How to be Considerate

  • 2020

  • Social Impact

    Next Gen

Designed By:

  • Chloe Sterland

Commissioned By:

Chloe Sterland

Designed In:


Women still do not feel safe navigating public space, despite current initiatives designed to mitigate this. The educational atlas, ‘How to Be Considerate,’ provides practical instructions and tools for both strangers and designers, cultivating a fundamental shift in perspective and responsibility. This provides a strong foundation for lasting change.

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Image: Christopher Chen
Image: Christopher Chen
Image: Christopher Chen
Image: Christopher Chen
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  • One in six adolescent women in Melbourne believe they should not be in public space at night. Due to the very real threat of sexual violence, and societally reinforced fear, women move through our cities in a state of hypervigilance. When addressing safety in public space, responses often focus on changing women’s behaviour. These solutions range from telling women to avoid public space at night, to interventions such as safety apps. Considering these tensions, this project used co-design methods and tools to develop a response to this issue without further inflating fear or placing responsibility on women.

  • This project produced two distinct yet connected outcomes. ‘How to be a Considerate Stranger’ analyses the scenario of walking behind someone at night. It is an educational guide designed to help ‘Strangers’ (predominantly males that are unaware of the fear women experience in public space) understand how their actions can lower the ‘female fear’. ‘How to be a Considerate Professional’ integrates this learning into a workshop-based campaign for those involved in the design of public spaces. The workshop reinforces how understanding and incorporating the experiences of women is an integral part of designing inclusive public spaces.

  • Through educating men on the fear that women experience in public space, this project has the potential for large-scale social impact. Through both micro and macro interventions, this project provides ‘strangers’ with tangible ways they can reduce fear, thereby meeting and exceeding the design challenge. It engages men beyond bystander intervention, empowering them to actively participate in creating environments where women feel safer. Through this, the campaign establishes women and safety as an issue that everyone needs to be involved in, encouraging a much-needed exploration into alternate ways of addressing and discussing women and safety.

  • Co-design was central to this project's success. Through a literature review and employment of co-design tools to gather primary research, the underutilised group of actors within this issue, ‘Strangers’, was identified. The testing of project outcomes with beneficiaries (both the general public and professionals), confirmed the gap in education and validated the need for this project. The users expressed that they had never considered the problem, or were aware of it but were unsure of how to respond. The positive feedback expressed by both target groups demonstrated that this project provided them with realistic and immediate actions that they could implement in personal and professional realms. As this project challenges a number of biases, ethicists were involved in the development to minimise ‘knee-jerk’ reactions, influencing the tone of the ‘How to Be Considerate’ guide. By approaching this issue with humour, openness and understanding of other people's opinions, the project harnesses a broad appeal for numerous demographics and beliefs. The message is communicated through an inclusive and non-aggressive aesthetic, adding to a playfulness that is not often found in similar initiatives, especially when it comes to education on social issues.