A public urinal for women that is also a beautiful flowering garden

  • canaday
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A public urinal for women that is also a beautiful flowering garden

Hi everyone,

I would like to share my new design for a public urinal for women that is also a flowering garden. In other words, a little bit of nature in the middle of the city for answering the call of nature. ;)

I named it the Wurinatu (women urinate in nature, but this can have other interesting interpretations; feel free to let me know what it sounds like in your languages). Among other things, this way it has a unique name to be searched on the internet. Here is the description in Spanish and English:

inodoroseco.blogspot.com/2017/05/wurinat...publico-florido.html

I had been thinking about this for a while, but was ultimately triggered by seeing Faltazi's beautiful Uritrottoir public urinals for men on sidewalks in Paris:

and wanted to offer something similar to women, who obviously need more privacy.

I think this is an important solution, since in public places, women mostly just need to pee, but they are only offered sit-down toilets where others have been pooping ... and they do not even want to touch them for fear of the germs :sick: . Plus when they crouch or "hover" over the toilet bowl, they cannot fully empty their bladders, so they actually have to go through this torture more often :angry: . The Wurinatu, in contrast, is for more comfortable, natural, and ergonomic squatting, without touching anything (except for holding onto the edge of a flower planter for balance, if she likes) ... and no poop anywhere. There is also no roof, for more air, less smell, more cleansing with each rain, disinfection with solar UV, and sufficient light for photosynthesis. In America, women can deposit one nectar while hummingbirds consume another from the flowers ... and, throughout the world, we can plant species that attract butterflies. B)

It would be great to do these in schools, universities, city parks, wide sidewalks, bus stations, on the roofs of office buildings, and anywhere else that there are big concentrations of women who need to pee. I even suggest in this article a practical variation on this theme for subways (without the flowering plants). :woohoo:

Please let me know what you think. Also let me if you do one and especially if you make any improvements. I would be glad to help advise you.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com

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  • muench
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Re: A public urinal for women that is also a beautiful flowering garden

Dear Chris,

Very innovative idea, way ahead of its time! :-)

I had a look at your blog where I found this schematic which explains it well:



My questions would be:

1. Have you set one up at your own site yet?

2. I worry how you could maintain that grassy area inside of the cubicle. I know it has no roof but if lots of people walk on that grass it will soon turn into mud, I think. Or it will take a lot of maintenance and caring! Is the grassy area really required? Perhaps gravel would be better. The area with the flowers could also be outside of the cubicle.

3. It would be interesting to find out how women who are not used to squatting like the experience. I guess it would remind us of peeing in nature where even us "sitters" all squat, too.

4. The steps are a disadvantage for elderly. I guess wheelchair users couldn't use it anyhow because the grass would be damaged and there are no grab bars, as there is no roof.

But overall the idea is good. When I am out and about with my kids and my son needs to pee, and there is no public toilet around, I always tell him to look for a green, planted area to pee on, rather than one with concrete. However, one still needs to be careful because if you get caught then you could be in trouble with the authorities. I would say nobody would mind with a 9-year old boy but at some stage when he gets older it would be a problem. In city areas, esepcially in e.g. underpasses, but also in elevators (!!) one sometimes notices the strong smell of urine and you wonder "why can't men rather find a green grassy area if they need to pee" (as it's always men who pee in public not women)...

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • canaday
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Re: A public urinal for women that is also a beautiful flowering garden

Hi Elisabeth,

Thank you for commenting on this design. (Let's not worry about being ahead of our time, when we are trying to build a sustainable future. Let's be more worried about continuing to apply unsustainable ideas from the past, just because everyone else is.)

Here are my answers to your questions.

1. Have you set one up at your own site yet?

No, unfortunately we have not. The Omaere Ethnobotanical Park is almost entirely reforested, so we do not really have a site with the sunlight necessary at ground level for these plants .... but I am working on it, and we have the space and plants necessary to skip the tank and simply install perforated and buried hoses among the plants (as explained at the end of the blog post). We may have to install an inorganic privacy wall. I am, however, talking with people from the local university about doing one there and there seems to be interest.

2. I worry how you could maintain that grassy area inside of the cubicle. I know it has no roof but if lots of people walk on that grass it will soon turn into mud, I think. Or it will take a lot of maintenance and caring! Is the grassy area really required? Perhaps gravel would be better. The area with the flowers could also be outside of the cubicle.

If mud is a problem, strategically placed stepping stones could be placed. The idea is to have an ecosystem underfoot that receives any misdirected urine, thus preventing bad smells from being generated. An inorganic, artificial privacy structure could also be added, if necessary, but I would prefer it to be on the outside of the plants, thus the space that the user interacts with is natural, living, beautiful, and keeps itself clean. Clipping the lawn and pruning the plants would clearly be necessary, but I would say that this would be less work and less unpleasant than constantly scrubbing normal floors and walls.

3. It would be interesting to find out how women who are not used to squatting like the experience. I guess it would remind us of peeing in nature where even us "sitters" all squat, too.

