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Women safety in Smart Cities

The rapid pace and nature of urbanization throughout the world has thrown up new challenges for governments, and their populations. Urban spaces provide new opportunities for people to build their homes and lives, but also pose many problems for their citizens. Women face the fear of sexual violence as a constant threat to their ability to move around, to work and their general well-being. There is increasing concern about women’s safety in cities over the past few years. The fear of violence in public spaces affects the everyday lives of women as it restricts their movement and freedom to exert their right as citizens of the city—freedom to move, study, work, and leisure. Smart cities have become the buzzword today. There is great variation in what is being seen as a smart city. In some cities, it means a focus on technology whereas in others there is a clear vision of the changes it will bring about. Smart agenda include looking at a range of aspects of cities including water, electricity, sanitation, housing, health, education and safety. One aspect of smart cities is in seeking new solutions to these problems which build on technological innovations and improve governance. Smart cities should build on the idea that technology must enrich society and the lives of people in ways that are practical. One of the areas where technological innovations have come up in the past few years has been in addressing women’s safety in cities. Post the Nirbhaya case in December 2012, we have seen many mobile apps in the market. How effective are these in addressing enhanced gender safety in cities is a question that comes to mind. Many of them are emergency apps which support women in situations of danger or crisis by providing link to the police and others who can help them. Further there are now people building wearable devices that provide the same services. These apps aim to equip women to deal with dangerous situations. It is essential to create a dialogue between smarter and safer cities. Safety cannot only be about CCTV cameras and greater surveillance. It must focus on how people can feel safer and how they are able to feel more ownership and engagement with urban processes. Citizen participation in governance is often mentioned in smart city documents and this must be realised as a two-way process of engagement. Keeping this in mind, Safetipin, a mobile application which collects information about public spaces was developed. At the core of Safetipin is the safety audit that measures nine parameters, including lighting, the state of the walk path, as well as the presence of people and specifically women on the streets, the availability of police, public transport and ‘eyes on the street’. Each audit appears as a pin on the map and is used to compute the safety score of an area. Safetipin App has been designed both as a tool in the hands of individual women who can access information about safety in the city and as a method of collecting data on a large scale for city authorities to use for better planning and governance. An individual user can conduct a safety audit, pin places where she feels unsafe or has faced any form of harassment. She is also able to see all the information that has been uploaded by others and make informed decisions about moving around the city safely. Women (and men) can see the safety score of any place in the city and can also use it when they visit new cities. For the city authority, Safetipin provides large-scale data and a platform for interaction with citizens on their safety concerns. In order to help city governments, Safetipin data is shared with recommendations. Thus the app is able to show dark areas, unsafe areas, deserted areas and how these can be improved. They are able to respond and citizens can give feedback. It thus is a tool to create safer and more inclusive public spaces in cities. Technology is one important aspect of smart cities, and it is important to create and share technologies that address the needs of the most vulnerable people in cities. Cities are economic, social and political spaces for people to claim their rights and citizenship. It must be seen as a living organism and the discourse of the smart city needs to engage with citizenship along with services and infrastructures. If smart cities are defined merely by technology and infrastructure, it will remain an alien idea. It is by seeing it within the context of living in a city and the citizen that we can humanise the concept. Along with smart cities, we also need safe, caring and shared cities where more people feel a sense of ownership. Kalpana Viswanath is co-founder, Safetipin. She has led research studies on violence against women in public spaces in the city.   Download .......... My Safetipin App

"Safetipin" features as one of the innovative initiatives for safer cities for all.

Target 11.7 of the SDG on cities aims to “provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.” Public spaces are critical in cities because they are the places where exchanges happen and society mixes. However, many cities around the world lack adequate and safe public space, restricting the opportunities of many, including women. Learn from four cities around the globe that have tried to provide safer cities for all.   In Delhi, parents also insist that their daughters return home before sunset. Fear of sexual assault is as real as in Brazil. Safetipin has been working to combat that. The organization uses a map-based mobile phone app that crowds sources data from users and trained auditors to enable cities to become safer. Input from users about what they see or feel are quantified through specific indicators, like lighting or visibility, into safety audits and safety scores for hundred of ‘pins’ or locations across the city. In addition to providing safety information, My Safetipin gathers big data that will inform urban stakeholders like the police, urban planning departments, and policymakers in their endeavors to improve safety conditions. Mukta Naik takes the example of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Public Works Department which are successfully leveraging this data to improve lighting in different parts of the city.   These articles presented initiatives from around the world to provide safer cities to all. Check out more of the discussion on innovations for greater equitability on URB.im and contribute to the debate. Source....HuffingtonPost   Download from google Play Store -------   Mysafetipin App    

