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Car park lots turn into interactive spaces on PARK(ing) Day 2018

  Published: 19 September 2018

Play ping pong with bats that make the game more challenging, create a bouquet for a stranger, and rest under a canopy of balloons at PARK(ing) Day on Saturday (22 September).

With the support of Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Our Favourite Place programme, 109 car park lots will be transformed into creative public spaces, or PARKs, by students and members of the public. The public can enjoy a wide range of interactive activities from 1pm to 7pm.
A total of 69 PARKs will line streets in the Bugis and Kampong Glam districts. Of these, 53 PARKs will be created by students from 14 schools – the largest participation from schools to date. Refer to Annex A [PDF, 352kb] for the list of PARKs and their locations.

A car-lite PARK(ing) Day

For PARK(ing) Day this year, four streets – Liang Seah Street, Tan Quee Lan Street, Arab Street and Sultan Gate – will be closed to vehicular traffic. This is up from two street closures (Liang Seah Street and Sultan Gate) last year. Refer to Annex B [PDF, 250kb] for street closure timings and maps.

These road closures for PARK(ing) Day 2018 will add to the regular weekend car-free zone of Bali Lane, Baghdad Street, Bussorah Street and Haji Lane from noon to midnight, creating a larger car-free area where PARK-goers can enjoy and experience the activities safely. A communal dining and picnic area will also be set up in Arab Street for people to dine as they view music performances.

URA’s Chief Executive Officer Lim Eng Hwee said: “By temporarily transforming car park lots into spaces for the public to enjoy, participants get to shape the city they live in and better understand how community initiatives can enliven our public spaces. It is also a chance for visitors to enjoy the Bugis and Kampong Glam districts in an engaging and interactive way.”

Largest participation from schools to date

Singapore’s sixth edition of PARK(ing) Day will have the largest participation from schools, with 53 PARKs created by students from 14 schools. Seven schools –  Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School, Victoria School, Dunman High School and Eunoia Junior College – are participating for the first time.

Having initiated the first edition of Park(ing) Day in Singapore in 2013, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) students have taken on the role of peer mentors and facilitators in recent editions, introducing the programme to local schools and conducting workshops to guide first-time participants to create innovative and interactive PARKs.

Ms Christine Yogiaman, Assistant Professor at SUTD, who helped guide the students involved in the project, said: “The idea of Park(ing) Day is to empower citizens to transform parts of their own city. By using parking lots as a testbed for their vision of the city, participants are encouraged to rethink the role of public space. They think about how public spaces can connect people, how people can engage others in public spaces, and how events can be activated in such spaces to foster mutual understanding among people.”

“We are encouraged by the growing interest from schools. We hope that Park(ing) Day will continue to be a platform for students from different schools with different skill-sets to come and have a productive conversation on what the future of our public spaces could be.”

The student-created PARKs span across various activities and themes.

Temasek Polytechnic’s PARK named Empathy and Inclusivity, for instance, is a game of ping-pong with a twist. Players assemble their own bats and, depending on the parts used, will play with a different physical limitation.

“What we hope to do with this game is to build understanding and empathy for those who are physically challenged,” says Marissa Ong, 18, part of the group of 16 students who designed the PARK. “We wanted to create a space for the public to enjoy but also hopefully learn something new about themselves and others.

Another PARK, Build-A-Tama, allows visitors to build a cityscape with colourful egg cartons.

“We wanted to give people a chance to build their vision of the Singapore cityscape. I think this will help people connect with their city and rethink their role in it,” said Hann Danish, 17, one of five students who designed Build-A-Tama.

Visitors can also explore other PARKs created by students, including Interchange, which enables people to convey thoughts through coloured paper; Goodwill Blooms, a flower bar at which bouquets can be created for strangers; and The Greenhouse Effect, where participants walk into a greenhouse that mimics the heat caused by climate change.
The biggest Park this year is Park-Park, spanning 20 car park lots. Created by SUTD students, it is a demonstration of how urban infrastructure can support and activate events in public spaces.
The students gathered feedback from community groups to design the PARK’s infrastructure, which includes a shaded area created by a canopy of balloons, as well as seats that promote interaction between participants.

In Park-Park, the public can engage three local community groups – play advocate group Playvocates In Action, local performance arts organisation Bornfire and Foodscape Collective, an urban farming group – to try activities such as juggling; a play pop-up adventure playground; and picnic on sustainably-sourced food.

PARKs by the public, for the public

Among the PARKs are also those created by members of the public, including LePark Corner in Tan Quee Lan Street, where open microphone music sessions will be held; and Balloons of Happyness in Arab Street, where visitors can stamp on foot pumps to inflate colourful balloons.

Second-time participant, Billy Kwan, who co-created Balloons of Happyness with a team of young designers from Hong Kong and Singapore, said that the event “is a good opportunity to share ideas on how to inject vibrancy into our public spaces”.

“We had a lot of fun last year testing our ideas, chatting with people participating in our PARK and also with people in the neighbourhood. This year, we intend to invite visitors to stamp on foot pumps to release anxiety and worry, turning all this energy into colourful balloons,” says Kwan. “Through our design, we want to show how a person’s actions can bring joy and happiness to the wider community.”

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 2014, the Singapore edition of the international movement has grown to a total of 328 parks set up over the years from participants from all walks of life – including students, community groups and business owners – to transform car park lots into creative and vibrant public spaces.

For more information about PARK(ing) Day 2018, visit ura.sg/parkingday.