Public Space

Towards a Liveable City

Public spaces have significant effects on our overall well-being. Be they parks, open plazas and shaded atriums, or the streets that people use every day, public space provides us relief from the dense urban environment by promoting life outside of buildings, as well as the opportunity to foster social connections with fellow city residents. They bring economic benefits by drawing more customers towards nearby businesses, but also by making Singapore a more attractive city to live, work and play in.

Key Focus – Public Spaces

As our city grows, we have been planning for new public spaces and looking at enlivening existing spaces through good design and programming.

What Makes Good Public Spaces

The qualities that set a good public space apart from others are encapsulated in the acronym PLACES.

What Makes Good Public Spaces

  1. People and Programming
    Successful public spaces are well used and loved by many people. While good design enhances the appeal of a place, regular programming actively draws in new and repeat users by giving people reasons to visit.

    Roving installations at Raffles Place Park
    Roving installations at Raffles Place Park

  2. Lush Landscaping
    Singapore is called a garden city for good reasons. Plans to enhance public space have always included bringing nature into urban areas, and wherever possible - lush greenery and attractive waterbodies are integrated to create exceptional destinations.

    Zhongshan Park 
    Zhongshan Park

  3. Accessibility
    To sustain usage, public spaces must be conveniently accessible by public transport. Getting there and getting around should be easy in any weather, even for less mobile citizens. Creating car-free zones has been one effective way to create people-friendly spaces. Ann Siang Road, Club Street and Haji Lane become some of the most vibrant streets where the roads are turned to public spaces without having to worry about cars.

    Ann Siang Hill 
    Ann Siang Hill
    © Vincent Yeo

  4. Comfort
    Public spaces need to be safe and comfortable enough for people to linger. This often means having ample shade, sufficient seating, good lighting and universal design. Where appropriate, developers will be required to contribute public space as part of their developments.

    The Cube at Asia Square 
    The Cube at Asia Square
    © Asia Square

  5. Excellence in design + Eye for Detail + Engaging
    Small or seemingly insignificant details can make a difference between an ordinary space and a remarkable one. By placing greater emphasis on design and details, we make a public space more engaging for everyone.

    Project Bench 
    Project Bench
    © Singapore Furniture Industries Council

  6. Sense of delight + Sharing of Spaces
    Good public spaces are those that evoke a sense of delight. It could be a picturesque view revealed, a humorous sculpture, a scene of people enjoying themselves, or a boulevard of trees laden with blossoms. Good public spaces also allow people to share the space, watch out for each other, and just enjoy being there with other people.

    Kite-flying at the Marina Barrage 
     Kite-flying at the Marina Barrage

Upcoming Public Space Projects

We are working on the walkability and the appeal of streets in Bras Basah, Bugis, and the Civic District. Plans for Queen Street include providing more space for street events. Co-location and dual-use strategies not only help optimise the use of spaces – they create gathering spots with a buzz which keeps people coming back.

Artist’s impression of Queen Street
Artist’s impression of Queen Street

Even as more high-rises dot the urban landscape, URA’s policies and incentives will ensure that residents and visitors continue to be surrounded by ample greenery. The LUSH (Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises) programme requires for new developments to provide publicly accessible green spaces that are at least equivalent to the site area of the development. Skyrise greenery will extend beyond the city centre as the scheme is applied to newer key growth areas. URA will also continue to work with PUB and other agencies on ABC projects to create active, beautiful and clean waterways for people to enjoy.

Aritst’s impression of Marina One
Aritst’s impression of Marina One, a mixed-use development with a “green heart” a beautifully landscaped courtyard right at its centre. Marina One was completed in 2017. © Ingenhoven Architects

Artist's Impression of a rejuvenated Rochor Canal
Artist's Impression of a rejuvenated Rochor Canal. Enhancement works at the canal were completed in 2014.

To make the city more pedestrian-friendly, URA has identified more locations where car-free zones can be introduced, including streets in Kampong Glam, Boat Quay, and the Civic District. These areas are characterised by vibrant street life and high pedestrian traffic, making them good choices for road closures on a regular basis.

Road closures on Friday Saturday evenings
Road closures on Friday Saturday evenings
© Vincent Yeo

Tanjong Pagar Centre, opened in 2016, has a sizeable public space called the City Room that will be integrated with an upgraded Tanjong Pagar Park. The project will be a prime example of how well-designed public spaces incorporated into commercial developments can help to transform an area from just a functional space into an attractive destination.

Artist's impression of public space at Tanjong Pagar Park
Artist's impression of public space at Tanjong Pagar Park
©Guocoland Pte Ltd

Bus stops can be transformed from everyday transitional spaces into meaningful social nodes. Designed as a kit of parts, multi-functional bus stops can potentially include gardens, libraries, galleries, bike parks, playgrounds, kiosks and energy farms. A pilot project, Project Bus Stop in the Jurong Lake District, demonstrates how collaboration can encourage more participatory design from the community, to shape public spaces with relevant and purpose. We look to tap on the wealth of expertise of professionals and the experiences of different stakeholders through collaboration to create better public spaces for all.

Early Proposal for Project Bus Stop

Early Proposal for Project Bus Stop, which opened in August 2016 along Jurong Gateway Road
© DP Architects Pte Ltd