Teen girls sitting on a wooden bench in Amsterdam, 2022. Image © Nicole Roach
Teen girls are neither children nor adults, meaning they have specific needs and behaviours different from both these groups. Unfortunately, like many marginalized groups, these needs and behaviours have not been met or encouraged through our built environment as it has for others. For example, playgrounds are built for children to let off steam and sports courts that foster competition are targeted at men and teen boys.
Accordingly, not building public spaces with the needs of teen girls in mind allows other groups of people, predominantly men who already take up 80% of public spaces, to continue to dominate them. Making teen girls feel ten times less secure in public spaces. Not only does this absence affect their social, physical, and mental development, but it also complicates how they see where they belong in public spaces.