Festival in a Carpark: Singapore Urban Design Festival

by Lydia Tan

A multi-storey carpark is probably the last place you would expect a festival to be held in – it’s dingy, grey and doesn’t necessarily scream “exciting”. But when you turn up at the Jalan Besar Sports Centre’s multi-storey carpark, you are greeted by this somewhat hipster, avant-garde environment that resembles an underground club or some indie street festival market.

Held at the top two levels of the carpark (levels 4 and 5), the Urban Design Festival aims to educate the public on sustainable urban development through creating unique experiences. It is also the first festival in Singapore which focuses on raising awareness for innovative urban design solutions to offer a global perspective with local insights.

Expect to get an edu-taining mix of activities from workshops and innovation talks to musical performances and drag shows from this 3-day festival. Here are some of the highlights:

Eat, drink and be merry!

What is a festival without great food, drinks and entertainment? Head down to the performance space on level 4 to watch performances by local up-and-coming musicians or head up the ramp to the carpark’s rooftop for a round of roller disco – rent skates for free! – with a live DJ set. The DJ lineup includes Stephen Day, Muto Musashi, and Orio Leshem.

There will also be a showcase of up-and-coming local acts, from rapper Masia One, to hip hop collective MHC, and rock band Forests in addition to a number of local Spotify artists (check their schedule here).

Rent a pair of skates and have a spin around the makeshift rink on the rooftop

There will also be drag performances by four personalities to entertain you with their individuality!

If you’re feeling hungry, grab a bite at the food stalls on the rooftop. Watch paella being cooked in front of you in a huge pan by tapas bar El Tardeo or try the gourmet sandwiches from Maille. For drinks, there are cold-pressed fruit juices at the UglyFood booth, made from discarded but still fresh produce. You can also get also beer on tap by Little Creatures and gin-based cocktails served by Hendrick’s Gin.

Look at the size of that paella pan!

After all that eating and drinking, why not it sweat it out at the fitness and wellness workshops? Take part in the yoga and HIIT sessions conducted by Under Armour or let out your inner dancer at We Dance’s Ecstatic Dance session.

Booths by sustainability initiatives

The festival hosts a number of booths on level 4, whose common goal is to promote a more sustainable environment.

One of these initiatives is revolv., which distributes reusable cups for use during the festival. Simply pay a deposit of $5 for a reusable metal cup and you can get $1 off all the drinks at the festival. Once you’re done, return your cup at the booth and get your deposit back.

revolv.’s reusable cups

Another booth is for the Honk! app, developed by SUTD where you can upload old items you want to dispose of and sell to recycling agents (RAs), such as karung gunis and charities. The app works pretty much like Carousell. You can download the Honk! app on your mobile devices for both Apple and Android devices.

Screenshot from Honk! on the App Store

Workshops and Innovation Talks

Learn more about how sustainability plays a part in modern urban design through workshops and talks by leaders in the industry. Take part in the Quick Fire Round on “edible cities” by Correnti Studio or get creative as you prototype your ideal future living space at the Imagining the Future of Our Living Spaces in Singapore workshop. Join in the discussion, brainstorm ideas and learn from distinguished speakers and panelists on how you can contribute to the Singapore’s future as a sustainable city.

Visit the festival’s site for the schedule of the innovation talks and design workshops.

The Urban Design Festival will run from 15-17 March 2019 at the Jalan Besar Sports Centre Multi-Storey Carpark.

Ticket prices
● 3 day pass – $40
Enjoy the Lazy Bird sale with the code “UDFSG” to get a 3 day pass at only $20, tickets selling fast!

● 1 day pass (SUN) – $20
● 1 day pass (SAT) – $20
● 1 day pass (FRI) – $10

Innovation talks tickets (14-16 Mar) – $250

For more details on ticketing and for purchase of tickets, visit the festival’s site here.