We support initiated & implemented by community to enliven public spaces across Singapore to build interactions & create shared memories.

Category: Blog

Design Brief

What is a Pop-up Project?
Our Favourite Place Pop-up Projects are short-term installations designed to activate existing public spaces by providing opportunities for people to engage and interact with the installation and the space.

Since 2013, URA has worked with private and public organisations on a variety of pop-up installation projects, such as Chairs in Squares (movable chairs), Play Space (3-D play set) and Play at Jalan Besar (series of urban interventions e.g. giant chess sets). The projects were well-received by the public and showed how communities could be brought together in meaningful ways through simple but creative ideas good design and programming. The community also came forth with their own pop-up projects, such as KamPONG (ping pong tables) and Play it Forward (artistically transformed pianos).

Here are a few pop-up projects inspired by some ideas from the first two editions of the My Ideas for Public Spaces competition.

Play It Forward

Play It Forward is a creative project initiated by a group of passionate local artists and designers to transform old, unwanted pianos into art pieces and place them in public spaces for everyone to enjoy!

The pianos will eventually be donated to needy institutions where the pianos can continue to benefit people who do not often have access to a music instrument.

Chairs in Squares

‘Chairs in Squares’ Squares’ aims to add a dash of fun and spontaneity to our public spaces. Unlike usual public seating where seats are fixed to the ground, the ‘Chairs’ are movable and thus encourage people to interact with one another in different ways.

As a community-based project, IKEA has extended their generous support by providing the 60 brightly-coloured red, white and black easy chairs in these pop-up relaxation corners. Reminiscent of poolside seats, these lightweight plastic chairs can be easily moved so people can choose to sit together or recline in comfort under the shade of trees.

Play Space

The pop-up Play Space is created for people to enjoy the outdoors and have fun re-creating our mosaic playgrounds using three sets of 3D jigsaw puzzles. These puzzles remind us of the old school dragon playground at Toa Payoh, the watermelon playground at Tampines and the elephant playground at Pasir Ris.

PLAY at Jalan Besar

PLAY at jalan besar is a fun way to activate our public spaces with life size games and fun installations placed in seven different spots in Jalan Besar, for all to better enjoy the neighbourhood. It is a collaborative effort with the communities there.

See how we turned everyday streets into fun spaces, where you can try your hand at ping pong, hoops, life-sized chess board or even a backlane maze!

KamPONG

Would you like to revive the kampung spirit in your neighbourhood and activate an under-utilised space with ping pong?

KamPONG is the latest addition to our series of pop-up projects to activate our public spaces. We work with community partners to bring specially designed ping pong tables to existing public spaces so that you can just pick up a paddle and play with your friends and family.

The Challenge

Do you have a great idea for a pop-up project to enliven a public space in your neighbourhood?

Submit your proposal and stand a chance to win $1000 and the opportunity to work with us to develop and implement it!

Design Requirement

Purpose

Our Favourite Place programme has supported a diverse range of projects that have activated many of the public spaces in our city – from our Play Space project inspired by the HDB mosaic playgrounds to the ground-up public piano movement, Play It Forward Singapore. 

We are looking to implement ideas for new pop-up installations which can 

  • Engage – invite public participation and foster social interaction/community bonding;
  • Delight – inject a sense of fun and surprise; and
  • Enliven – activate and bring life to public spaces.

We are looking for interventions that address how public space can be better used and possibly instill a sense of pride in the community towards the public spaces in their neighborhood.

In describing your idea, please share with us:

  • Who is the target group of users?
  • How will people interact with the pop-up installation?
  • How will the pop-up installation help to delight and enliven a public space?
  • How will the installation encourage community bonding?
  • How do you propose to implement the idea?

Location

There is no specific site for the competition. We are seeking ideas which have the potential to activate a range of different types of public spaces. Entries may show examples of how the installations can be set up in at least one or several sites.

Scale

As a guide, the pop-up installation should fit within a site area of 20-40sqm. Do consider the ease of transport and re-deployment of the installation in a variety of public spaces in your proposal.

Duration

The pop-up installations are to be installed for a one- to three-month period and can be easily installed/packed and transported.

Budget

We are looking for simple, short term and low-cost ideas that are able to have a positive impact on shaping the public spaces and the neighbourhoods. As a guide, we recommend that the cost of materials be within $4000.

Implementation

The pop-up installations should be easy to implement and maintain. The implementability of the idea will be taken into consideration in the selection of winning ideas.

Prizes

The prize monies are $1000 each for up to six best ideas submitted for the competition.