Read how Safetipin can Empower, Enable and Engage you in Making your City Safer

There’s now an app that can measure how safe an area is, based on crowdsourced data.Kalpana Vishwanath and Ashish Basu are the co-founders of Safetipin, an app they created with the intention of making public spaces safer for women. First created and launched in India, the idea took its origin from the fear that women and girls experience before traveling to or through certain areas which were known to be unsafe. In India, the debate on sexual violence and how to curb it rages on. Recent years have seen governments pass stricter, more stringent laws and increase security forces, and even pass a law making it compulsory for public buses to install a panic button.   Safetipin crowdsources information based on nine factors in order to measure how safe the area in question is. These factors are lighting, openness, visibility, people density, security, walk path, transportation in the area, gender, and feeling.   In partnership with Uber, Safetipin is planning to expand to 50 cities across Africa, Asia, and South America. These safety scores are useful to the police and other law enforcement agencies in determining whether security in the locality needs to be upped. They can help the police make unsafe areas safer, fix broken amenities, and repair roads. The scores also have the potential of determining the real estate value of the area, as well as increasing or decreasing the business of hotels and restaurants. The co-founders of the app aim to empower its users with knowledge that can enable them to make informed decisions and get from A to B safely. Article Source........global citizen   Download............My Safetipin App  

