Singapore has won many accolades for the physical development, redevelopment and renewal of its buildings, spaces and neighbourhoods. However, despite the excellent physical infrastructure, some parts of the city still lack a certain human vitality and buzz.
To address this, the government has adopted a major strategy it calls “place management” to inject “heart and soul” into the city. It defines this as “a coordinated, area-based, multi-stakeholder approach to improving precincts and making them more attractive for the benefit of its users”. Currently, place management ideas are being used to rejuvenate areas such as the Civic District, Marina Bay and Bras Basah.Bugis. These include greening the streets, providing benches, closing roads for pedestrian access and public activities, and arts-centred events such as the “i Light Marina Bay” festival, PARK(ing) Day and the Singapore Night Festival.
Urban planners, community leaders, institutions, artists and philanthropists in other cities from New York to Paris have made or are also making efforts to (re)vitalise their cities to improve the quality of life for residents and create a sense of place, community and identity. Many have drawn on the idea of “placemaking” to highlight the importance of developing human-centred places – created by the people, for the people. The related concept of “creative placemaking” has also emerged to refer to community-driven processes that aspire to animate public spaces and neighbourhoods through arts and cultural activities.
This roundtable will discuss how place management and the related concept of placemaking come to play in Singapore from the perspectives of three government agencies: the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the National Arts Council (NAC) and the National Heritage Board (NHB). A key focus will be on the role of the arts and artists in these initiatives, an examination of terms such as “liveability”, “vibrancy” and “vitality”, and whether place management and placemaking are fundamentally different approaches to achieving these goals.
To allow for free and frank exchange, this roundtable will be “closed-door” and held under the Chatham House Rule.About the IPS-SAM Spotlight on Cultural Policy Series
The IPS-SAM Spotlight on Cultural Policy Series is a space for the frank, robust but collegial discussion of the issues and challenges related to arts and cultural policy in Singapore. Each discussion will gather members of the arts and creative community, policy-makers, academics and other stakeholders working across different fields, to discuss a specific, timely topic about the arts and cultural policy landscape in Singapore. The goal is to assess current policies and offer recommendations for the future. The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is the venue sponsor for the 2015 – 2016 series.
The Series is convened by IPS researchers, Mr Tan Tarn How and Dr Hoe Su Fern.
The seminars in the series are: