|dc.description.abstract||New Zealand’s legal framework decriminalising sex work is unique. It supports sex worker rights and allows multi-agency co-operation to develop and implement a range of ‘street safety’ initiatives. However, regardless of the prevailing legislation, issues amongst communities in which street-based sex workers operate are common worldwide including, public nuisance, anti-social behaviour, and risk of violence toward sex workers.
This study explores what changes to policy, planning and urban design guidelines are needed in New Zealand to help reduce tensions associated with street-based sex work, increase street safety, and grow more locally diverse communities. A desktop literature review of international experiences reveals three key themes: Urban Design, Governance and Enforcement, Tolerance and Diversity. Using Christchurch as a case study, professional key informants active in the topic were interviewed to gain insight into local experiences which were compared with the key themes from the literature. Location based approaches dominated the discourse, reflecting predominate attitudes of the immorality of sex work, with spatial planning used as a tool to design-out sex work from areas and reinforce territorial boundaries.
No single clear solution was found, but a key insight is that multi-agency co-operation is vital and contributes to ‘street safety’ through development and implementation of initiatives to support all users of community and public space. The Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) in New Zealand in 2003 decriminalised sex work and having laws that protect sex workers rights enables relevant organisations to work together to help reduce community tensions and enhance local diversity while reducing the risk of violence and hardship of an already vulnerable group. Urban history and geography, density, functions, and demography are also key factors, and some types of street design can be helpful, such as mixed-use location, while others, zoning for example, are counterproductive.||en