Title

Gender, culture and space: An exploration of the relationship between the design of Canadian public indoor swimming pools and the lived recreational swimming experiences of Muslim women attending the Windsor YMCA culturally appropriate all-female swim program (Ontario).

Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.H.K.

Department

Kinesiology

Keywords

Women's Studies.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

This thesis explores the ways that the design of public recreational swimming space facilitates or inhibits participation by community user groups. A guiding theoretical framework combining Foucault's (1977) Panopticon with Bhabha's (1994) Third Space, was used to describe the challenges Muslim women confront in accessing recreation that fits within the conflicting norms of Canadian and Islamic cultures. In addition to this, the value of all-female public recreation space that provides opportunities for the transfer of knowledge via all female space was explored. Through semi-structured qualitative interviews with three public swimming pool architects, three municipal decision makers/programmers (involved in the design process of three different open concept leisure pools) and six women from a culturally appropriate all-female swim hosted by the Windsor YMCA, a better understanding of the relationship between the design process and the experiences of a user group was developed. Participant observation - my own ongoing participation in the all-female swim - provided additional insights. Information gathered from the interviews with recreationists and facility architects revealed that the responsibility for communicating the needs of the community rests with the municipal decision maker/programmer. This person facilitates communication between the architect and the user groups and hence, requires the appropriate resources (i.e., time, financial, knowledge) to ensure that all community groups are accessed in the design process. A challenge faced here is that while the municipal representatives interviewed had a strong leisure focus for their design, organized, competitive groups continue to be the most vocal about their design requirements. Six Muslim women from a culturally appropriate all-female swim program were interviewed revealing the challenges faced by these women in accessing recreation as well as the benefits associated with participating in an all-female recreation space. Creative strategies were suggested to solicit input from the myriad non-organized community user groups. Some of the recommended strategies included accessing user groups at convenient locations within the community such as malls and grocery stores; developing a guiding document to inform recreation professionals as to how to direct the process; and seeking feedback within spaces that facilitate a greater comfort level for the user group. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2005 .T96. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 44-03, page: 1255. Thesis (M.H.K.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2005.