic, rather than merely under the pressures posed by the feminist movement, that it has entered a crepuscular phase’Gazale Olivia, Le mythe de la virilité. Un piège pour les deux sexes, 2019, Robert Laffont..

Putting aside consideration as to whether Gazalé’s prophecy extends globally, I would argue that thanks to a series of ‘entanglements’ today we are witnessing a review of the values upon which patriarchy and capitalism are erected, and in the cultural domain, a dawn of a Feminine era.

The assertion of ‘difference” explored by eco-feminist art, is therefore not merely biological, but based on the historical socialisation and oppression of women, or values associated with femininity.

The second paradox when naming eco-feminist art is regarding it as a contemporary feminist invention when in fact, cultural/spiritual ecofeminism is firmly rooted in and connected to the very first expression of what it means to be human – deep in the caves of the upper Palaeolithic – or even deeper still in human origin stories.

In an essay in MousseBucknell Alice, ‘The New Mystics: High-Tech Magic for the Present””, Mousse Magazine 69, Fall 2019., Alice Bucknell defines a generation of artists who invest mystical para-fiction with a critique on the violent superstructure of patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism and the resulting ecological crisis. Different to previous twentieth century utopia projects (think Buckminster Fuller), or illustrative ‘appropriation’ of a ‘symbolic shaman’ (think Joseph Beuys), these artists reclaim their heritage and transcend their history of abuse, ready to unleash infinite possibilities for a ‘new world’ through psychedelic performances and immersive experiences. The use of pagan worship sites, ancient tongues, quasi-religious deities and forgotten origin stories leave no space for nostalgia. Like the stories that inspired them, part of an oral tradition – and thanks to technology – their immersive interactive installations are continuously re-adapted and allowed to grow and transform accordingly.

Charwei Tsai, Lotus Mantra II, 2006


Oral tradition, as opposed to historical documents, is paramount here because culture, as in ‘the intelligence of past men’, is passed on not in ashes but as living fire.

In On the Concept of History, Walter Benjamin warned us: ‘History is written by the victors’. This is why feminists speak of ‘His-tory’. Indeed, ‘…historical scholarship, up to the most recent past, has seen women as marginal to the making of civilisation and as unessential to those pursuits defined as having historical significance’.Gerda Lerner, founder of Women’s history, with her course on ‘Great Women in American History” in 1963. Eco-feminist art faces this challenge. Relying as it does on the missing pages of women history, it is not rooted in His-tory, but upon Heritage, as the lasting ethos of the occulted and suppressed history of half of humanity.

Not only women, natives and animals’ history was never recorded, but Leonard ShlainShlain, Leonard, The Alphabet Versus The Goddess. The Conflict Between Word And Image, 1998, Viking Press. proposes that the written language, in its linearity from left to right, literally before and after – at least in the western world – presents constraints that are antithetical to the very formulations and expression of some ideas and notions, like principles of simultaneity, multiplicity and immanence, that are central to eco-feminist art. Shlain makes connections across a wide range of subjects including brain function, anthropology, history, and religion, and argues that literacy reinforced the brain’s linear, abstract, predominantly masculine, left hemisphere at the expense of the holistic, iconic feminine right one. Shlain points out that the first book to be written, the Old Testament, banned any visual representation of god, suppressing long standing artistic traditions of devotion to the goddess, and believes that the increasing use of images and icons as means of communication, play fundamental roles in human consciousness, with inevitable repercussions on gender identity and relations’.

‘The Medium is the Message’. Ursula K. Le Guin’s also maintains that the way we tell stories has feminist implications for understanding history and for imagining the future. In ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’, Le Guin proposes that storytelling has not always been about a hunt with a beginning, middle, and end, but can be a meandering sweep—a gathering.

Indeed eco-feminist art plays an important role, because not only it tells what history cannot, but because identifying totems, symbolisms and creeds adopted by male and female artists often working in oppressive regimes, reveals and reawaken a conception of Nature that pushes beyond the physical realm and extends into a wider super-natural dimension – a sacred living energy of the cosmos.

By resurrecting ancient belief systems which have been bleached out of history, and adopting and activating speculative worlds, contemporary artists are questioning systems of knowledge, biology, ecology, geology and anthropology, moving beyond the supremacy of the visual and the constraints of language, and immersing the viewer (or feeler?) into a ‘liminal space’.

