Women-Centred Housing Design

The Women-Centred Housing Design project led by the BCSTH explores housing design specifically for women with experiences of violence. This project emerged out of previous BCSTH housing projects including the Getting Home Project which highlighted that affordability and discrimination are only a few of the barriers to accessing long-term housing for women and their children/dependents after leaving violence. Housing suitability and access to appropriate housing options are other important challenges in meeting their long-term housing needs as they transition out of temporary housing. Racialized populations including Indigenous peoples, refugees and newcomers and multi-generational families are disproportionately impacted to secure long-term housing due to their cultural and living arrangements, economic constraints, lifestyle preferences (e.g., living communally), and household size that differ from the normative nuclear family (the basis of most housing design).

Although advocates are currently raising these issues to address the policy barriers, this project highlights that there are also opportunities in the design of housing to enhance the suitability of living spaces for women and their dependents. This project takes an intersectional lens to the housing space design needs of women that includes their experiences of violence and trauma, gender, single parenting, family size and composition, lifestyle, and age and needs of children.

Project Details

Through a co-creation process, engaging women with lived experiences, in consultation with the housing sector (e.g., developers, architects, housing providers), and researching best practice, this project aims to offer a design toolkit with potential solutions and useful design strategies to the anti-violence and housing sectors to develop and retrofit long-term housing that are intentionally designed and suitable for this population. To assess the applicability and feasibility of the toolkit, it will be piloted in urban and rural member programs to enhance its usability. The final online toolkit will be shared with BCSTH member programs and the broader housing and anti-violence sectors provincially and nationally.

Women-Centred Housing Design is funded by the Catherine Donnelley Foundation, the Real Estate Foundation of BC and Women’s Shelters Canada.

For more information or input, please contact the Project Coordinator, Ghazaleh Akbarnejad, at ghazaleh@bcsth.ca.

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