Carparks and roads transform into activity 'parks' for fifth edition of PARK(ing) Day

SINGAPORE - For just a day, there were no cars parked in street parking lots around Bugis, Kampong Glam, Little India and Tiong Bahru.

Instead, the 166 carpark spaces in these areas were transformed into activity areas with music performances and interactive art installations, among other things.

On Saturday (Sept 16), the fifth edition of PARK(ing) Day was held, an event organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

This year is also the first time that two roads, Liang Seah Street and part of Sultan Gate, were closed for a full day, to allow pedestrians free reign to wander about.

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) student Ho Zhi Yuan, 21, who took part in the event said: "It's an opportunity for students to showcase their projects to the public, and also to show that public spaces can be better used for interesting and different purposes."

His mentor, associate professor Chong Keng Hua who teaches architecture and sustainable design at SUTD, was the first to initiate PARK(ing) Day in Singapore back in 2013.

"It's about giving spaces back to the people and being aware that pedestrians and cars alike have to share public areas such as roads. This event shows that functional spaces like carparks can be also transformed into areas for the community," he said. "I also want to encourage more pedestrian friendliness and traffic safety."

Students from nine institutions set up booths and exhibits for the public, such as a handmade claw machine and a series of shophouse drawings that people could colour in and add their own artistic touches.

Said Janelle Chua, 23, a recent graduate: "It's a fun atmosphere here and there are cool and informative exhibits. Normally we don't get to walk on roads. It shows that roads can be transformed into spaces for the public to use."

Shops along the closed roads are also pleased with the event, noting that more people were walking around the area despite there being fewer places to park.