The team at XYX Lab share their list of favourites to read, listen to and watch, including a blend of light academic and non-fiction texts exploring gender, space and place. This collection offers diverse perspectives on the intersection of identity and environment, shedding light on the importance of these discussions.


Women and Planning – Creating Gendered Realities

Clara H. Reed (Routledge, 1994)

Women and Planning offers a perspective on city development, showing how women have played an often overlooked crucial role. It examines the history and current state of planning, touching on its ties to eugenics and colonialism. The book asks who benefits from planning and challenges the idea that it‘s male-dominated. This is a good read for anyone interested in cities and fairness.

Rethinking Feminist Interventions into the Urban

Linda Peake and Martina Rieker (Routledge, 2013)

This book offers fresh insights for promoting gender justice in cities. The focus is on how feminist perspectives can reshape our understanding of urban life. By questioning the north-south divide in urban studies, this book suggests new directions for research and emphasises the importance of addressing urban challenges through a feminist lens. Contributors from diverse backgrounds highlight issues, such as care, work, violence and poverty.

Space, Place and Gendered Identities: Feminist History and the Spatial Turn

Kathryne Beebe, Angela Davis and Kathryn Gleadle (Routledge, 2015)

This essay collection explores the influence of environments on politics, culture and social dynamics, and incorporates an interesting gender analysis of political spaces. It covers how historical actors shape and are shaped by diverse spaces, from domestic to public settings. It‘s a compelling read for those interested in the intricate interplay between space, gender and history.

“Gender, urban space, and the right to everyday life”

Yasminah Beebeejaun, Journal of Urban Affairs 39, no. 3 (2017): 323–34.

This article explores the often neglected gender perspective in discussions about urban rights. It highlights women’s ongoing economic and social marginalisation and argues for greater attention to their roles in urban spaces. Yasminah advocates for a deeper understanding of the diverse public within cities and the gendered nature of daily experiences, suggesting that planners and policymakers could develop more inclusive urban interventions.

Making Gender Equality Happen: Knowledge, Change and Resistance in EU Gender Mainstreaming

Rosalind Cavaghan (Routledge, 2017)

This book delves into the intricacies of the EU’s ‘Gender Mainstreaming’ policy, offering valuable insights into policymakers’ challenges in understanding it. With insightful analysis, it provides valuable perspectives for those involved in advocating for gender equality within policy-making circles.

Trans-Bodies / Queering Spaces

Issue # 21, Footprint DELFT Architecture Theory Journal (Autumn / Winter 2017 )

This issue looks into how queer theory and trans studies are reshaping architecture. It’s a thought-provoking read, challenging traditional ideas and sparking discussions about the future of design.

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Caroline Criado Perez (Harry N Abrams, 2019)

This book is an eye-opening and easy read. Using engaging case studies, vivid stories and insightful data, Perez reveals the widespread influence of gender bias in everyday situations that often escape notice. It‘s a compelling exploration that offers valuable insights into the hidden forces shaping our society.

Digital Feminist Activism: Girls and Women Fight Back Against Rape Culture

Kaitlynn Mendes, Jessica Ringrose and Jessalynn Keller (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Recently, feminists have been leveraging digital platforms like social media to combat sexism and rape culture through movements such as #MeToo and Everyday Sexism. This book explores how women and girls navigate these spaces, analysing their experiences and challenges across various platforms like X (Twitter), Facebook and blogs. Through interviews and content analysis, it reveals the complexity of digital feminist activism and the barriers that shape different voices and perspectives.

Feminist City: Claiming Space in the Man-Made World

Leslie Kern (Verso Books, 2020)

The author dives into the nitty-gritty of how inequalities and oppressive systems play out in our cities, all through an intersectional feminist lens. This accessible and enjoyable book is not just another academic read – and it’s not just for urban feminist geographers. It offers insights that can truly impact urban planning and policy as a whole.

Everyday Violence: The Public Harassment of Women and LGBTQ People

Simone Kolysh (Rutgers University Press, 2021)

Everyday Violence offers a powerful exploration of catcalling and aggression in NYC. Through interviews with victims and perpetrators, it unpacks the intersection of gender, sexuality and societal factors in public spaces. It is an eye-opening and relatable read that advocates for a future free from fear for women and LGBTQ individuals. A must-read for those interested in urban sociology, queer studies, or challenging social norms.

Contentious Cities: Design and the Gendered Production of Space

Edited by Jess Berry, Timothy Moore, Nicole Kalms, Gene Bawden (Routledge, 2021)

Contentious Cities stems from an international symposium organised by the XYX Lab. This interdisciplinary book delves into gendered spatial equity in urban areas, highlighting how design influences gender practices. Using case studies and theoretical insights, it tackles street harassment and access disparities, proposing solutions grounded in feminist and queer analysis. A valuable resource for scholars in sociology, gender studies and urban planning, offering innovative approaches to fostering safer, more inclusive cities.