Depending on the implementable of the winning schemes, we will invite selected winners to work with us to develop and implement these winning ideas.

Eligibility

Entries can be submitted by an individual or group of persons, with no limit to the number of group members who can be involved in one submission.

There is also no restriction to the number of proposals that each individual or group can submit, but the individual or group must register separately online for each submission, and obtain a unique registration number.

Ownership of Materials and Intellectual Property Rights

Participants submitting their entries for the competition shall be deemed to have agreed to the following:

  • All drawings, photographs and other materials submitted to and received by URA for the competition will become the property of URA and will not be returned to the participants.
  • URA shall have the non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable and worldwide right, without payment of any charge or compensation to any participant, to use, modify, adapt, exhibit, publish or reproduce any and all of the submission materials and any copyright or other intellectual property rights in any and all of the submission materials for purposes of performance of public, statutory or regulatory functions or for promotional (non-profit), non-commercial, research and development, training or educational purposes.

Subject to the above, participants will retain ownership of the copyright and other intellectual property rights in all their submission materials.

Exhibition

The URA will exhibit the entries of all award winners and, at its discretion, a selection of other competition entries in a public exhibition following the competition.

Jury Decision

The decision of the Jury is final and shall not be negotiated, contested, reviewed, challenged or appealed against by any party through any means or process whatsoever.

Eligibility + Registration

I am a member of the public who has no experience in the design field. Can I take part in the competition?
The competition is open to all. You can convey your ideas and designs through images and text. 

Is registration required to enter the Competition?
Yes. You will be issued a unique registration number upon registering online. The registration number needs to be indicated on all your submitted materials. Your submission will be presented anonymously to the judging panel for evaluation.

Can an entry be made by a group? How many members can a group comprise?
There is no limit to the number of members in a group that can be involved in one submission.

Am I allowed to submit multiple entries?
Yes. Each submission requires a unique registration number.

About The Competition

The third edition of the My Ideas for Public Spaces competition invited the public to submit ideas for pop-up projects to engage, delight and enliven public spaces in Singapore.

Consisting of a single open category, this year’s competition attracted a total of 102 submissions and 12 entries were shortlisted by a panel of expert jurors from both the private and public sectors.

A public exhibition featuring all 102 submissions was held from 05 September to 28 September 2017 at the URA Centre Foyer Park.

Check out the winning and merit entries below!

Winner : Book Bus
By Priscilla Foo

Inspired by the mobile library in the early days of National Library Board, the ‘Book Bus’ proposes to activate spaces with the installation of mobile book carts and movable stools to create a space where children are free to explore their environment as well as the imaginary world of books.

Jury Citation: ‘Book Bus’ has the potential to be transported around easily to enliven a variety of public spaces, such as void decks and other frequently used communal spaces. The strength of the proposal lies in its potential to complement other programmes and events by the community.

WINNER : Jump
By Syafiq Mazlan

Inspired by the mobile library in the early days of National Library Board, the ‘Book Bus’ proposes to activate spaces with the installation of mobile book carts and movable stools to create a space where children are free to explore their environment as well as the imaginary world of books.

Jury Citation: ‘Book Bus’ has the potential to be transported around easily to enliven a variety of public spaces, such as void decks and other frequently used communal spaces. The strength of the proposal lies in its potential to complement other programmes and events by the community.

WINNER : Mobile Cinema
By Chua Soo Hoon & Meliaty Wong

The ‘Mobile Cinema’ installation proposes to transform public spaces into an outdoor cinema during the evening and creates shaded seating for rest and relaxation during the day. The installation comprises a series of lightweight frames with seats, a retractable fabric awning, a projector and screen. As night falls the fabric awning can be pulled back to reveal the night sky, and people can enjoy a movie under the stars just by connecting their mobile devices to the built-in projector.

Jury Citation: The simplicity of the idea to evoke open-air cinemas of the past is particularly strong. ‘Mobile Cinema’ re-defines mobile entertainment and is an idea that is current and fitting in the age of the sharing economy. The elegant design and adaptability of the lightweight installation for a variety of purposes at different times of the day is also deserving of praise.

WINNER : ORIGAMe
By Tek Swee Lang

The ‘ORIGAMe’ structure transforms public spaces with the installation of giant pieces of origami which act both as sculptures and inspiration for community members to take a break and fold their own piece of origami following the instructions provided at site.

Jury Citation: Easily implementable at various scales, the whimsical ‘ORIGAMe’ structures will inject fun and colour to public spaces. The origami folding activity could take place within a resident community, or scaled up to a nation-wide community bonding event. The simplicity of the idea, and its ability to bring communities together by evoking memories of past shared experiences, are praiseworthy.

