Thursday 18 September 2014

Khaw's vision: Fewer cars, better lifestyles - PARK(ing) Day Singapore

By Yeo Sam Jo, The Straits Times, 17 Sep 2014

CARS may one day go out of fashion in Singapore, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, as he envisions a city with fewer vehicles and more space for living.

"It is already happening in some European cities," he wrote on his blog yesterday.

"Youngsters no longer see a need to take driving lessons, let alone buy a car. People are walking, cycling, taking public transport. The occasional car needs can be satisfied more coolly, via Uber or Zipcar or many such local ride-sharing equivalents."

This would transform lifestyles and the city landscape for the better, and render carparks "excessive and redundant", he added.

That is why it is useful to participate in Singapore's second annual Park(ing) Day on Friday, he urged. The event, supported by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, allows the public to temporarily transform carpark spaces around the island into anything from gardens to living rooms.

The global initiative, which began as a single installation in San Francisco in 2005, now has a following of more than 160 cities across six continents. Most of the carparks here that will undergo the creative transformation this year are located in Jalan Besar and the Central Business District.

So far, there have been about 50 registrations from community groups, local businesses and student bodies, said Mr Khaw. One of the ideas is a pop-up repair cafe, where one can learn to mend items such as furniture, clothes and shoes.

Last year, four parking spaces in Circuit Road were turned into gardens, which also doubled as pedestrian crossings. "The mission is to get everyone to envision a city with fewer cars, and more space for people, for living," said Mr Khaw.

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