Nørrebro Park: a case study of gendered spatiality and aesthetic experience

Giovanna Ottolini

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This master thesis addresses the relationship between gender and the aesthetic experience of public space. Starting from the theoretical hypothesis that space is constructed as gendered and thus gender does influence how we relate to public space, it focuses in particular on women’s aesthetic experience. In order to investigate how gender influences the experience and usage of public spaces it is taken into consideration a specific public place in Copenhagen, Nørrebro Park. The research question is: In what way the genderization of space influences women’s aesthetic experiences of Nørrebro Park? From a social constructivist, phenomenological and hermeneutical stand point it is investigated the relationship between the genderatizion of space and aesthetic experience of women and its implications in practice. The empirical data collected through quality interviews and focus groups interviews show how women’s aesthetic experience of Nørrebro Park is mainly associated with evocative properties of discomfort and unsafety. These experiences are analysed through a theoretical background in aesthetic theories, feminist aesthetics, the social construction of space and place with a specific focus on women’s mobility and its relation to fear of public places. It is argued that these aesthetic experiences are mainly negative because the genderization of space produces and is produced by unequal power relations that establish male dominance and female subordination socializing women since childhood in being afraid of public places, of darkness and of stranger men. Furthermore, it is discussed that one should try to move beyond those dichotomies that created this genderization in the first place. In order to do so, one should abandon those approaches that have guided urban planning in the past sixty years and that are based on liberalism, humanism and positivism since they would just continue to reproduce the patriarchal ideology they are themselves a product of. What should be attempted is to move pass those strategies that simply try to make women feel safe and instead try to make visible the diversity of the acts of boldness and negotiations of aesthetic experience that women practice every day. In this way alternative visions of a more equal public space can be promoted, not only for women but for all of those who do not identify as white, heterosexual male.

UddannelserPerformance-design, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato28 jun. 2016
VejledereDorte Jelstrup & Jonas Egmose


  • atmosphere
  • gender
  • power relations
  • right to the city
  • urban planning
  • public space
  • space
  • aesthetic experience
  • aesthetic properties
  • feminism
  • Nørrebro Park
  • place
  • patriarchy