Women Led Cities Initiative is crowdfunding for a pilot conference in Philly - Generocity Philly

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Mar. 12, 2018 12:35 pm

Women Led Cities Initiative is crowdfunding for a pilot conference in Philly

The inaugural convening of women working in urban planning and design will be held March 24 and 25.

What would a women-led city look like?

(Image via twitter.com/WomenLedCities)

A few days late, but here’s one more way to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Urban anthropologist Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman’s months of work raising awareness about the lack of women representing the urban design field is getting supercharged this month with the inaugural gathering of her Women Led Cities Initiative (WLC).

Women Led Philly,” co-organized by Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship cofounder Meegan Denenberg and funded by the Knight Foundation, is a pilot working conference happening March 24 and 25 for a curated group of 20 to 30 professional women in urban planning, policy, the arts, social science and the like.

Their goal: to “deconstruct the issues faced by women working in these fields and reconstruct an action plan to bolster representation, power, and each other, beyond the conference itself.”

“The first cohort will concentrate on a specific case study regarding development of a planned mixed use space here in Philadelphia,” Johnston-Zimmerman wrote in an email. “We will also focus on the lack of women inclusion in all aspects of urban development and hope to establish some best practices to prevent this — all of which will be released in a report after the event.”

Future WLC events will be held in other cities and build on this topic to eventually form a framework for a national conference.

“The hope is that with a public report and toolkit of best practices, women in other cities can either replicate the program and/or have us help kick-start their own initiative with local women and partners in the future,” Johnston-Zimmerman said.

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A crowdfunding campaign to support this first conference is live through Thursday, March 15, though Johnston-Zimmerman said the conference will be held even if the crowdfunding goal of $8,027 isn’t met by the campaign’s end. As of Monday morning, it had raised $3,773.

“We are committed to making it happen through our own companies and thanks to the support of our sponsors and in-kind donations,” she said.

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Johnston-Zimmerman and Denenberg are currently in Austin for South by Southwest, where they’re hosting a WLC meetup called “Co-Creating a Feminist City” to spread the news about WLC to attendees, plus “receive feedback on where they see challenges for women in cities and development and gain some insight for the larger conference slated in 2019,” Johnston-Zimmerman said.

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