#IWD, ED&I, EmbraceEquity, Equity Diversity & Inclusion, International Women's Day, IWD 2023 Projects, IWD2023, Women's History Month

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, we shared how we #EmbraceEquity not only in the workplace but in our work. Get an inside look at how our teams are embracing equity through their projects and positively impacting the lives of women as well as underserved communities around the world.

Follow this year’s conversations on LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as the AECOM Blog.

As we design and deliver urban spaces around the world, we are committed to making those spaces inclusive and safe, meeting the needs of all users. That’s a mission we share with the Greater Sydney Commission, which seeks to remove significant safety barriers women and gender-diverse people face when accessing public spaces.

These safety barriers are stark—and widely quantified. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates one in four women did not walk in their local area alone after dark in the last 12 months because they felt unsafe. Only one in 24 men, though, reported the same.

In 2020, the Greater Sydney Commission launched the Women’s Safety Charter to improve the safety of women and girls in Greater Sydney. As a founding member of the Charter, we undertook research in the State of New South Wales to assess perceptions of safety in public spaces across the state. This expanded to become our Safe Places Initiative, which now has a national scope.

Safe Places uses interactive mapping to crowd-source geolocated data, identifying where people travel and whether they feel safe or unsafe. The survey also captures optional questions on personal identity so perceived safety can also be correlated to identity factors, such as age, gender identity or disability. We are engaging our national 4500-strong team and the broader community to pin the location of perceived safe and unsafe places, and input supporting information through PlanEngageTM, our digital community engagement tool.

Users of Plan Engage can search for their location and drop a pin to log their feedback on their surroundings. Anyone can comment on community posts, informing dialogue for a safer, more informed community. Since its launch, users have placed hundreds of pins in Greater Sydney, and many more across Australia and New Zealand. You can view those pins here.

Data collection is just the first step of the initiative. Our urban design and transport planning specialists would then analyse this crowd-sourced data, including lighting, line of sight, foot traffic, maintenance, and passive surveillance information. We would use the findings to get a perception of how Safety is perceived by informing recommendations and developing best practices to improve how spaces are designed or retrofitted to improve public safety.

Women and gender-diverse people face real and measurable inequities in our cities. But for too long, those inequities have been sidelined. The solution, then, is to listen. Our Safe Places initiative is one way we’re giving these community members a voice through our work. By amplifying perspectives for all to see, it’s helping counter inequities and create more inclusive spaces in Sydney and beyond.

Learn more about Safe Places: https://aecom.com/au/safe-places-designing-a-safer-australia/

Originally published Feb 28, 2023

Authors: Janice Lovelock , Nicole Badstuber