SINGAPORE - For one day on Sept 19, you can turn a parking lot into a park. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has invited the public to do this as part of Park(ing) Day, a worldwide event where people transform parking lots into temporary public spaces.
These "parks" could be outdoor living rooms, gardens, libraries, mini gyms or even art galleries. The public can use any URA coupon-paid parking lot and a few Housing Board kerbside parking lots at Tiong Bahru to create these spaces.
"We think it is a light-hearted way to encourage people to envision the possibilities in a city with fewer cars," said URA's chief executive Ng Lang. The success of car-free weekends in some areas also shows that "we can work with the community to selectively convert road space to become public spaces that people enjoy", he added.
To create a "park", one can register with the URA from Thursday to Sept 15, select a parking lot and submit an idea of what they would like to do in the temporary space. When the registration is accepted, the participant will receive a special parking coupon to reserve a parking lot and parking fees will be waived. To register, go to www.ura.gov.sg/MS/Publicity/Events/ParkingDay2014.aspx.
Park(ing) Day began in 2005 when Rebar, an art and design studio, converted a parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since then, Park(ing) Day has gained a global following, with over 180 cities in six continents taking part in the event.
Singapore first participated in it last year, as part of the ArchiFest fringe festival. Students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design transformed four car park lots at MacPherson Estate into community gardens.