WINNER : Rhythmic Space
By Mrinalini Sivadas

‘Rhythmic Space’ seeks to give life to public spaces and bring community members together through music. The submission proposes a collection of musical instruments, such as drums, xylophones, marimbas and chimes, to be set up in public spaces for everyone to enjoy music-making. The installation can also be activated to tie in with community events and workshops.

Jury Citation: A beautiful and simple idea that is highly implementable. ‘Rhythmic Space’ is a thoughtful proposal which demonstrates how music can enliven public spaces, and promises to be attractive to all. The participant’s enthusiasm for imagining better public spaces at such a young age is also praiseworthy.

WINNER : Tiong Bahru Park Rainbow Maze
By Indra Pramana & Edison Gunawan

‘Rainbow Maze’ transforms Tiong Bahru Park with the installation of a colourful maze, which is constructed using bamboo and fabric panels in rainbow hues. Taking cue from the park’s theme “Old Frame, New Images”, the installation is proposed to be sensitively sited within the decades-old park.

Jury Citation: The proposal is commended for its simple yet cost-effective and sustainable approach to activating existing green spaces that will appeal to people of all ages. Many will find running through the maze enjoyable, while others may see photo-taking opportunities with the attractive installation.

MERIT : Air Your Laundry
By Kirk Yi Ling & Sharmaine Toh

‘Air Your Laundry’ is a pavilion constructed of bamboo which creates a public seating and exhibition space to encourage residents to connect and share their stories with the community. The installation is inspired by the distinctive feature of laundry hanging on bamboo poles in HDB estates.

Jury Citation: The strength of the idea lies in its simplicity and the opportunity it presents for community engagement. The simple structure has potential to be adopted as an exhibition space programmed by local communities for activities and events.

MERIT : Clean Energy Is Child’s Play!
By Zang Eyu & Ong Jian Liang

A playground for children with a twist, ‘Clean Energy is Child’s Play!’ harnesses the boundless energies of children to generate energy. Play equipment, such as the slide, merry-go-round and rock-climbing wall, are adapted with moving parts to convert the kinetic energy from children’s movements into electricity which is used to power the playground lights and fans.

Jury Citation: The proposal is applauded for the integration of sustainable design with the everyday functions of a playground. It provides an opportunity for children to play and promotes an appreciation for and understanding of sustainable design.

MERIT : exhale
By Jezamine Chua

‘exhale’ is a public art installation inspired by the works of Anish Kapoor. Placed in under-utilised spaces, the reflective surfaces of the installation invite passers-by to stop and take a moment to re-consider the space, and at night the installation glows with LED lights resembling star constellations.

Jury Citation: An imaginative proposal that is commended for its promotion of the value of public art as an important element in public spaces. The amorphous form has the potential to bring delight to places through inviting quiet visual engagement.

MERIT : FLOW
By Ng Qi Boon

‘FLOW’ presents an idea to transform transitory spaces in HDB void decks and along covered walkways into public seating and rest areas with the simple installation of a scultpural fibreglass seats which are designed to be hung over existing metal handrails and barriers.

Jury Citation: The merit in this proposal is in its creative approach to transform existing pieces of infrastructure which are otherwise under-utilised into pieces of street furniture. The simplicity of the proposal and the potential for the seats to create areas for rest and community gathering is commendable.

MERIT : Oasis
By Goh Jun Yi

‘Oasis’ is a lightweight pavilion structure that creates a space for relaxation in the city. The walls of the pavilion are constructed of PVC pipes which are suspended from the roof structure suggesting the form of a wind chime. As wind flows through the pavilion the lightweight pipes gently come into contact with each other, making chime-like sounds.

Jury Citation: The strength of this proposal lies in its experiential nature and connection with the environment: the summer breeze is seen, felt, and heard as the giant wind chimes sway gently in the wind.

MERIT : Pop-Up Playground – Loopy Fruity
By Leeyau Chun Chuan

‘Loopy Fruity’ proposes see-saws and rocking horses made of recycled vehicle tyres and wood planks. The installations can be adopted by community groups, and deployed at community events and festive occasions to foster community bonding. Other concepts, such as rest benches, tyre swings and giant seats, further explores the possibilities of upcycling used items to playground equipment.

Jury Citation: Commendable for the use of recycled materials, ‘Loopy Fruity’ is old-school fun in technicolour. Painted in vivid colours suggestive of tropical fruits, the playground equipment can be easily deployed to bring simple delight to a variety of public spaces.

