9 precincts join pilot scheme to enliven districts: URA

Nine precincts will participate in an Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) pilot programme to inject new life into districts and public spaces, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong announced on Monday (Sep 17).

Speaking at the Place Management Seminar 2018, Mr Wong said that the public can look forward to more vibrant districts and attractive public spaces as a result of these new precincts becoming part of the Business Improvement District (BID) programme.

“To stage experiences, we need place-makers – to turn generic spaces to authentic experiences that engage people and make them want to spend time and come back again,” said Mr Wong.

“Successful place management can also bring the community together, and help to develop shared memories and build meaningful connections.

“That’s the key in making a city special, distinctive and endearing, both for Singaporeans as well as our visitors.”

The nine precincts which will be part of the project are China Place, City Hall, Jurong Gateway, Kampong Glam, Marina Bay, Marina Centre, Paya Lebar, Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar.

“These precincts represent a good mix of different precinct profiles – you have the historic district, the civic district and mixed-used precincts both within and outside the city centre,” added Mr Wong.

With the proposed new initiatives, train concierges and doormen are to become ambassadors for “hidden finds” at City Hall, there could be car-free zones at Tanjong Pagar on weekends and festive light-ups at Chinatown will be extended to China Place. At Paya Lebar, there will be festival celebrations and heritage trails to reflect its Malay and Peranakan heritage.

Stakeholders submitted a preliminary business plan, outlined proposed initiatives as well as the proposed membership fees to be collected from the business and property owners to fund the proposals earlier this year, said the URA in a press release.

A total of nine submissions were received, and all were selected to participate in the BID programme.

They will join Singapore’s first pilot BID, Singapore River One, which was formed last year by stakeholders from Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. It implemented initiatives such as the Singapore River Festival and a car-free zone in Circular Road.

This successfully transformed the area into a “vibrant waterfront district”, said Mr Wong. “All of this has helped to increase visitors to the precinct, and is good for the precinct because it’s now brought about greater footfall,’ he added. “It is good for businesses too, because everyone within the precinct benefits from more visitors.”

Precincts selected to participate in the BID programme were required to develop detailed business plans and get at least 51 per cent support from stakeholders within their respective precincts to form BIDs.

To help pilot BIDs kickstart their efforts, the Government will co-fund collected membership fees, capped at S$500,000 per year for four years.

One of the stakeholders for the Kampong Glam precinct is hotel operator Andaz Singapore, which is located on Fraser Street.

Andaz, along with the other stakeholders, has planned initiatives such as beautifying the precinct through post box art and murals, as well as introducing place and heritage markers.

“We want to bring together a group of dedicated individuals who are personally engaged in many ways with the Kampong Glam community to create a powerful alliance,” said general manager Oliver Lenoir. “Our aim is to activate spaces, to create a more prosperous business platform for all stakeholders while retaining the important cultural heritage that makes Kampong Glam unique to Singapore.”

Source: Channel NewsAsia – 17 Sep 2018

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