Next phase of Civic District improvements under way in Singapore

Empress Lawn.
Empress Lawn. PHOTO: URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

Aim is to make area more pleasant for pedestrians and add event venues to create arts and lifestyle precinct

SINGAPORE - New touches such as waterfront steps and phone-charging benches have been added to the historic Civic District, and more improvements are on the way.

To help visitors find their way around, solar-powered signs will be installed at entrance points to the area, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in an update last weekend.

A new children's playground will also be built in Esplanade Park.

Esplanade Park itself will be improved so that it can better serve as an event space. Facilities such as toilets, lighting, power points and water sources will be added.

This is the second phase of the URA's efforts to rejuvenate the historic area.

The works have already started and will be completed in the fourth quarter of next year.

The aim is to make the Civic District a more pleasant place to walk around, with added greenery and pedestrian-friendly changes.

In the first phase, which started last December, roads were pedestrianised to "stitch together" the spaces around the Padang, and link up the Asian Civilisations Museum, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, the new National Gallery Singapore, Empress Place and Esplanade Park.

The aim, said the URA, is to create "an integrated arts, culture and lifestyle precinct".

Practical additions in the first phase include new benches where visitors can charge their mobile devices, and added night lighting to enhance the ambience.

Waterfront plazas have also been added in front of the Asian Civilisations Museum and at Queen Elizabeth Walk, with steps that go down to the water's edge, providing a place to rest and enjoy the view.

Creating more event spaces in the Civic District is a key part of the URA's efforts. Ahead of the upcoming Esplanade Park changes, the new Empress Lawn has already become an outdoor venue.

Infrastructure such as power, water and lighting has been added.

This will enable events to "plug in" without the need for external generators, said the URA.

One of the first events hosted there was the National Parks Board's Satay Night Live evening last Saturday. With food stalls, music acts and guided tours, it commemorated the former Satay Club which used to be in the area.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2015, with the headline 'Next phase of Civic District improvements under way'. Print Edition | Subscribe