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Council backs project to help everyone feel safe while exercising

Women and gender-diverse people in Latrobe City are being urged to use a new interactive map to record public open spaces where they feel safe to enjoy leisure, sport and play.

Council is taking part in the interactive project, YourGround, that will map local streets, parks, trails and recreational spaces, sharing the often hidden experiences of safety for women and gender-diverse people.

YourGround was launched late last month, with the results to be used to inform future decisions about public open spaces across Latrobe City.

Council is joining with Monash University’s gender, design and space specialists, XYX Lab, and award-winning digital consultancy, CrowdSpot, to gather perceptions of safety in public space and make real change in the local area.

“Latrobe City Council is encouraging our community to share the places where they feel safe exercising and being outdoors, so that others can be alerted to these locations and enjoy them too,” Latrobe City Council Mayor, Cr Sharon Gibson said.

Statistics show the ability to exercise in public spaces – and access to them - is restricted for women and gender-diverse people due to fear, violence and harassment.

While 80% of Australian men report feeling safe while walking alone at night, a 2019 Community Council for Australia report notes that only 50% of women say the same.

YourGround is a proactive tool to help make positive change in our shared public spaces - spaces that should be accessible to everyone.

The map crowdsources data, allowing users to anonymously drop a pin, tell a story or share an experience while out for leisure, sport, exercise or play. When collated and analysed, this data will provide insights that can make our cities, towns, parks, and sporting and community spaces more inclusive and equitable.

Whether running, picnicking, playing sport or catching up with friends, women and gender-diverse people are being asked to share their stories about where they feel safe or unsafe to help inform key decision-makers.

To have your say, go to the YourGround website: www.yourground.org

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