In Gurgaon, going to office is a risky business

Counted among one of the fastest growing corporate hubs in the country, Gurgaon is home to more than 250 Fortune500 companies. But it seems that the city has been unable to provide a safe environment to its large number of office goers, especially women. A safety audit conducted recently by social enterprise Safetipin has found that all major corporate or commercial hubs in Gurgaon score low on safety parameters. In the survey, the hubs were rated on nine parameters- lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, security, footpaths, transport, gender usage and feeling of safety. Areas with average scores below 1 out of 5 have been rated ‘poor’, those with scores between 1 and 3.4 have been rated ‘average’ and the ones with scores above 3.4 have been rated ‘good’. Interestingly, among the six commercial hubs-- MG Road, Golf Course Road, Sector 34, Sector 44, Cyber City and Udyog Vihar-- only MG Road has scored above 3 out of 5. Golf Course Road, which has several offices, hotels and posh condominiums, was ranked one of the lowest with a score of only 1.6 out of 5. Safetipin has rated the area ‘average’. The safety scenario of the area is important as at least 15 projects have been planned here, including expansion of Golf Course Road to make it a 16-lane expressway and southward extension of the Rapid Metro from the Sikanderpur station to Sector 56.Commuters passing through the area and corporate employees working here said though it is being developed rapidly, safety has not been given due importance. They said there is the very little police presence in the area most of the times.“Thousands of people come to this area every day but it has no streetlights, sign boards or footpaths, making commuting very difficult. Also, policemen are rarely seen patrolling the area,” said Ankita Singh, whose office is in the area. Similarly, the DLF Cyber City road, a 2-km long circular loop which has more than 10 buildings, has scored only 2.3 out of 5, which is ‘average’. The buildings house hundreds of corporate offices where over three lakh employees come to workevery day. Most of those working in the area agreed with the survey results. According to them, the place is plagued by several problems like lack of footpaths, police presence and streetlights. Women working in the area say a lot of stretches there are dark and they feel unsafe at night.“There is a wine shop very close to my office and a lot of people park their vehicles there at night,” said Yashika Batla, an employee of a Gurgaon-based MNC who lives in Delhi. Udyog Vihar, which has several companies in and around it, has also scored low in the audit. It has been given a score of only 2.9 out of 5, which is also ‘average’. Office-goers complain that public transport facilities and last-mile connectivity in the area are very poor.“The area is lined up with big and small firms, but there is no last-mile connectivity in Udyog Vihar. It is difficult to find an autorickshaws in the area, especially at night. Also bus services are not available here,” said Ridhima Singh, employee of an MNC in the area.Similarly, Sector 44, which has several offices, hotels and even a cultural hub, Epicentre, has not scored high. The sector has scored 1.5, performing badly on four parameters of security, transport, lighting and gender usage. Sector 34, which has the office of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon, has also fared badly in the survey, scoring an average of 2.1.“There are a lot of dark stretches around Sector 34. Another major problem faced by us is frequent waterlogging,” said Anuraga Basu, a resident of Sector 34. Pooja Misra, an employee of a private firm in Sector 44, said, “The area is crowded all the time but we rarely see police patrolling the roads.”Surprisingly, MG Road is among the top scorers in the commercial area category, with an average score of 3.4.The road, with nine malls on each side and a metro station, is infamous for poor safety, with several incidents of drunken brawls being reported from here in the past. Residents of the area said though the area is well-lit and has many options for last-mile connectivity like autorickshaws, buses and metro, it is unsafe at night.“My parents do not allow me to travel alone on MG Road after 9pm. There are several bars and clubs and there have been cases where drunken men have created a nuisance on the road,” said Harshita Pande, a resident of the city. Even four Metro stations-- Huda City Centre, Iffco Chowk, MG Road, and Sikanderpur-- in the city have not passed the safety test.No Metro station, other than the one on MG Road, scored an average of more than 2 out of 5 in the Safetipin audit.Iffco Chowk Metro station scored the lowest with an average score of only 1.5, followed by the Huda City Centre station with an average score of 1.7. According to metro commuters, there are many dark and deserted stretches around these stations and this makes them unsafe. Also, the last-mile connectivity is poor and police presence is very low. “There is very little security around metro stations. CISF officials keep a strict vigil inside the stations but as one steps out, there is no security at all. Last-mile connectivity is also a problem,” said Nikita Sharma, a college student. The police, meanwhile, said they are taking several initiatives to make the city safer.“The police have taken serious initiatives like ‘Romeo Free Gurgaon’ and community policing. We will make more efforts to ensure that the residents of Gurgaon feel safe on roads,” said Balbir Singh, deputy commissioner of police (crime), Gurgaon..Article Source..Hindu Stan Times Article Source..Hindustan Times

Survey Ranks Gurgaon ‘Below average’ for Women

A year-long survey and audit by SafetiPin, a Gurgaon based organisation, reveals that Gurgaon scored very low on nine parameters which are crucial for women safety. SafetiPin is a social enterprise that provides technology solutions to make cities safer for women.   The city has been rated ‘below average’, with a score of 3.5 on the parameters of lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, security, footpaths, transport, gender usage, and safety. Kalpana Vishwanath, founder of SafetiPin, said that lack of streetlights, footpaths, inadequate police presence, dark areas, poor public transport and lack of public discussion have created unsafe conditions for women in the city. South City 2, Artemis Hospital Road, Belvedere Park near Cyber City, Ardee city, Sector 57, Hilton Garden Road, Badhshahpur Road and Sushant Lok Vyapar Kendra were found to be exceptionally unsafe spots for women commuters. SafetiPin users reported maximum incidents of harassment, inappropriate physical contact, lewd comments and improper glances in these areas. There is a lack of adequate lighting on most of the roads across the city and particularly in these unsafe areas. Even crowded areas like Iffco Chowk, Leisure Valley Road, DLF Phase 3, Chakkarpur-Saraswati Vihar junction and Subash Chowk Road are particularly short of street lights. Good lighting and higher public presence on roads lead to increased feeling of security among women, the reason why areas with mixed-land use in the city and parts of Old Gurgaon are rated safer by women commuters. Vishwanath said better urban infrastructure, transport and more policing is the key to make Gurgaon a better place for women....Article Source...Hindustan Times