This space is away from the biases and prejudices in which human utterance is soaked and allows sensation to disrupt and expand human consciousness. Progress in this sense, is understood not as in the increase of knowledge, but in freeing it from its wrappings.

Feminist art’s emphasis on the body, is therefore crucial. As St. Hildegard of Bingen wrote a thousand years ago, ‘we understand so little of what is around us, because we do not use what is within us’. Donna Haraway also appeals for the introduction of a feminist epistemology, providing the ground upon which contemporary artists are formulating a newly ‘inclusive aesthetic’Bourriaud Nicolas, Inclusioni, L’Estetica del Capitalocene, Postmedia Books, 2020. aimed at disrupting the canon.

Since Feminist artists resurrected the figure of the goddess as an archetype for feminine consciousness and a model for re-sacralising women’s bodies and the mystery of human sexuality, far from the simple idolisation of women, the figure of the goddess became a symbol of life, connection and responsibility. In large part thanks to the pagan Wicca movement, the Ggoddess became a catalyst for an emerging earth-centred spirituality, and a metaphor for the earth as a living organism. Eco-feminist theorist Carolyn Merchant powerfully demonstrates how the interchangeable view of women and nature will inform and allow the scientific revolution’s project for the subjugation and exploitation of both, providing the ground for contemporary capitalism. Merchant highlights the misogynist language adopted by Francis Bacon, one of the founders of Modern Science: ‘I have come in very truth leading you to nature with all her children to bind her to your service and make her your slave’ and the implication of Rene Descartes’s view of human bodies.Merchant Carolyn, The Death of Nature. Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution, Harper & Row, 1980. Susan Bardo describes the process of detachment from an organic world, as a ‘drama of parturition, a flight away from the feminine, far from the memory of union with the maternal world and a rejection of all the values associated with it’Bordo, Susan. The Flight to Objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and Culture. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1987., which is replaced by an obsession with distance and demarcation. ‘The machine to make the new man was also a machine to kill old women’.

Charwei Tsai, Hair Dance, Lanyu Seascapes, Shi Na Paradna, en collaboration avec Tsering Tashi Gyalthang, 2012

In a multi-sensory installation, titled Tremble Tremble, Jesse Jones awakens the voice of Lucy, our three million-year-old Australopithecus fossil ancestor, the voices of the sixteenth century witch trials and the contemporary voices concerning  the legal issue of abortion in Ireland. Jones draws from her research into how the law transmits memory between generations and intimates an alternative original history for women under ‘The Law of In Utera Gigantae’ – a symbolic, gigantic body that places the maternal body above the law and state entirely. ‘Before the Book of the Law was written in earthly tongues, there existed another law, passed down through generations, daughter to daughter. Its letters were written in milk and spoken in whispers’.

The revelation of a ‘mother right’ that was not confined to any particular people but marks a cultural stage globally was widely accepted in nineteenth century, but became systematically occulted until recently. Emanuele Coccia writes that the exclusion of women from participating in culture has had profound repercussions on our perceived position in the web of life. ‘All of us forget that we are born… Yet, to be born means to not be pure, to be not oneself, to have within oneself something that comes from elsewhere. We carry within ourselves our parents, our grandparents, their parents, the pre-human monkeys, the fish, the batteries, down to the smallest atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen etc.’Coccia Emanuele, La Métamorphose, 2020 Bibliothèque Rivage.

The witches inquisition was not only instrumental to capitalism because it allowed the appropriation of women’s reproductive rights and landFederici Silvia, Caliban et la sorcière. Femmes, corps, et accumulation primitive, 2004, Entremonde Senonevero., but because the witches’ view of nature was anti-hierarchical and their world everywhere infused with spirits. Every natural object, every animal, every tree contained a spirit whom the witch could summon at will, hence, the witch, a symbol of the violence of nature, was to be eradicated.

The old name for ‘witch’ indicates a long-standing tradition of oracular ceremonies in communion with the earth. When addressing the global history of women’s spiritual leadership, Max Dashu, founder of the Suppressed History Archive, wrote that we lack adequate terms to describe the breadth of heritages and practices of ‘women priestesses’ and that their varied range of titles open up a wider array of culturally-defined meanings and roles. Shaman, medicine woman, diviner, spirit-medium, oracle, sibyl and wise woman but also ethnic titles such as machi, sangoma, eem, babaylan and mae de santo offer us only a glimpse of a vast global picture where women are spiritual leaders. Hence the mistake in reducing witches to their history of persecution.

