Price Tags has written extensively about the fact that, like all humans, people who walk, cycle and take transit sometimes need to use the washroom. This is simply a basic human right; any transit network MUST include access to public washrooms, and they must also be equally accessible by children, seniors, and people requiring universal access facilities.
Now Paris has stepped into the fray, but not in a good way; the design of some absolutely horrid eco-friendly urinals suggests that only men are “number one”.
You can’t make this up — they look like little boxes on posts, and men are supposed to mosey up and urinate into them. As an added touch of class, each has a little “garden” growing on the top of the boxes. Now, originally these urinals faced walls, and were thus a bit discreet. But the newest installations in Paris allow men to urinate into freestanding boxes, facing a view.
But here’s what’s truly curious. While these raised boxes are supposedly to deal with the fact that people may otherwise urinate in the streets and other public areas, what does it say about women — that they have no need to use a washroom? And why has Paris resorted to a 19th century approach that excludes children, women, seniors and people with disabilities?
They have been installed on a sexist proposition: men cannot control themselves and so all of society has to adapt.
No one needs to urinate in the street.”
We’ve attached two videos for you to view Paris’ latest freestanding urinals. The first is an overview of the technology and where it is used, and the second video describes tourist response to the placement of the ‘uritrottoirs’.