“I used to live in Paris with my parents, but now I've been in Marseille for three years. There are certain places, certain districts of Marseille, especially when it gets dark and I am alone, as a woman... I feel that I have the right to be there; there is no law that forbids me. There's no rule that tells me Perrine, don't go there, but I have the impression that in this urban space, women, because there are many more men, etc., are not included. There is no inclusion, even if legally there is no problem. And sometimes, I know that it's a little trick, but I force myself to go during the day, rather than in the evening. I force myself to go into neighbourhoods where there are very, very few women to leave my mark and try to force this social inclusion because, otherwise, it will not happen. Sometimes I force myself to do this. But during the day, not at night.”
According to the geographical definition, the urban space is associated with a “metropolitan area”. It is a set of urban areas, which are continuous, and in which at least 40% of the labour force is working.
Now, urban spaces refer to cities’ spaces, usually public. These urban spaces are the streets, avenues, shopping centres. They are characterized by social interactions: the city is made by the “co-presence”, living, practicing, and roaming in the streets of several people. Furthermore, the city is often associated with density, concentration of people and buildings. Urban spaces constitute a non-neutral area: they are gendered spaces and can reflect forms of domination (such as gendered dominations). A new movement in France of young feminists called “Collages Feminicides”, tries to reclaim these spaces. In a publication called “Le genre de la nuit. Espace sensible” (2019), Pascale Lapalud and Chris Blach, two scientists working on town planning, say that the urban space “symbolically and physically constrains or alters the movement of women and non-binary, lesbian, gay, trans people, particularly at night”. Thus, urban spaces are not places of equality. Most of all, they are complex spaces: they are places of sociability, but also of activism or of simple gateways. Finally, as we can see with the example of Collages Feminicides, they are places of power struggles.