Jul 7, 2021 • 37M

Episode 10 - Tactical Urbanism in Asia: the City at Eye Level

A quick scan of how Singapore is exploring new place-making techniques to activate streets, create space for people and improve life in the "new normal".

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Cities in Mind is your go-to destination to learn about cities, technology, innovation and the people behind them. All that through an Asian perspective. My name is Fabien and I am an urbanist who has been living in Singapore since 2015. Welcome!
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LopeLab’s parklet at Keong Saik Road, Singapore. Credits: LopeLab

In this episode, we’ll discuss the potential of tactical urbanism in creating more space for people to meet, walk, socialise and play safely.

As we move towards a new COVID-19 normal, it is crucial to rethink how our streets and open spaces operate and how they could be more flexible in their usages and functions. Tactical urbanism could help achieve that in a systematic and cost-effective way.

Some examples include turning parking spaces into temporary parks, pop-up cultural and retail events, the creation of outdoor seating to improve public spaces, or the introduction of temporary cycling lanes.

How can we lock-in some of these temporary urban experiments to get longer-term gains? How is Singapore exploring the use of tactical urbanism?

To know more, I met with Lorenzo Petrillo, founder of LopeLab, an urban design studio that focuses on the transformation of public spaces for the purpose of bringing people together, including street closures, pocket public spaces and large-scale pop-up events.

With Lorenzo, we discuss the different facets of tactical urbanism in Singapore, from Park(ing) day to new green parklets and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and we explore the new frontiers of place-making in the city state.

And because “a picture is worth a thousand words”, check out below some snippets of LopeLab’s street activation strategies in Singapore’s city centre (the famous Keong Saik Road that we explored in Episode 03 - Adaptive Reuse for Vibrant Precincts). Of course, the Urban Ventures street closure event is pre-COVID 😅

Enjoy the episode!

LopeLab’s parklet at Keong Saik Road, Singapore. Credits: LopeLab
LopeLab’s parklet at Keong Saik Road, Singapore. Credits: LopeLab
Urban Ventures street closure event in Singapore. Credits: LopeLab
Urban Ventures street closure event in Singapore. Credits: LopeLab
Urban Ventures street closure event in Singapore. Credits: LopeLab

📝 Some resources I have used to prepare for this episode

Make Way for the ‘One-Minute City’ While the “15-minute city” model promotes neighbourhood-level urban planning, Sweden is pursuing a hyper-local twist: a scheme to redesign every street in the nation.  

The City at Eye Level Asia An impressive open-source project and book, to support Asian urban practitioners on creating great cities at eye level, suitable to their local context.

Planning for Placemaking and Tactical Urbanism in the Post-COVID City

Singapore’s Business Improvement Districts: a way forward for precinct-wide facelift

Lorenzo’s TEDx Talk - Reclaiming Public Spaces (2016)


That’s it for today. As usual, a small 🧡 or a comment 📝 at the bottom of the page go a long way.

Thanks for your support and see you next week for a new post. Stay tuned.

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