Planning for safety in public spaces : efforts and outcomes regarding the use, perceptions, and safety of women in plazas in Viña del Mar, Chile




Picha, Mollie Anna

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Although many studies have been conducted on public spaces, safety, and gender worldwide, little has been published on Latin America, much less Viña del Mar, Chile. Additionally, the plaza has played a central role in Latin American societies for centuries, yet few contemporary studies exist. This work examines the use and perceptions of plazas and safety in two main plazas in Viña del Mar: Plaza Vergara and Plaza O’Higgins. I uncover the feelings, motivations, and perceptions underpinning the uses manifested in these plazas with a focus on the differences between men and women. Fear of violence is a common theme among women and is manifested in the ways in which women use plazas, particularly as compared to men. In addition to gaining a fuller understanding of the social life of plazas, my study synthesizes recommendations expressed by female residents of Viña del Mar for improving plazas and other public spaces. My hope is that this study will encourage greater consideration of gender when planning public spaces in Viña del Mar and beyond.



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