Here’s what was important this week…
We’re all in recovery from the snow and frigid cold that gripped most of the United States this week. It’s been too cold in much of my city to properly use salt–the city has just had to spread sand and efficiently clear the snow, and hope for the best until it got warm enough yesterday to start spreading some salt. This might be a good thing, because the salt used to de-ice roads in winter has damaging effects on the environment, largely due to the run-off of the chloride.
Another unfortunate and little-considered effect that these winter storms have on our lives is the order that snow is cleared off the streets. In Sweden at least, the prioritizing turns out to be rather gendered. The priorities effectively ignore the more vulnerable populations–women, mostly–that rely on public transportation and daycare that may be less accessible while snow is cleared elsewhere.
This oversight extends beyond snow clearing and to general urban design as well, but it is beginning to be recognized. Recognizing how women use cities is imperative for designing transportation networks and community centers that work in a city, and government in Vienna, Austria is doing just that.