The Her City Toolbox was first piloted in Fittja, Botkyrka, Sweden in the Urban Girls Movement project 2017-2019. Through city walks, workshops and the use of other digital and inclusive tools, local authorities, architects, property owners, constructors and other multi-stakeholders have been working alongside a group of young girls aged 14-25 to redesign the area.


Category: Municipality and privat sector
Location: Fittja square, station and marketplace, in Botkyrka municipality, Swede
Time: December 2017 – November 2019
Partners: Global Utmaning, Botkyrka municipality, UN-Habitat, Mistra Urban Futures, Iteam, Swedish Union of Tenants, White architects, Changers Hub
Participants: Girls and young women from Botkyrka and urban professionals from Botkyrka municipality, the Region of Stockholm, Kungsvåningen AB, Södertörn University, KTH

Her Story

Challenges The long-term purpose of Urban Girls Movement is to improve the living conditions for girls and young women in vulnerable urban areas by highlighting participatory design and public space planning; promoting public health, sanitation, access to education and employment, and security. Girls and young women face specifc challenges in urban settings and must become key stakeholders in urban development projects.


Solutions Design and community workshopping is an efficient way to establish and address the needs and priorities of different groups in society. On the square in Fittja there are now several seating areas, green plants and happy locals hanging around, talking, playing. The idea is that it should feel like a public living room – which is based on ideas from the young girls living in the municipality. The project with the pop-up park on Fittja square has been appreciated and received very positive response from the residents in the area. “Very nice benches! I really like the colours! Cozy”, are some of the reactions from the locals.

Opportunities Today it has turned into a popular meeting place with seats and colourful wooden furniture, but the pop-up park is only a first step for Fittja square. This is part of Fittja’s development in collaboration between, among others, the municipality, the Police and the housing company Botkyrkabyggen. The goal is to create a safe square for everyone. For the moment they have used several of the ideas and designs from the girls in the Urban Girls Movement pilot for developing an adjacent parking lot into a public square. Elements such as movable furniture, eco-system plantations, “the greenhouse”, floor paintings, murals, integrated playing and sports facilities, are all to be found among the girls’ Minecraft designs.

Impact “When I come here, I talk to people I would never have talked to otherwise”, says Saga about the new pop-up park on Fittja square. Botkyrkabyggen with the help of local organizations in Fittja, has also organized several activities with the inhabitants to activate the site such as, gardening and biodiversity workshops to learn about greenery and biodiversity. As well as painting workshops during which the inhabitants painted the drawings we see in the middle of the site. The lighting will be further improved in the area and three landscape architects will develop detailed plans for how the square will be redesigned. The project has reinforced the initial idea of “Plan and build the city for girls, and it will work for everyone”. The project has shown that prioritising girls and young women in urban development is crucial to make cities and public spaces more inclusive and sustainable. In this sense, it has also proven to be an an efficient tool to meet global sustainability agendas such as the 2030 Agenda SDGs 5, 10, 11, 16 and 17.

Lessons learned Community participation was key in the development of the designs. The inhabitants could participate in workshops and make wish-list of how they imagine the space to look like in the future. The design and the implementation of the different elements and urban furniture were done gradually, depending on the evolving needs of the inhabitants. The initiative also seeks to contribute to the development of new methods for local urban development and planning that promote safe and productive public spaces, and that can be applicable both in Northern low-income areas as well as informal urban settlements in the Global South, and divided cities globally.


Block 1: Stakeholder engagement A multi-stakeholder team of girls and professionals to mainstream youth, gender and socio-economic perspectives throughout the entire planning, design and implementation process.

Block 2: City wide assessment A city level analysis based on girls and young women’s observations and a list with their top priority spaces to be improved.


Block 3: Site specific assessment Collecting quantitative and qualitative data by girls and young women on the state of the space that is considered a top priority for improvement.

Block 4: Analysing challenges A joint vision for the space based on a detailed analysis of the girls’ needs and current privileges in the space.

Block 5: Designing ideas A rough design in Minecraft of the new space made by the girls and professionals based on the solutions identified throughout the process.


Block 6: Recommendations A joint action plan for the space where girls and professionals negotiate ways forward for implementation and potential impact of the project.


Block 7: Action plans Detailed plans collaboratively developed by the girls and professionals for the construction phase including cost estimations and maintenance plans.

Block 8: Sharing results Approval to move forward and start construction from decision-makers and community and spreading of knowledge gained throughout the project.



Block 9: Implementation and follow-up An evaluation of the process, follow up on construction by the girls and a final report on the results of the entire project with a mainstreaming strategy to scale up similar initiatives.





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Her City is a joint urban development initiative by UN-Habitat (the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) and the independent think tank Global Utmaning (Global Challenge).