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Creative public spaces bring life to streets on PARK(ing) Day 2017

  Published: 13 September 2017

Take a walk or ride a bicycle around Bugis and Kampong Glam to experience a series of interactive ‘PARKs’ in a people-friendly environment this Saturday. For the first time on PARK(ing) Day, streets in Bugis and Kampong Glam areas will be closed to traffic to create a more pleasant environment for the public to enjoy activities held on 166 car park lots across the island.

With the support of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Our Favourite Place programme, these car park lots will be transformed into 85 PARKs – the highest number of PARKs set up in conjunction with PARK(ing) Day in Singapore to date – by students and members of the public to host a myriad of interactive activities for the public to enjoy for the day.

Held on a weekend for the first time, the public can take the day to participate in activities at the anchor clusters of PARKs at Bugis and Kampong Glam, and more at Little India and Tiong Bahru, at a relaxed pace.

A people-friendly PARK(ing) Day

To enable the public to better enjoy a walking and cycling experience, Liang Seah Street will be closed to traffic on Saturday from 10am to midnight, while part of Sultan Gate will be closed to traffic from 8am to 9pm.

These will add to the regular weekend road closures in the precinct at Bali Lane, Baghdad Street, Bussorah Street and Haji Lane from noon to midnight, creating a larger car-free area for the activities to take place. With the car-free zones, PARK goers will be able to enjoy the PARKs in a safer and pleasant environment.

Among the PARKs are eight set up by bicycle-sharing companies – oBike, oFo, Mobike and SG Bike – at Tan Quee Lan Street and Sultan Gate to provide 95 bicycles for PARK goers to cycle around the precinct for free.

Complementing the free bicycle rental are cycling-themed activities for PARK goers to participate in. These include an obstacle course and a one-minute cycling challenge by the bicycle-sharing companies, as well as a “figure 8” obstacle course challenge (“888 Challenge”) by cycling group LoveCyclingSG. The public can also learn about road sharing (“Street Share”) at a PARK set up by students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

URA’s Chief Executive Officer Lim Eng Hwee said, “We have been supporting car-free projects initiated by the community. This year, by closing part of the PARK(ing) Day event grounds to traffic, we hope to transform the streets and parking lots into public spaces for activities, enabling the public to better experience and enjoy the active and vibrant streets through walking and cycling.”

Refer to Annex A [PDF, 141kb] for the list of PARKs and their locations.

Largest participation from schools to date

Singapore’s fifth edition of PARK(ing) Day will see the largest participation from schools, with 45 PARKs created by students from eight schools – LASALLE College of the Arts, Nanyang Girls’ High School, Pioneer Junior College, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, SUTD, St Joseph’s Institution and Temasek Polytechnic.

Since the last edition of PARK(ing) Day, students from SUTD have taken on the role of peer mentors, introducing the programme to local schools and providing guidance to first-time student participants through workshops in the creation of innovative and interactive PARKs.

Dr Chong Keng Hua, Assistant Professor at SUTD, who guided his students to mentor their peers, said, “The idea of PARK(ing) Day is to give people the right to the city and empower them to transform public spaces. Rethinking car park spaces is a good start as it encourages conversation on the kind of streets we want for the future, while the addition of car-free streets gives us the opportunity to experiment with a people-centric street design to host the event. We are thrilled to see the movement in Singapore grow over the years with more schools participating. Empowering youths to shape our public spaces is particularly fulfilling when they are able to translate their ideas into physical installations for the public to enjoy.”

Located at Bugis and Kampong Glam, the PARKs created by students span various themes, such as street furniture, art installations, light-hearted games and interactive arts activities.

For example, students from LASALLE College of the Arts will be setting up a PARK to educate the public on sugar intake with questionnaires and trivia, complemented by a mosaic art piece formed by acrylic pieces hung on styrofoam cubes (“Sweet Tooth”).

Herry Tan, final-year student in Diploma in Interior Design at LASALLE College of the Arts, said, “PARK(ing) Day gives us a good experience outside of the classroom, different from what we usually do in the studio. We were inspired by dessert stalls to create something that will raise awareness of sugar intake.”

Another example is “Perfect Fit”, a PARK created by students from Republic Polytechnic to promote empathy by having the public go through a series of games while wearing ill-fitting shoes, literally experiencing being “in someone’s shoes”. As the public participates in the games, the painted soles of the shoes will leave colourful footprints on a piece of canvas on the floor, creating an artwork at the same time.

Neo Wai San, second-year student in Diploma in Design for User Experience at Republic Polytechnic, said, “I was intrigued by the idea of being able to redesign car park lots freely. It has been an extremely satisfying process to be able to turn our ideas into reality. We hope that our PARK can bring about more interactivity among people at Liang Seah Street, and create a platform for additional social bonding before or after meals along the street.”

At the PARKs created by students, the public can also enjoy music performances by the Nanyang Girls’ High School band (“Music Stand”), talk to a friendly stranger through “talk tubes” made of PVC pipes (“Talk”), and “gift a smile” anonymously by depositing encouraging messages in a letter box for other PARK goers to pick up (“Gifting a Smile”), among other activities.

PARK goers can also explore PARKs created by members of the public in Little India and Tiong Bahru. In these areas, food lovers can participate in an open picnic and discuss sustainability-related food topics (“Community Picnic – Bring Your Expiring Food!”), music lovers can participate in communal singing (“Lepak Corner”), while yoga lovers can practise yoga and meditation (“Never Mind, Always Mind”).

Singapore first participated in PARK(ing) Day in 2013 where students from SUTD transformed four car park lots at MacPherson Estate into community gardens. Since URA started supporting PARK(ing) Day in the following year, the Singapore edition of the international movement has seen a total of 259 PARKs set up over the years by participants from all walks of life – including students, community groups and business owners – to transform car park lots into creative and vibrant public spaces.

See more information about PARK(ing) Day here.