“SafetiPin” Audits Show Poor Security for Women

Little seems to have changed in the capital after the huge outpouring of anger at the gang rape of December 2012. According to an analysis by SafetiPin — a map-based application that allows you to share your view of the safety of your neighbourhood — security continues to be poor in New Delhi, despite noises made to the contrary. SafetiPin, designed by Ashish Basu and Kalpana Viswanath, promotes the interactive app launched in the capital in November 2013 and, later, in several other cities including Bangalore, Guwahati, Chennai, Trivandrum, Kochi and Pune with partner NGOs. It allows people to judge if a certain public place in the city is safe, based on nine parameters including availability of light, openness, visibility, gender diversity and proximity of public transport. Safetipin also collects data based on meetings with stakeholders and civic authorities. Positive impact The South west district police in Delhi have issued a newsletter based on the findings of Safetipin in the area and called a meeting of residents to improve security. The police are reworking patrol routes based on the information. Ms. Viswanath said that the idea was not to measure crime but the fear factor. “Does a woman feel safe in a public place or not, is she fearful?” she asked. Safetipin has done an analysis of about 10,000 spots in New Delhi and each spot has a safety score. The audits were all conducted in the evening between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Respondents have given below average ratings for parameters such as availability of light, openness, walk paths and public transportation. The app uses ‘pins’ to indicate the level of safety — green for safe, amber for less safe and red for unsafe. It allows the user to record instances of harassment or hazards and gives location information like timings of shops, availability of autorickshaws and general directions. Download Safetipin App Google Play Store: Safetipin - Complete Safety App Download Safetipin App Apple Play Store: Safetipin - Complete Safety App

Uber Nairobi partners with SafetiPin

Uber, which launched its smartphone app in Kenya in January this year, says it plans to advance the contribution to SafetiPin’s data collection efforts across Nairobi by providing access to partner-drivers and their cars.These partner-drivers, based at different locations in the city, will be trained and work at night with SafetiPin’s safety auditors, reads a statement.According to the statement, SafetiPin works by collecting data of locations based on nine parameters that together contribute to the perception of safety by measuring actual location conditions in order to generate a safety score for an area. And the information is supplemented with comments and photographs from real users and trained safety auditors.READ MOREUber goes on charm offensive in Kenya Uber initiates driver training in Nairobi Kenya's capital becomes sixth African city to launch Uber NairobiKaitlin Freedman, operations manager, Uber Nairobi said, “Uber is committed to bringing the best in class safety to the streets of Nairobi. By working together with SafetiPin on this cross-border initiative we hope to provide local communities with the technologies to enable them to travel more safely around their cities.”“... As part of our work in cities, we are delighted to have Uber’s participation and support in key cities around the world. This association will provide us with a much larger data set that would otherwise not have been possible, and the process is easier with Uber’s engaged and professional driver community,” said Ashish Basu, founder of SafetiPin.The Uber and SafetiPin collaboration was born in New Delhi, India and it is expected in other global markets in the coming months, with the aim to cover approximately 20,000 km of city roads and areas...Article Source. Download Safetipin App From Google Play Store..... Personal & Women Safety App Download Safetipin App From Apple Play Store......Personal & Women Safety App

An app to identify safe zones in a city

What makes public spaces safer for women? Undoubtedly, increased budgetary spending on safety measures is critical. However, the recent 2015 Union Budget, which has doubled its outlay on women’s safety issues without having come up with adequate schemes to utilise the funds, begs the question: are expensive schemes the only way to make our public spaces women-friendly? Safetipin, a free smartphone app, demonstrates that it takes relatively cheap technology and a great deal of ingenuity to take the issue of women’s safety to the one place they can best control — their own hands.Started in 2013 by techie Ashish Basu and Kalpana Vishwanath, prominent women’s rights activist and ex-head of Jagori, Safetipin is an app that uses a mix of crowdsourcing and in-house safety audits to allow users to plot their locations on a map and see its safety score. While the green pins on the map indicate places that are well populated, brightly lit and close to public transport, red pins flag unsafe zones. “Users can check the app on their phones to make safer choices. It also allows them to choose to be tracked by a trusted relative or friend when they feel the need to,” says Vishwanath. Once logged in, users can conduct their own “safety audits” that are based on specific quantitative parameters like street lights, a number of women in the public space, how visible one is to others and the distance to public transport. “The safety audit also includes a qualitative parameter, with regards to how safe the user actually feesl,” says Vishwanath. Safetipin’s 6,000-odd audits so far (mostly in Delhi NCR but in pilot stages in nine Indian and three world cities) have yielded interesting data inputs for urban planners and the government. “We have found that, by and large, women’s perceptions of safety are based on some criteria — the level of lighting in the area (well-lit places “feel” safer), the gender diversity in the area (places with women around are perceived as less threatening) and the degree of visibility (places where the woman is in plain sight of others are generally considered better than secluded spots).“When we audited six Delhi Transport Corporation bus terminals on these parameters, we suggested that more seating inside the terminal would encourage more people, especially women, elderly and children to wait there. Public toilets and street vendors inside the terminals would also ensure steady traffic, making them safer places on the whole,” says Vishwanath. “Over time, the data we collect could be useful to NGOs for advocacy for safer spaces, as well as to the government for designing them better,” she says....Article Source. Download Safetipin App From Google Play Store..... Personal & Women Safety App Download Safetipin App From Apple Play Store......Personal & Women Safety App