In contrast, Marguerite Humeau’s online sound piece WeedsWeeds, Marguerite Humeau, Jeu de Paume, Paris, February 2021. pays homage to the history of all women healers whose contribution to science was omitted through history, inventing names for those whose identity remains sealed; CosmosCosmos, A Visionary Dialogue with Contemporary Art, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, February–May 2021., an exhibition on artist and healer Emma Kunz, invites contemporary women artists to expand on her practice and conception of art incorporating medicine and nature, as well as the supernatural, magical, animistic and visionary; the exhibition RITUEL.LE.SRITUEL.LE.S Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes, 30.10.2020–21.03.2021. examined feminist ritual and the power of transformation of the self and the world, as the basis of collective emancipation, presenting, among others, Ana Mendieta’s now iconic Siluetas series, where the artist uses her own body in an attempt to permanently merge with nature, and Suzanne Husky’s video ’‘Earth Cycle Trance. This work offers the viewer a spellbinding meditative experience on the cycles of living things, performed by the Wicca spiritual leader and witch, Starhawk.

Donna Huanca, Obsidian Ladder, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles et Peres Projects, Berlin
Photographe : Joshua White
Charwei Tsai, Hair Dance, Lanyu Seascapes, Shi Na Paradna, in collaboration with Tsering Tashi Gyalthang, 2012

Reviving the mythology of the feminine

Korean-Canadian artist Zadie Xa also resurrects Korean shamanism as a uniquely feminist and anti-colonial culture. “The shaman is a grandmother, and she’s me. I think about these things generationally: how does this knowledge of self pass on to your descendants and continue into the futureZadie Xa, “Art is a Shapeshifter: Zadie Xa in conversation with Sarah Shin,” Remai Modern, December 17, 2020. ?” Korean mythology and storytelling are central to her immersive multimedia experiences and so is the oceanic depth as a state of tension, a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. In a sub-aquatic environment, Xa revives the Korean spirit Magohalmi and channels her energy with the tale of J2/Granny, a real-life orca known to have guided her pod with her survival skills until her death in 2016 when she would have been, according to scientists, between 80 and 120 years old. In Moon Poetics 4, Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers (2020), Xa invites the audience to become the protagonist in the shamanic tale of Princess Bari who travelled to the underworld in search of life-saving water to cure her dying parents. Guided by five beings—Conch, Orca, Seagull, Cabbage, and Fox—the fantastical journey through multiple dimensions is underscored by the damage caused by humankind’s impact on the sea, air, and land and the interconnectedness of every form of life on Earth.

As Nicolas Bourriaud writes, “recent evolutions of mentalities, in particular with regard to the history of colonized peoples or the advances of feminism, allow us to rewrite the history of artNicolas Bourriaud, Inclusions. Esthétique du capitalocène (Paris: PUF, 2021)..”

Yet, positioning women alongside or after minorities is sometimes confusing. Far from being a minority, women represent nearly half of the world’s population and the majority of colonized cultures can be regarded as an example of egalitarian societies, where women’s contribution is valued just as much as man’s. Within aboriginal traditional knowledge—usually described as holistic, involving body, mind, feelings, and spirit—women hold equal power to men, play central roles in almost all creation legends, and are deeply involved in the transmission of traditional teachings. A degradation of the role of women was also a consequence of the Spanish Conquest. When Western theorists have reported on traditional societies, cultural and sexist biases have interfered, and most accounts attribute these traditional art activities to women only by implicit assumption. Yet, “The Western notion of ‘primitivism’ should not be confused with the artistic expression of fully developed cultures of the pre-technological worldJean Feinberg, Lenore Goldberg, Julie Gross, Bella Lieberman, and Elizabeth Sacre, “Political Fabrications: Women’s Textiles in Five Cultures,” Heresies 1, no. 4, (Winter 1977–78): 28., and behind the simplistic definitions of Navajo weavings for instance, hides what Donna Haraway calls a “cosmological performanceDonna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016).

In Navajo culture, prayers to Hózhó traditionally accompany weaving. Translated as beauty or harmony, to be “in Hózhó” is to be at one with and part of the world around you. Donna Haraway goes on to say that “weaving patterns propose and embody world making and world-sustaining relations.” The inherent “sensibility” of the cosmos stories such as The Changing Woman, The Holy Twins, The Spider Woman (who is said to have created weaving), and Holy People, is the pattern for right living. “Weaving is neither secular nor religious; it is sensible. It performs and manifests the meaningful lived connections for sustaining kinship, behavior, relational action—for hózhó— for humans and nonhumans. Situated worlding is ongoing.”Ibid.

