Council assisting to understand safety perceptions of women and genderdiverse people

New interactive map to help make more inclusive public space for everyone in Ballarat to enjoy leisure, sport and play.

Launched on 27 April, YourGround will map local streets, parks, trails and recreational spaces, sharing the often-hidden experiences of safety for women and gender-diverse people when accessing sport and recreation in Victorian towns.

Ballarat is joining with Monash University’s gender, design and space specialists, XYX Lab, and award-winning digital consultancy, CrowdSpot, along with other councils in Victoria, to gather perceptions of safety in public space and make real change in our local area.

This project will complement the City of Ballarat’s own project, Right to the Night project, which is currently mapping the experiences of those accessing Ballarat’s hospital and health precinct.

Statistics show that movement and access is restricted for women and genderdiverse people due to fear, violence and harassment: while 80 per cent of Australian men report feeling safe while walking alone at night, a 2019 Community Council for Australia report notes that only 50 per cent of women say the same.

With the implementation of Victoria’s Gender Equality Act 2020, creating inclusive spaces for women and gender-diverse people is a priority state-wide.

A priority here in the City of Ballarat as part of Council’s endorsed Active Women & Girls Strategy’ action item 11 to partner with external recreation or health organisations to facilitate club development programs that have a focus on positive sporting club cultures.

YourGround is a proactive tool to help make positive change in our shared public spaces – spaces that should be accessible to everyone. The map crowdsources data, allowing users to anonymously drop a pin, tell a story or share an experience while out for leisure, sport, exercise or play.

When collated and analysed this data will provide insights that can make our cities, towns, parks and sporting and community spaces more inclusive and equitable.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney, said council is proud to support this project to help understand how we can make our communities safer for everyone.

“Through this kind of collaborate crowdsourced project, we can gain insightful first-hand information about the areas of our city where safety improvements are needed.”

“I encourage women and genderdiverse people to share their views in this project to ensure future plans in Ballarat and Victoria tackle the issues that really affect people.”

Dr Nicole Kalms, Co-Director, XYX Lab said “the ability to move freely in and around the places you live, work and play, and to feel you belong in your space and place is an essential human right. Yet, often this is denied to many on the basis of gender.”

“As designers, architects, urban planners, councillors, facilitators, even equity experts, we can’t make assumptions about what women and gender-diverse people experience. XYX Lab works from lived, sometimes hidden, experiences to really make an impact.”

“As a grassroots, crowdsourcing tool YourGround will uncover the experiences that restrict access to exercise and freedom of movement and provide important insights to those tasked with making key decisions.”

Anthony Aisenberg, Director of CrowdSpot sais “CrowdSpot specialises in crowdsourced mapping projects that uncover new perspectives and untold stories, most recently the successful BikeSpot 2020.”

“We know the difference that meaningful data and surprising insights can make in uncovering the contexts and situations that restrict movement. We’re keen to discover what we’ll learn on the YourGround map from women and gender diverse people about their experiences exercising, playing sport or at leisure.”

YourGround launched Tuesday 27 April 2021. To participate and share your experience, visit www.yourground.org.

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