Black women’s perspectives on neighborhood safety: Reflections from The Women of Northeast Oklahoma City Photovoice Project

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Abstract

This paper presents findings from the Women of Northeast Oklahoma City Photovoice Project, an action research initiative of 26 African American women co-researchers who photograph their neighborhoods to understand and expose unmet safety needs in their community. The co-researchers’ findings suggest that the intersectional experience of Black women’s safety is underappreciated in safety scholarship and participatory policy making and that meaningful knowledge production must be recentered and guided by Black women themselves. We argue: 1) That the co-researchers findings suggest that neighborhood safety perceptions cannot be disentangled into discrete individual or demographic modifiers and that the emphasis on individual experience within safety scholarship has the potential to erase the intersectional political and spatial identity of Black women. 2) That participatory safety methods that focus on individuals’ recommendations or which focus narrowly on fixes to the built form will miss meaningful aspects of women’s socialspatial lives. 3) Ultimately, the discourse within the project lead the co-researchers toward political and economic solutions and an understanding that positive change will occur only when they gain control of the tools of urban development and the participatory processes that create urban policy.

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Davis, D., Harris, C., Johnson, V., Pennington, C., Redus, C., Sanders, T., … Gulilat, E. (2020). Black women’s perspectives on neighborhood safety: Reflections from The Women of Northeast Oklahoma City Photovoice Project. Gender, Place and Culture, 27(7), 917–943. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2019.1611547

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