Feminist City


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Women - Reclaim the city!

About the Author

Leslie Kern is an associate professor of geography and environment and  director of women's and gender studies at Mount Allison University. She  is the author of Sex and the Revitalized City: Gender, Condominium Development, and Urban Citizenship.


A damning stab at the subtle and overt manipulation of women in urban spaces. Kern's interwoven references to her personal experience through childhood, adulthood, and motherhood make her deeply researched and whip-smart work infinitely readable. Kern shows that the ability of all women to exploit the city fully is a valuable, necessary gauge for city worth
*Lezlie Lowe, author of No Place To Go*

This original study of the gendering processes occurring in the neoliberal city is a significant addition to scholarly debate on cities and gender. Empirically grounded in the intricacies of the condo market in Toronto, it both adds to, and updates, the pathbreaking work around gendered critical urban analysis. An accessible and incisive text that will no doubt instigate future discussions
*[for Sex and the Revitalised City]*

How do we begin to reckon with and ultimately reimagine our public realm in the #MeToo era? We can start by lifting up a greater diversity of experiences and voices that influence our thinking about what makes a place equitable, fun, accessible, safe, and dynamic for all. Kern's exploration is honest, timely, and intentional in acknowledging the work of women-fellow urbanists and others-in advancing the feminist city
*Lynn M. Ross, AICP, urban planner and feminist*

The next-generation urbanism book I've been waiting for! Leslie lays out a comprehensive guide to feminist world-building that our cities so desperately need. A must-read for all city officials and budding urbanists alike as we move into the female future of our urban environments.
*Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman, Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, Drexel University*

Cities aren't built to accommodate female bodies, female needs, female desires. In this rich, engaging book the feminist geographer Leslie Kern envisions how we might transform the "city of men" into a city for everyone. Let's all move there immediately.' Lauren Elkin, author of Flaneuse
*Lauren Elkin, author of Flaneuse*

[An] insightful scholarly work ... This provocative analysis will resonate with theoretically minded feminists.
*Publishers Weekly*

This book totally opened my eyes! Feminist City is an incredibly incisive look at cities and urban design through the lens of gender, while also inspecting how acts of claiming urban space affect other marginalized groups. Combining academic and lived experience, Leslie Kern's intersectional approach clearly lays out just how cities are failing and what it might mean to imagine a more just urban life. Feminist City made me see my own experiences in a whole new light, and Kern makes the field of feminist geography completely accessible and exciting to the average city slicker. Anyone who considers themselves a feminist or activist should read this book!
*Literati Bookstore*

Approachable and based in thorough research ... In eye-opening detail, [Feminist City] argues that the privatization of security and heightened police presences endanger women of certain demographic groups, while marketers, who present condo living as the safest way to exist in a city, ironically turn women into accomplices in gentrification, forcing low-income women out of safer areas and into environments that are more dangerous.
*Foreword Reviews*

An optimistic, pragmatic book, which points to already extant solutions and looks forward to a more just, joyous urban future.

In Feminist City, Kern imagines a world where public spaces are designed with women and equity in mind.

Kern resists drawing a blueprint for a new master-planned feminist city. Instead, she believes we ought to take a closer look at how cities perpetuate inequality from the perspective of race, gender, ability, and class.

An intersectional analysis of our urban environments through a combination of personal narrative, theory, and pop culture analysis.
*Metropolis Magazine*

[Feminist City] examines the city's paradoxical ability to oppress and emancipate-how an environment teeming with gendered inconvenience, racial discrimination, and sexual violence can also be a locus of queer independence, community care, and emancipatory feminist world-making. ... Heavily researched but accessibly written, the book is a dynamic mix of high and low, facts and feelings, research and reality.