The resurrection of women’s traditional practices by the feminist art movement in the 1970s today goes beyond recognizing women’s participation in culture and society at large but proposes to resurrect belief systems we have otherwise very few words to describe. Robin Wall Kimmerer speaks of over 350 indigenous languages in the Americas that are on the verge of disappearing, including her native Potawatomi. While English is a noun-based language (where thirty percent of words are verbs), in Potawatomi seventy percent of words can be conjugated to be both animate and inanimate. For example, to be a hill, to be a sandy beach, to be a Saturday are all possible verbs, revealing a “grammar of animacy.” “The arrogance of English is that the only way to be animate, to be worthy of respect and moral concern, is to be a humanRobin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2013)..” Kimmerer advances, “That’s where I really see storytelling and art playing that role, to help move consciousness in a way that these legal structures of rights of nature makes perfect senseJames Yeh interview with Robin Wall Kimmerer, “People can’t understand the world as a gift unless someone shows them how,” Guardian (May 23, 2020).

Donna Huanca, Obsidian Ladder, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles et Peres Projects, Berlin — Photographer : Joshua White


Presently, the legal system rests upon anthropocentric beliefs, as Isabelle Stengers reminds on ‘…the invention of the power to confer on things the power of conferring on the experimenter the power to speak in their name’.

Donna Huanca questions systems of knowledge, drawing upon the indigenous imaginary and the animist belief that all forms of existence have within them a vital affecting force. In futuristic-prehistoric scenarios, bodies fluctuate freely into a slow-paced choreography made of private rituals and meditations that are then shared in the group. Paintings, sculptures and performers are all permeated with cosmetic  pigments, unifying the animate with the inanimate, the human with the mineral, the organic with the synthetic. When asked whether the vibrant blue in her work references Yves Klein’s blue, Huanca declined to place her work within art historical narratives. Her role is instead to experiment with visions of what a feminized future would look like, what it would value. ‘For me’, she says, ‘that looks like care, trust, community, the natural world, and the interconnectedness and dependence of bodies with the natural world’.

It is easy to overlook how many women artists have also proposed a similarly inclusive, non-anthropocentric vision of the world. In The Language of the GoddessGimbutas Marjia, The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization, Harper San Francisco, 1991, Marjia Gimbutas maintains that the goddess of nature is the lasting ethos of what can be regarded as the civilization of the goddess. Not a religion per se but a ‘Sensible Way’ that is especially alive within the agricultural beliefs of those rural places that have been shielded from history’s great events. The archaic aspects that concern agriculture, and the periodic need to renew the generative processes of nature, live on in the present, ‘passed on by the grandmothers and mothers of the European family’. Much of the symbolism of the early agriculturists is inherited from hunters, such as images of fish, snakes, birds, horns, eggs and geometrical signs that are seldom abstract in any genuine sense but refer to natural elements. Several types of symbols are tightly interwoven and stem from a holistic perception of the world where humans are not isolated from their surroundings and it is normal to find power in stones, birds, and all natural elements.

Suzanne Husky recently ventured on a podcast series with Hervé Coves a Franciscan and agricultural engineer in the attempt to explain the connection between symbols, myths, the cycles of the earth and spirituality. On her website she quotes David Abram, ‘Only when the written text began to speak did the voices of the forest and the river begin to fade”.

Mathilde Rosier creates suspended environments that allow viewers to lose their perception of time and space, offering an entry into other possible dimensions of being and existence. In a performance recorded before the opening of Impersonal Empires at Galleria Raffaella Cortese, two dancers repeatedly remove the letters and signs on the floor, and waltzed across the rooms, surrounded by paintings where underwater creatures – half women, half shells, fish and other marine beings – emerge from the subconscious as fully formed images. ‘The viewers bear witness of a birth, the budding of a new language and thus that of a new reality, yet one that is too young to be codified’Impersonal Empires, Mathilde Rosier at Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan, 2018..