Rajakumar Chandra

Community place makers help inject vibrancy to their respective precincts by improving its existing facilities and organising exciting ground-up initiatives. Mr Rajakumar, Chairman of Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA), is a role model who has contributed significantly to the growth of Little India since 2001. Under his vision and stewardship, LISHA has implemented many successful initiatives and events to promote Little India’s heritage, culture and commercial activities. For his efforts, Mr Rajakumar was recognised through the URA’s Place Champion Award in 2016.

Mr Rajakumar Chandra has been a key figure in shaping the Little India precinct since 2001 as Assistant Secretary of the Little India Shopkeepers & Heritage Association (LISHA). His unending passion, drive and hard work put into contributing towards the cultural precinct has seen his appointment as Chairman from 2008. Till date, the association has become a key stakeholder in Little India with the purpose of promoting the precinct’s heritage, culture, business and commercial activities, as well as to drive programming and ground-up place activation projects. Mr Rajakumar and his team has seen the completion of various place activation projects throughout his tenure, which have enlivened public spaces in the precinct and reinforced its distinctive cultural identity.

With commitment to further the cultural and ethnic character of Little India, Mr Rajakumar’s leadership brought forth continued growth and development of key festive events every year. The Pongal and Indian Cultural Fiesta have both grown and doubled in length while the signature Deepavali Celebrations 2015 attracted some 3.38 million visitors to Little India, a record high since the event first started. These anchoring events are integral to the Little India experience, bring together communities from and around the precinct.

Mr Rajakumar has also represented LISHA as key stakeholder of the precinct in the Little India Task Force spearheaded by Urban Redevelopment Authorities (URA), the Design & Construction Committee of the Indian Heritage Centre led by National Heritage Board (NHB), Tamil Language Festival and SINDA integration committee. Adopting such an all-rounded place management approach has seen the scope of work by LISHA expand and transform to address the larger concerns and needs of communities of Little India. This strategic direction by Mr Rajakumar has made the launch of seven-month pilot programme, Project Oasis in Little India (POLI) in March 2017 come as no surprise.

The launch of POLI marks an extension of ground-up efforts by LISHA to enhance precinct vibrancy and visitor experience. With the support of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), URA and Singapore Land Authorities, LISHA activated two unused pockets of land within Little India with stylistically decorated cows and umbrella on trees, designed by Ms Marthalia Budiman as part of the My Ideas for Public Spaces: Forgotten Spaces competition held in 2015. The activation has made these pockets of land at Clive Street and Hindoo Road readily available as venues for programming and events. POLI has been well-loved by precinct stakeholders, with growing interest and confidence for future place activation projects from the community.

Mr Rajakumar’s long-term contributions for the precinct has garnered the respect and support of the stakeholders and as well as from the leaders of the community. Moreover, he has been awarded the Place Champion Award by the Place Management Coordinating Forum and Special Recognition award under STB’s Breakthrough Contribution to Tourism award in year 2016, in recognition of his role in spearheading Little India’s developments in place management and tourism.

What Makes A Good Public Space?

What Makes A Good Public Space?

PEOPLE & PROGRAMMING

What makes an attractive public space? Many factors come into play when enhancing the appeal of a place, such as good design and activities that encourage interaction among people. This, in turn, draws others to join the community.

LUSH LANDSCAPING

Here’s one great way an urban space can be transformed – by making a place the destination for leisure and recreation with lush greenery and tranquil water-bodies. For example, the conversion of the old Kallang River Canal into a naturalized river flowing through Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park has since made the area a popular and lively retreat.

ACCESSIBILITY

A place that is easy and convenient for people to access rain or shine, particularly via public transport, is important in ensuring that the space is people-friendly and can be utilised by all groups in the community.

COMFORT

Whether it’s kicking back with a good book or simply resting one’s feet, a public space should have cozy surrounds. Ample shade, sufficient seating, good lighting and an all-inclusive design are important components of a comfortable environment.

EXCELLENCE IN DESIGN + EYE FOR DETAIL = ENGAGING

How do we create a truly extraordinary space? It all lies in the details, whether it’s an obvious or seemingly insignificant one – no aspect of the design should be overlooked in the development of an engaging place.

SENSE OF DELIGHT + SHARING OF SPACES

It’s all about enjoying what the space has to offer! Imagine a place that you can share and interact with friends, family and strangers alike. Highlights such as a scenic view, a humorous sculpture or a pretty row of blossoming trees, all located in places specially designed for casual gatherings. But even small pockets of forgotten spaces, alleys and back lanes, activated with simple ideas can be delightful and bring people together.