Kern delves into the interlocking inequalities and systems of oppression that take concrete shape in cities, using an intersectional feminist approach to explore the gendered aspects of urban space...an enjoyable and accessible book that not only contributes to urban feminist geography, but to urban planning and policy more broadly
*LSE Review of Books*

Feminist City is brilliant because of the ways it lays out, quite clearly, the fact that cities are designed to discriminate in both overt and hidden ways and that it's possible to imagine something new-something that is more inclusive of different bodies and experiences.

[Feminist City is] a small but provocative book. It is both an introduction to feminist geography and to modern feminism, with its multiple meanings and numerous contradictions. ... In a world where the male gaze is so often the only gaze considered, so much so [that] most people don't even think of it as being gendered in any way, Feminist City is revelatory.

Charting the physical aspects of the city that work against women, from inefficient public transport to a lack of supportive care networks for working mothers, Kern argues that there are ways to transform the city that would advance the liberation of women and marginalized people. ... Kern's analysis seems especially timely as we debate the role of police in our society and how we can better protect marginalized people.
*Bitch Media*

Looking through the lens of geography, pop culture and public and personal history, the book exposes how female bodies are ostracised in urban spaces.

Feminist City balances descriptions of our environment with the internal conversations or anxieties we feel as we wait for the bus, rush to pick up our child before daycare closes, and navigate space that's designed to keep us inside.
*Greater Greater Washington*

A joy to dip into
*The Developer*

There should be more books like this...Feminist City is wide-ranging and sophisticated, brief and engaging.
*ICON Magazine*

[Kern's] message is that thoughtful planners can and, eventually will, arrive at the feminist city as long as women's voices get the attention they deserve.
*California Planning & Development Report*

A wide-ranging survey of social inequalities exacerbated by one-size-fits-all urban planning-inequalities ripe for improvement.

Kern [wants] to envi­sion a more inclu­sive city that con­sid­ers the phys­i­cal and cul­tur­al needs of its most mar­gin­al­ized mem­bers.
*In These Times*

[Kern] introduces readers to a number of different ways the city is at once emancipatory and endangering. She deploys an intersectional lens to explore such themes as mobility, protest, adolescence, and friendship, weaving together an impressive array of sources from academic writings and popular culture (Doreen Massey appears alongside Two Dope Queens).
*Public Books*

Feminist City presents a comprehensive analysis of how people of color are the folks that make our cities work, and yet, they are not the folks our cities were designed for.
*The Daily Emerald*

Reminds us that our cities are moulded by male fantasies and designed to serve gender-based structures.
*New Welsh Review*

A good introduction to reading the city from a feminist perspective.
*Urban Design Group*

So much to digest here - cities old and new, politics old and new.
*Irish Times*

Feminist City is a call for gender equity in planning (and for intersectionality), and it's one that planners of all genders should heed.
*Planetizen (The Top Urban Planning Books of 2020)*

Kern works to identify what a feminist city actually is as she pushes readers to thinkbigger, to think more radically, to think in terms of proactive world- and community-building ratherthan reactionary, incrementalist, or singularly policy-based world-adjusting. ... Feminist City provides a fundamental critique of contemporary society through a feminist and urbanist lens. Itshould be considered a significant contribution to both fields of study.
*Journal of Urban Affairs*

An excellent contribution ... Leslie Kern's clear laying out of feminist urban theory and empirical work generates both a personal and critical understanding of the city.
*Gender & Development*

I was hooked by this deep dive into how women's freedom is curtailed by the design and culture of man-made cities - and how we can reclaim space
*Stylist Loves*

[Feminist City] encourages people to look around their community and ask: Who are these spaces meant for? Who feels included and safe and welcome, and who might feel excluded, unsafe or even pushed out of the city?

Importantly, Kern shows how sexism in cities is also inextricably linked to other systems of privilege and oppression, particularly racism, classism, homophobia and ableism ... a noteworthy book for our times
*The F-Word*

Essential . Kern an excellent example of a writer who wants to amplify marginalised voices . Feminist City urges women to take up space in their environments and not to be afraid of the unknown.
*Bright Green*

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