Safety Auditing of Hyderabad done by VOICE 4 Girls using Safetipin App

Hyderabad: City-based non-profit organisation VOICE 4 Girls has partnered with the British Deputy High Commission, Hyderabad to raise awareness around gender-based violence among college students and government school girls in the city. The three- month project included awareness building workshops and a safety audit of public spaces in the Hyderabad. As part of the audit, college students from seven colleges in the city mapped hazards, harassment and public amenities in the city on a smartphone application called Safetipin. This data has been covered over the period of one month and presents a good picture of the safety scenario in the city. A meet to discuss the findings has been organized on December 5. This event will also mark the end of the project and the UN's '16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence'. Andrew Mc Allister, the British Deputy High Commissioner of Hyderabad will be the Chief Guest at the event. The conference will also be attended by Swati Lakra, SHE Team, Hyderabad Police, Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Ex- Vice Chancellor, Hyderabad Central University, Sunitha Krishnan, Prajwala, Anant Maringanti, Hyderabad Urban Lab, Reddy Prakash, UNICEF and Aisha Mahmood Farooqi, President of Anveshi Research Centre....Article Source Download Safetipin App from Goole Play Store.... Personal & Women Safety App Download Safetipin App from Apple Play Store....Personal & Women Safety App

SafetiPin, an App to Create Safe Cities and Prevent Harassment

Safetipin is a free application created in New Delhi (India), to try to create safer cities for women through public participation. The status of women in India is especially hard because, according to the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, one woman is raped every 20 minutes . This app was launched in November 2013 and so far has been downloaded more than 10,000 times in that country. The experience has been so successful it has continued moving through Latin America. Colombia, where every 14 minutes a woman is attacked by her partner, was the first country to adopt this tool to geotag public information in the streets of Bogota. After this city has continued to experience moving to other countries to achieve make cities safer for women counting on your collaboration and experience places. This application registers information related to citizen safety rates experienced by users and evaluating the most dangerous areas and thus working for the right of women to freely walk the streets without fear for their safety. Safetipin closely encourages the cooperation of the citizens with their governments providing real time information to all sectors interested in improving this situation as tourism-related entrepreneurs, traders or governments own time. In Bogotá this application was part of a project of the Secretariat for Women , specifically in districts protection of women victims of violence (SOFIA) to provide greater protection for women in the Colombian capital. Kalpana Viswanath ( @ SafetipinApp ), researcher and activist in the field of urban security and gender, co-founder of the tool, pointing at El Espectador its intention to develop the app in 10 other Indian cities. The information collected is delivered to the police, they work closely together to "increase security in areas requiring priority attention and better lighting." This tool uses 8 categories ranging from inappropriate comments to groping and indecent exposure, conditions that disproportionately affect women. The operation of the tool is simple because users only have to submit reports assessing the places you have lived a situation of harassment, thus avoiding certain areas considered dangerous. This content is poured into a geographic information map to visualize quickly the safest areas of the city...Article source. Download Safetipin App Google Play Store...... Safetipin: Complete Safety App Download Safetipin Apple Store..... Safetipin: Complete Safety App