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From Social Taboo to Brace of Hope: Redefining Public Toilets to Reclaim Women’s Right to the City. Case study of Tyre, Lebanon.

Zeinab Hashem

From Social Taboo to Brace of Hope: Redefining Public Toilets to Reclaim Women’s Right to the City. Case study of Tyre, Lebanon.

Rel. Francesca Frassoldati. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile, 2023

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Toilets, though indispensable in urban infrastructure and everyday life, often remain overlooked in city planning discourse and public consciousness. Throughout history, public toilets have taken many forms and served different societal, political and economical agendas, eventually evolving into the technologically advanced and architecturally diverse facilities we encounter today. Yet, a persistent gender disparity in their design and provision endures, primarily catering to male users.The restricted access to public toilets for women has profound implications disrupting the accessibility and participation of women within the city’s social and economic realms. It further accentuates the challenges associated with the roles women have chosen or had imposed upon them. This thesis investigates the design deficiencies in public toilets, in the context of today's Lebanon, with a focus on their disproportionately adverse impacts on women and other marginalized groups. It underscores public toilets' significance as vital social spaces and examines their role in shaping women’s visibility in the city. The fieldwork analysis and proposal target Tyre, a traditional coastal city in Southern Lebanon. The city's population is diverse, consisting of local Lebanese residents, as well as Palestinian and Syrian refugees who have either lived there for multiple generations or have arrived more recently. Gender roles tend to be well-defined, with women shouldering the primary responsibilities associated with child-rearing, household management, and the majority of domestic chores. This puts them in direct contact with the city’s streets and public spaces. Those spaces, though often offering restrooms for men, uniformly lack facilities for women, making it considerably more challenging for them to carry out their responsibilities. While design alone cannot directly recalibrate established gender roles, it can certainly play a pivotal role in facilitating and supporting women in their endeavors. To this end, the proposal introduces multifunctional public toilet “houses” positioned in strategic locations around the city, and conceived with women’s bodily needs and different societal roles in mind. Additionally, multiple single unisex toilets are positioned in less congested locations to compensate for the lack of facilities hindering women’s access to the city and provide safe and well-equipped spaces for when nature calls. The end goal of these multi-scaled facilities is to reclaim the access and right of women in Tyre to public spaces and facilitate their daily intricate chores.

Relators: Francesca Frassoldati
Academic year: 2023/24
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 68
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-04 - ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/29271
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