Consolidating what I have so far for my studio
Design Statement: A design communication project that innovates place-making initiatives as a communicative strategy to encourage Singaporeans to rediscover the city during and post COVID.
Recap of the definitions used in both my dissertation and studio project
- ‘Placemaking’ as implementations planned and executed by the country’s tourism authority and government.
- ‘Place-making’ as the organic imprints created by the inhabitants that consists of heritage, cultures, values and stories.
- ‘Place Management’, is defined as “a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach to improving precincts and making them more attractive for the benefit of its users”.
My project looked at the Image of the City by Kevin Lynch as the main literature.
Inhabitants as contributors
Lynch believes that everything that happens in a city is in correlation with the environment, the events and the memory embedded in that space. The image that the inhabitants have of the city are filled with the memories and meanings associated with its respective spaces. — Lynch, K. The Image of the City. MIT Press, 1977.
Memories = Environmental Image
Lynch deduces that the observer interacts with the environment, which as a result produces environmental images. In the essence of Place-Making, environmental imaging is the first step of interaction between man and the city.
With the COVID-19 pandemic on-going, there is a shift in the people’s behavior and interaction with community spaces. More time is spent in our neighbourhood areas but due to social distancing measures, there is little dialogue between Singaporeans.
According to the researchers of Bass Centre for Transformative Placemaking, Place-Making spaces that promote community engagement are the foundation for social resilience during this pandemic. Which is why my dissertation paper looked to place-making efforts as a tool for recovery during this pandemic.
Singaporean millennials aged 18–35, who seek to rediscover the authentic side of Singapore; Explorer tourists. They are interested in place-making spaces that allows them to interact with the community and experience new culture.
Place-Making Spaces as Landmarks
Lynch proposes that people should identify the hiddens images spread across our cities, even though it is not easy to organise these images all over the city. How can Singaporeans discover these spaces and connect with them?
The above was what the direction for my project has always been however, a night before the roundtable discussion I had a new direction in mind as well.
After working on my dissertation paper and dwelling on the answers/insights gathered from my methodology, I thought maybe my project could look to fill the gap in which place-making practitioners were facing.
There were two main restrictions they faced, as identified in my paper as well — The government and commercial value.
The common misconception that people have with implementing such efforts in Singapore is that there are too many restrictions in public spaces.
Restrictions are there for a reason and an example would be the restriction of football at void decks as they create too much noise for those living above.
Singaporeans need to start working around these restrictions rather than just ruling out possibilities for Placemaking initiatives as impossible.
— Ng Lang, the Chief Executive and a board member of the Land Transport Authority
“I think it is very hard for place-making to happen in Singapore because we don’t have ownership of the land. We can’t freely use a space. I think that is one tough difficulty faced; if we want to use a space we need to apply for a license and even then there are fire safety regulations and so on. Moreover during this covid situation there are even more regulations to follow. Sites need to be pre-approved to be open for visitors during this pandemic, due to safe distancing.”
— Hoe Su Fern, arts research and educator at SMU
As such, I thought maybe I could help Singaporeans to work around these restrictions by providing a guide on how place-making can happen even with these restrictions in place.
I hope to gain a better understanding of which direction and the approach my project should take during the roundtable discussion.