Back at the beginning we identified three core aims: to promote an explicitly gendered urban theory; to expose persistent inequalities in the everyday lived realities of women and men in both the global north and the global south, through the analytic lens of gender; and to influence the tone and substance of classroom debate as well as practitioner and civic engagement. This chapter summarises the journey we have taken in pursuit of these aims. We begin by reflecting on the starting premise for this book. We then summarise the key arguments raised in each of the three parts. Finally we reflect on the future direction of research and debate on cities and gender, focusing on the classroom, staff room, field trip and the city as critical sites within which gender relations are performed and reproduced

Back to the beginning

The image we chose for the front cover of this book is that of a piece of performance art called Journey with Restraints. In this performance, the artist Birgit Deubner walks through the streets of Liverpool, England, struggling under the weight of a pair of lead wings. We felt that the interactive urban encounter – where the city is perceived and imagined through the five senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch – provided an engaging point of entry to the kind of urban ethnographic sensibility that we promote throughout this book, such as with the learning activity in Chapter 4: it also serves to animate questions of standpoint introduced in Chapter 1 (see also Cardiff 2005 for other examples of performance walks). The strength of this image lies at one and the same time in an unambiguous metaphor of the subjugated female body, doubly burdened by the practical constraints of urban daily life, coupled with an ambiguous sense of time and place whereby this silhouette could represent any city on the globe, North or South, East or West; the figure could be from any decade of the twentieth or twenty-first century.