17 winning entries offer ideas on how to transform 'forgotten' public spaces

WONG CASANDRA Today Online 20 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE — An ecological corridor for birds under an MRT track, a recycling area at a Housing and Development Board (HDB) void deck and a giant slide at Mount Faber are among 17 entries highlighted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on how "forgotten" spaces can be transformed into something more meaningful.

The entries were unveiled at the My Ideas for Public Spaces award ceremony and exhibition launch today (Nov 19). Of the 17 featured entries, there were eight winners, eight merit awards and one special mention. These ideas will serve as inspiration for future projects on activating public spaces, said the URA in a press release.

Other winning entries include Citi-TV, an idea to project "live" footage of pedestrian traffic at one underpass on the wall of another; Bukit Timah Green Ribbon Neighbourhood, which transforms service laneways into active, landscaped spaces for the neighbourhood and Tanjong Pagar Backyard, a proposal that aims to create a social space at the centre of the commercial district so workers and the public can reconnect with the urban environment and one another.

The winners received S$1,000 cash. The participants who received the merit awards and a special mention received S$200 and S$100 worth of book vouchers, respectively.

The entries were judged based on the quality and creativity of the proposal. Factors taken into consideration included who will use the space, how easy can the idea be implemented and how the idea related back to the history of the neighbourhood.

The competition, part of a PubliCity initiative, garnered a total of 158 entries when it ran from May 14 to July 3. Entrants included architects, designers and even pre-schoolers, who submitted a proposal to adopt the open space beside their school and turn it into a sports field. The pre-schoolers were one of the merit awardees.

Describing the competition as a fun way to involve the community in thinking about the spaces around them, URA Chief Executive Officer Ng Lang said he was pleased with the enthusiastic participation. He said: “204 people across different ages submitted a range of creative ideas, including an entry by a group of pre-schoolers. This shows that everyone can get involved in urban planning."

The submissions were assessed by a jury panel of six: Mr Ng, Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects President Damian Tang, ZARCH Collaboratives Principal Randy Chan, DP Architects Associate Director Seah Chee Huang, Farm Studio architect Mr Peter Sim and Land Transport Authority Group Director Yao Chuan Sam.

The My Ideas for Public Spaces exhibition is held at the URA Centre Atrium from today to Dec 16.

Eight creative ideas chosen to enliven public spaces
The winning ideas include wooden barrels for the public to soak in at Sembawang Hot Spring, and an ecological corridor for birds under an elevated train track.
Alice Chia Channel NewsAsia 19 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE: Eight winners were chosen in a competition organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), to enhance and enliven underused or forgotten public spaces.

The winners, who received a S$1,000 cash prize each, were announced on Thursday (Nov 19).

"We do hope to implement some of these wonderful ideas," said Ms Tracey Hwang, the director of urban planning at URA. "We're working with the agencies right now, to see how we can implement some of these ideas. And these ideas have actually also inspired some of pop-up projects under the PubliCity programme, such as the Picnic in The Park, where we activated a space at Kampong Glam, using picnic tables and chairs. And these are the ideas that were shared with us by the public in the last competition."

The “My Ideas for Public Spaces” competition, which ran from May 14 to Jul 3 this year, received 158 entries, including some from architects, designers and pre-schoolers.

Some of the winning ideas include wooden barrels for the public to soak in at Sembawang Hot Spring, Mr Lee Wei Sen and Ms Ng Siew Mum came up with the idea after seeing people bring pails to collect water there.

"You can collect the wooden barrel, you can fill it up on your own, you can soak in there. It's really like a sauna," said Mr Lee, a graduate from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. "You can really soak it up and enjoy yourself compared to what they have now because there the pails are really small and you can only soak your legs."

"We would like to attract more users of various ages, be it a family, or couples that can really spend their time, appreciate the surrounding nature, and also relax and try to slow down the pace, so that they can really embrace the surroundings, the nature itself. It's truly like a new place in Singapore," added Ms Ng, a designer.

Other winning ideas include an ecological corridor for birds under an elevated train track in Queenstown and a giant slide down Mount Faber.

The competition is part of the PubliCity initiative, which was launched in November 2013 by the URA. The chosen ideas will serve as inspiration for future projects on activating public spaces.

- CNA/ww/ek

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