Taiwanese Charwei Tsai inscribes Buddhist scriptures that distil the wisdom of impermanence on organic materials, such as an octopus, plants and tofu. Central to her practice is the relationship between humans and nature, death and rebirth, and the symbiotic relationship between sustainability, tradition, and ritual, often explored in collaboration with indigenous communities of her home country.

Romana Londi folds time to its extremities and, inspired by ancient rituals to the sun, such as Newgrange in Ireland, the artist reflects on the state of alienation inherent in Jet-Lag, as the physiological hangover of the Great Acceleration, and the newly globalized, digital world. Romana Londi pushes the boundaries of painting and creates reactionary, sensual, utterly Sentient Beings that respond to their immediate surroundings, through chameleonic shifts in color activated by UV light, the ‘invisible’ primary condition for the possibility of life on earth. Her works are perpetual re-negotiations that resist any description. As Pierre Huyghe’s says of his early works, it is less ‘a question of ‘process,” which is too linear, but of a ‘vibrating temporality’. Again, ‘situated worlding is on-going’.

Zygmunt Bauman’s Liquid Times, Living in the Age of Uncertainty defines a generation whom, just like the first nomad humans, is living in the permanence of transitoriness. Bauman distinguished between the alienation of modern man, who was a pilgrim looking for his new home, and that of the postmodern man, a tourist who is aware that his life will never amount to anything solid..

Impersonal Empire, The Buds, Mathilde Rosier, 2018

Perhaps art in the Anthropocene are slippery steps towards a home, yet a home that, like the bottom of the ocean, becomes a state of tension. The body becomes the portal through which one can immerse oneself into a sea of possibilities. The body itself contains symptoms and traces of these possibilities that, like tiny fish, escape language and the purely visual, in favour of a consciousness that can only be revealed to us, within the dark experience of the body.

As Rosi Braidotti writes, matter matters. ‘The body needs to be understood as a self-organising body, yet the limits of one’s skin – porous, highly intelligent, which processes information as we go – these are the limits of our perception – complex, multiple but not infinite’Rosi Braidotti, Frieze interviews, 12 August 2014. Braidotti’s emphasis on matter, and the continuity between matter and mind, and between human bodies and the world in which they live opposes speculative realism’s tendency to omit ‘the politics of locations of the subject of who speaks’.

The last paradox in naming what is eco-feminist art, is whether this generation of highly eco-conscious artists’ adoption of technology, and synthetic materials is contradictory, or if it can’t be avoided without losing touch with where we stand today: whether renouncing techno-advancements can be equivalent to extinguishing the flame of culture, passing it on as ashes.

Nevertheless, it is not only through art history that we can understand art practices in the anthropocene at large, but also through the feminist and eco-feminist theories that inadvertently and inevitably inform our day and age. So, maybe it is true that this is the dawn of the feminine era, but eco-feminist art, and exploring women’s heritage, reveal that it is not the first time the sun rose to it.

Romana Londi, Blushing (Pink as fuck), 2021




A Multilevel Approach to Care

The logic of domination is now broadly called into question and the pandemic crisis has indeed revealed the importance of everyday professions, giving new relevance to care ethics. These encompass a general attitude of care as well as an entire field of occupations and practices that are made invisible. Philosopher Sandra Laugier, who popularized the concept in France, traces its roots back to the feminist struggles that aimed to make another voice heard, in the opposition between ethics centered on good and evil, which are rather male and highly valued, and ethics centered on responsibility, which tend to be female and discredited. Care thus offers a systemic framework that makes it possible to take into account vulnerability and responsibility at all scales, from the household to the planet.


Rethinking Urban Spaces through Gender Mainstreaming

8 March 2022

The city of the future will be more sustainable, leveraging technology and nature, but it must also be more inclusive, which entails conducting efforts to engage in reflexivity regarding the making of the city. For feminist geographer Leslie Kern, the urban environment is not neutral. It was set up to support standards and power relations and was long operated by white men from the upper classes. She invites us to examine a broader spectrum of needs of city dwellers and to reintroduce embodied reality into urban design. This results in tangible spatial interventions, for instance, on lighting and walkways, but also on social issues, around mixed use and taking into account marginalized voices in the decision-making processes.


Looking at the city from a gender perspective

For feminist geographer Leslie Kern, the urban environment is not neutral and stems from norms and power dynamics. She calls for a greater variety of urban user needs to be examined, and for physicality to be reintroduced into urban design. This translates into spatial and social interventions around mixed use considerations and taking into account marginalised voices in decision-making processes.