Many of the female volunteers and visitors in Omaere really like our UDDT for squatting, given that it allows them to use this more natural, comfortable and ergonomic position in a private and presentable place, which they had never had the opportunity to do before. Yes, that is the idea of the Wurinatu: this is a natural act, so let's do it in a natural place, even if that means a tiny postage stamp bit of nature in the middle of the city.

4. The steps are a disadvantage for elderly. I guess wheelchair users couldn't use it anyhow because the grass would be damaged and there are no grab bars, as there is no roof.

The design is currently aimed at the able-bodied majority, but it could be adapted with ramps, grab bars, etc., for elderly or handicapped people. We could even make one for sitting down, if the users cannot squat, and there would still be the advantage that since it is only for peeing, there would be much less risk of nasty germs being there.

This could be a great thesis topic for someone and the female students at the same univerity would likely be very glad to use Wurinatus. Hopefully, local university here and many others will come on board.

I welcome any other comments, suggestions, or requests for assistance on this.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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  • kunene47
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Re: A public urinal for women that is also a beautiful flowering garden

It is a good idea but it could be a problem with siting. How far would this woman urinal be from for instance a restaurant or bus terminus? What about smell from this area when the weather is inclement or overcast? The smell could be unbearable. The other thing is hygiene. Where are they going to wash their hands as women usually wipe themselves after this process.My other concern is how this area is going to be designated as this could attract male sex pests and poor women could be in trouble. Need thorough thinking and analysis.
Lucas Kunene - new comer to the Forum
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Re: A public urinal for women that is also a beautiful flowering garden

Dear Canady my name is Lucas Kunene and I am leaving in South Africa. I am sorry to deviate from your topic concerning the women urinal but I am also interested in the men sidewalk public toilets in Paris you mentioned. This is a good idea as public tiolets are normally placed around busy business nodes (bus terminus, taxi ranks, railway stations etc.) or other populous areas in the city.. I think it was forward thinking from the French to come up with such innovative idea and a public health intervention. We encounter major problems of taxi people stopping along the highway/freeways or anywhere in the CBD street, alley or servitude and urinate in full view of the public. This has turned our city into a sewer plant especially on a hot summer day. The idea of sidewalk public urinals could mitigate this problem. I would appreciate if you could elaborate on the design of these urinals..I am an environmental health practitioner passionate about sanitation and public health in general. I worked for the City of Johannesburg for over thirty years and in possession of a Masters Degree in Environmental Health obtained from the University of Johannesburg. I am scouting for a suitable topic for a PhD in either sanitation/ water or diseases relating to sanitation or water.
Regards
Lucas Kunene
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Re: A public urinal for women that is also a beautiful flowering garden

Dear Lucas,

Thank you for these questions, which I will answer below and hopefully resolve any doubts.

1) Would location be a problem?. How far would this women's urinal have to be from for instance a restaurant or a bus terminal?

It could be right next to a restaurant or in an open space within a bus station, since there would be no smell and there just has to be enough room for the plants that form the privacy walls. If hedges are used, more space would be needed than trellises with vines.

2) What about smell from this urinal when the weather is inclement or overcast?

There would be no smell in any weather, since the urine goes down a hose to the bottom of the tank, and the air that comes out of the tank has to filter through the soil of the flower planter, which would absorb any smell. In addition, since there is no roof, the wind would quickly whisk away any minor odors. Furthermore, Nadia Andreev, in Moldova, is working out ways to do fermentation with lactic acid bacteria in such urine tanks, which would acidify the urine and prevent the formation of smelly ammonia, which also makes it better fertilizer for plants (and more pleasant to spread on fields).

3) Where are they going to wash their hands (as women usually wipe themselves after urinating)?

There is a TippyTap in the design for handwashing and the water would sprinkle the plants in the flower planter. If there is running water, a pedal-operated valve would release water in a similar way. Paper and sanitary pads would go into the trash bin, which could also be a larger duct, in sites with lots of visitation.

4) Would Wurinatus attract male sex offenders?

No, this is actually one of the advantages of this design, since they can be located in highly visible, public places, and women would not have to go farther away from safe zones in order to find sufficient privacy. In fact, they could placed right next to homes, schools, businesses, bus stations, busy avenues, shopping centers, etc. Where possible, they could be located in clear view of places where guards and police stand (without being right next to them). These should be safer than conventional restrooms, since passersby and police can easily hear if there are unusual sounds coming from within.

5) Could you give more details on the Uritrottoir male urinal for sidewalks?

This was designed by the Faltazi company in France. It has a beautiful flower planter on top, while below there is a box of wheat straw or sawdust that absorbs the urine and is periodically taken to a composting facility. I would suggest that we could do something similar to the Wurinatu for men, only it would be simpler. Here is a very simple model:
inodoroseco.blogspot.com/2015/12/un-nuev...inario-sin-agua.html

Please let me know what you think ... and if you want help to make a Wurinatu.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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  • Ecowaters
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Re: A public urinal for women that is also a beautiful flowering garden

Chris, make a prototype and invite women to use it, then tell us how it's working.
I find this is the only way to know the viability of a design and understand how to improve it.
Laurent's urinal works differently.

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