Alternative Planning History and Theory

Dorina Pojani (Routledge, 2023)

Focusing on marginalised groups like women, LGBTQ+ communities, and people of colour, the book challenges traditional planning narratives and provides insights into core issues from the late 19th century to today. With practical features like boxed case studies and alternative planning timelines, it’s a valuable resource for planning students and instructors seeking a more inclusive approach to urban planning.

Queering Architecture: Methods, Practices, Spaces, Pedagogies

Edited by Marko Jobst and Naomi Stead (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023)

Featuring contributions from key voices, this volume reinvigorates discussions on queerness in architecture and confronts the methodological challenges it entails. Divided into four sections, the essays explore methods, practices, spaces and pedagogies, offering diverse perspectives on queering architectural discourse. From mapping queer theory to challenging Western-centric notions, the anthology navigates the complexities of this endeavour while addressing the paradox of establishing ‘queer’ methodologies within the field.

She City: Designing Out Women’s Inequity in Cities

Nicole Kalms (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023)

She City explores how gender influences urban spaces, and is packed with actionable strategies for crafting more inclusive cities for women and girls. Nicole Kalms delves into resisting sexist environments, designing feminist cities, and prioritising safety to overcome barriers to women’s public engagement. This book challenges professionals and communities to create environments that empower women and girls.


TramLab Toolkits

Monash University XYX Lab, La Trobe University and RMIT University (2021)

These toolkits offer practical solutions to enhance the safety of women and girls on Victorian public transport. Toolkit 1 provides a framework for developing gender-sensitive communication campaigns to address safety concerns effectively. Toolkit 2 outlines the process for implementing gender-sensitive placemaking strategies to improve the physical environment and enhance safety perceptions. Toolkit 3 details steps for gathering gender-sensitive transport-space data for informed decision-making. Finally, Toolkit 4 focuses on implementing gender-sensitive training for public transport service providers and security staff, empowering them to address safety issues effectively. Together, these toolkits offer stakeholders comprehensive guidance on reducing fear and risk, making public transport safer for everyone.

A Design Guide for Older Women’s Housing

Samantha Donnelly, Sophie Dyring, Nicole Kalms and Naomi Stead (2022)

This guide puts older women’s voices at the forefront of housing design, ensuring their needs are paramount. It provides strategies for health, social connection, and adaptability, including often overlooked aspects like spaces for pets and outdoor access. Investing in these designs enhances quality of life and yields long-term benefits for wellbeing. A valuable resource for architects and planners dedicated to creating inclusive spaces for older women.


The Feminist City

Ellie Cosgrave (TEDxUCLWomen, 2019)

Drawing from personal experiences and civil engineering insights, Ellie Cosgrave advocates for reshaping cities to better serve all populations. This TEDx talk is easy to watch and shows how to prioritise feminist and social justice principles. The presenter proposes innovative approaches to creating inclusive public spaces and ensuring equitable access to urban resources. This TEDx talk is a valuable insight for urban planners and policymakers.

Queering Public Space

Arup and the University of Westminster (2022)

The report and video Queering Public Space, a collaboration between Arup and the University of Westminster, explores the relationship between queer communities and urban public spaces. Emphasising the importance of inclusive environments, the video delves into key characteristics that contribute to queering public space and preserving queer memory in cities. It advocates for designing public spaces that go beyond traditional gay neighbourhoods to accommodate the diverse needs of LGBTQ+ individuals and other marginalised groups. Implementing recommendations for diversity and inclusion aims to make urban public spaces safer and more welcoming for everyone.


Episode 363: Invisible Women

99% Invisible Podcast with Caroline Criado Perez (2019)

This podcast episode discusses how design choices often prioritise men’s needs over women’s, impacting various aspects of life, from snow ploughing to medical research. It stresses the importance of inclusive design through data collection and analysis, using examples like snow ploughing in Sweden and cooking stove development. Ultimately, it advocates for more inclusive approaches in design practices worldwide, highlighting the benefits of involving women in the process. It’s a must-listen for anyone interested in creating more equitable solutions!

Feminist City Author Leslie Kern on Envisioning More Equitable Urban Spaces

People Behind the Plans with Leslie Kern (2022)

This episode explores the concept of a feminist city, examining who it truly benefits and how various groups experience urban environments. Leslie Kern chats about her book Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World and shares insights on the obstacles women encounter in spaces tailored to a limited few. She offers tips for planners aiming to enhance gender equity in both urban and rural areas.