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EqualStreetNames Brussels: Launch of open data visualisation

- March 3, 2020 in EqualStreetNames, Featured, Open Data, openstreetmap, Wikidata

Less than 7% of street names have been named after a woman in Brussels: launch of EqualStreetNames.Brussels Open Knowledge Belgium, an association advocating for the use of Open Data, Noms Peut-Être, a feminist collective advocating for more equality in the public space and 60 citizens have created a map visualizing the street names of Brussels by gender. With male names highlighted in yellow and female names in purple, the platform visualizes the imbalance present in the attribution of a name to a public space in Brussels Region. Results: only 6% of street names are named after women and only one street is named after a transgender man.  The names of public spaces (streets, avenues, squares and others) define the identity of a city and how citizens interact with it.There are several ways to approach the inequality of street names and leverage a positive change in our society. Ours is with the use of Open Data to create a map visualizing the street names of Brussels by gender. “To create this map, we have used Open Data – data which can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose – from OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia”, explain Manon Brulard, in charge of the project for Open Knowledge Belgium. To link this data, 60 citizens gathered on 17 February to add Wikidata tags (a tag containing all the information from a Wikipedia page) to the streets on OpenStreetMap. Using Open Data has unlocked a new range of possibilities, the project being now replicable in other cities and the analysis being completely transparent. “Public space is currently only “public” by name. Everyone should be able to use it equally. Yet, this space remains masculine, part of it because of the type of names that have been attributed to streets. A street, it’s a place where we live, where we meet, where we work. It’s a place that will stay in our collective memories. It’s a shame to “forget” women who, whatever the time, have done remarkable things”, says Camille Wernaers, member of the feminist collective Noms Peut-Être. Collaborative workshops will be organized from March until December to suggest new and more diverse names to municipalities. Biographies of these women will also be created. These suggestions will be added to the platform and will serve as advice for municipalities to choose from. The first workshop will take place on 23 March 2020 from 18:00-22:00 at La Maison des Femmes de Schaerbeek (Rue Josaphat 253, 1030 Schaerbeek). More information & registration here: https://equalstreetnamesworkshop.eventbrite.co.uk
EqualStreetNames.Brussels is made possible thanks to Equal.Brussels
About Open Knowledge Belgium is an association advocating for the use of Open Data and for Open Education. Website: https://be.okfn.org/ Noms Peut-Être is a feminist collective aiming to, in Brussels Region, to put forward women* from here and elsewhere, denounce the invisibility of women* in the public space, in History and to propose new inspiring models for everyone. The collective is active throughout the year by doing civil disobedience actions. Website: https://nomspeutetre.wordpress.com/ Contact:  Open Knowledge Belgium: Manon Brulard Email:  equalstreetnames@openknowledge.be Noms Peut-Être: Camille Wernaers Noms Peut-Être: nomspeutetre@gmail.com

Press articles:

Towards Equal Street Names with Open Data

- February 3, 2020 in EqualStreetNames, Events, Open Knowledge, opendata

We are using Open Data to build a map visualizing the streets names of Brussels by gender. We need your help!
The names of public spaces (streets, avenues, squares and others) define the identity of a city and how citizens interact with it. Brussels suffers from a major inequality between male and female street names and we want to help fix this! Event info & registration: http://equalstreetnamesbrussels.eventbrite.co.uk/ There are several ways to approach the inequality of street names and leverage a positive change in our society. Ours is with the use of Open Data. We want to use technologies to create a world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few. How do we plan to do this? Several not-for-profits Open Knowledge Belgium, OpenStreetMap Belgium and Wikimedia Belgium are partnering up to build a map vizualizing the street names of Brussels by gender. To make this happen, we will use open data – data which can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose – from OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia. And to do so, we need your help! Although the data exist, we still need to link both data sources. During this event, we will add Wikidata tags (a tag containing all the information from a Wikipedia page) to the streets on OpenStreetMap. Linking this data will allow many possibilities such as using existing Wikipedia profiles as suggestions for cities or analysing what types of profiles are used for street names. To be very clear: you don’t need to have a technical profile to join but rather the ambition to make a change. We’ll start the evening with a brief introduction about what needs to be done. By participating, you will contribute to OpenStreetMap, Wikipedia and to a project that could easily be replicated in many cities across the world. We aim to gather 100 people Many streets in Brussels – more precisely, several hundreds – are missing the adequate Wikidata tags. Therefore, please do bring along a friend! We want to fill the whole room with 100 people and do our very best to get it all done in one night. Why is there still so much manual work to do for a technological project? To do this project, we could have used an expensive data mining software, which would make the project difficult to replicate in other cities. By using open data, we want to make it more sustainable and contribute to the web we want. When is it? Join us on Monday 17 February at 18:00 in the offices of Doctors Without Borders (Rue de l’Arbre Bénit 46, 1050 Ixelles) I need food in order to be productive. Will there be food? Croque-Madame & Croque-Monsieur are offered (whatever your preference is!). Please just don’t forget to register so that we know how many people we should expect. What do I need to bring? You need to come with your own computer. Do I need a technical profile to come? Absolutely not! Just your ambition to change the street names 😉 Organised by whom? This project is the result of a collaboration between not-for-profit organisations Open Knowledge Belgium, OpenStreetMap Belgium, Wikimedia Belgium and the feminist collective Noms Peut-Être. The event is made possible with the support of Equal.Brussels.