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9 new precincts join pilot programme to make their districts more attractive, lively to public

SINGAPORE — More festivals, cultural performances and car-free activities will be coming to precincts such as Paya Lebar, Kampong Glam and Jurong Gateway as private stakeholders get a greater say in how to make their districts more lively and attractive to the public.

The Kampong Glam precinct is one of nine precincts joining the Business Improvement District, a pilot programme where the Government will co-fund private sector projects to spruce up precincts.

The Kampong Glam precinct is one of nine precincts joining the Business Improvement District, a pilot programme where the Government will co-fund private sector projects to spruce up precincts.

SINGAPORE — More festivals, cultural performances and car-free activities will be coming to precincts such as Paya Lebar, Kampong Glam and Jurong Gateway as private stakeholders get a greater say in how to make their districts more lively and attractive to the public.

A total of nine new precincts — including China Place in Chinatown, City Hall, Marina Bay, Marina Centre, Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar — are joining the Business Improvement District (BID), a pilot programme where the Government will co-fund private sector projects to spruce up precincts.

Announcing the nine new entrants to the programme on Monday (Sept 17), National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said: "Retailers realise they cannot offer just discounts to entice shoppers anymore ... shoppers need a reason to go to their store other than buying things."

He added that retailers need to stage experiences or become "extinct".

Under the BID, stakeholders of participating precincts can come up with their own proposals to spruce up their districts. The Government will provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds — capped at S$500,000 a year — for four years. The precincts can include business, commercial, residential, industrial and agricultural districts.

At least 51 per cent of stakeholders within these precincts must agree to the plans to rejuvenate their areas by forming associations and contributing membership fees, which will be used to fund the proposals.

Stakeholders in the BID programme include community partners, property developers and businesses such as Blu Jaz Cafe in the Kampong Glam precinct and the Esplanade in the Marina Centre precinct. CapitaLand is participating in four BID projects at Raffles Place, Jurong Gateway, City Hall and Singapore River One, while Lendlease has two BID projects at Paya Lebar and Jurong Gateway.

Citing Jinli Street in Chengdu, China as an example, Mr Wong said it is one of his favourite pedestrian streets in Asia which managed to enrich and enliven its rich culture and heritage through stakeholders' participation.

"If you walk down the street, it is lined with tea houses, restaurants, it is fully pedestrianised, artisanal shops — all offering very rich and authentic cultural experiences," the minister added.

Modern business districts have much to offer too, Mr Wong said. In Toyko's central business district, the Otemachi, Marunouchi and Yurakucho Area Management Association was formed in 2002 to rejuvenate the area, comprising over 100 members from private companies, students and office works.

"(The association) expanded the sidewalks to improve the pedestrian experience, they created car-free zones, they beautified the streetscapes and they organised events like the Summer Festival. All of these have helped to transform the area and make it a much more vibrant city centre."

Similarly, efforts to dispel the negative reputation of Circular Road and Boat Quay due to touting and overcharging have borne fruit.

The Singapore River precinct was the first to kick off the BID in April last year, through its Singapore River One (SRO) association formed in 2012. Among the activities the SRO organised included the St Patrick's Day Street Festival and Singapore River Festival.

Commenting on the nine new districts joining the programme, Mr Wong said: "These nine precincts represent a good mix of different precincts profiles. You have the historic district, the civic district, mixed-used precincts both within and outside the city."

Eventually, the Government will work with the BID precinct stakeholders to learn from their experience and study the possibility of new legislation to provide legal backing for BID, Mr Wong said.

PROPOSED INITIATIVES FOR THE 9 NEW PARTICIPATING PRECINCTS:

  • China Place in Chinatown: Activate public spaces with outdoor furniture, sculptures and activities; regular road closures along China Street for connectivity, extend festive light-ups from Chinatown to China Place.

  • City Hall: Curate signature annual food, wine, arts and culture events; temporary artworks, trials and photo spots.

  • Jurong Gateway within Jurong Lake District: Improved pedestrian comfort, shared customer services, coordinated logistics and common spaces.

  • Kampong Glam: Car-free zones, post box arts, murals, place and heritage markers.

  • Marina Bay: Heritage trails, arts and fitness activities; regular pop-up stalls and activities.

  • Marina Centre: Loyalty programme; marketing collaterals for branding.

  • Paya Lebar: Festival celebrations, and heritage trails and markers to reflect the rich Malay and Peranakan heritage; community and sporting events.

  • Raffles Place: Activating Public realms like Raffles Place Park with programming, activists and public art; public space at Market Street for community events.

  • Tanjong Pagar: Adding car-free zones and outdoor furniture; more events and activities at public spaces such as City Room at Tanjong Pagar Centre and Tras Link Park.

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