EqualStreetNames Brussels: Launch of open data visualisation

Less than 7% of street names have been named after a woman in Brussels: launch of EqualStreetNames.Brussels

Open Knowledge Belgium, an association advocating for the use of Open Data, Noms Peut-Être, a feminist collective advocating for more equality in the public space and 60 citizens have created a map visualizing the street names of Brussels by gender. With male names highlighted in yellow and female names in purple, the platform visualizes the imbalance present in the attribution of a name to a public space in Brussels Region. Results: only 6% of street names are named after women and only one street is named after a transgender man. 

The names of public spaces (streets, avenues, squares and others) define the identity of a city and how citizens interact with it.There are several ways to approach the inequality of street names and leverage a positive change in our society. Ours is with the use of Open Data to create a map visualizing the street names of Brussels by gender.

“To create this map, we have used Open Data – data which can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose – from OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia”, explain Manon Brulard, in charge of the project for Open Knowledge Belgium. To link this data, 60 citizens gathered on 17 February to add Wikidata tags (a tag containing all the information from a Wikipedia page) to the streets on OpenStreetMap. Using Open Data has unlocked a new range of possibilities, the project being now replicable in other cities and the analysis being completely transparent.

“Public space is currently only “public” by name. Everyone should be able to use it equally. Yet, this space remains masculine, part of it because of the type of names that have been attributed to streets. A street, it’s a place where we live, where we meet, where we work. It’s a place that will stay in our collective memories. It’s a shame to “forget” women who, whatever the time, have done remarkable things”, says Camille Wernaers, member of the feminist collective Noms Peut-Être.

Collaborative workshops will be organized from March until December to suggest new and more diverse names to municipalities. Biographies of these women will also be created. These suggestions will be added to the platform and will serve as advice for municipalities to choose from. The first workshop will take place on 23 March 2020 from 18:00-22:00 at La Maison des Femmes de Schaerbeek (Rue Josaphat 253, 1030 Schaerbeek).

More information & registration here: https://equalstreetnamesworkshop.eventbrite.co.uk

EqualStreetNames.Brussels is made possible thanks to Equal.Brussels

About

Open Knowledge Belgium is an association advocating for the use of Open Data and for Open Education.

Website: https://be.okfn.org/

Noms Peut-Être is a feminist collective aiming to, in Brussels Region, to put forward women* from here and elsewhere, denounce the invisibility of women* in the public space, in History and to propose new inspiring models for everyone. The collective is active throughout the year by doing civil disobedience actions.

Website: https://nomspeutetre.wordpress.com/

Contact: 

Open Knowledge Belgium:

Manon Brulard

Email:  equalstreetnames@openknowledge.be

Noms Peut-Être:

Camille Wernaers

Noms Peut-Être: nomspeutetre@gmail.com

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