Transitional___ by Shophouse & Co

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Transitional___ by Shophouse & Co: Activating and making creative use of transitional spaces

Singapore, SingaporeSingapore, Singapore
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Transitional ___ aims to unlock potential of vacant spaces in transition to a new lease of life by offering a platform to connect the creative community to the spaces,provide tools & resources to develop creative projects to liven up the city & spark collaborations to prototype ideas for the city.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we can unlock urban spaces that are in transition and use it for the good of the community?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Singapore is the world's most expensive city to live in, ranks 11th in most expensive rental globally and is the most expensive in Southeast Asia in occupancy cost per sqm, per year. Independent creatives, social enterprises and communities are priced out of the market and have difficulty in finding space and resources to kickstart their projects into action.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In the lifespan of an urban space, there are moments where it is in transition such as the interim period during change of license application, a 'marketing period' in the search of the perfect tenant or a period where the design or tender process is on the way. These spaces are not-leasable and thus can be temporarily used for the larger good. Transitional___ then plays the role of platform:facilitating access to both private and public spaces, connect it to the community and provide guidance and resources so that independent creatives, social enterprises and communities can be empowered to liven up the city and prototype ideas for a better city.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The first Transitional___ activated an industrial building in a gentrifying neighbourhood of hardware and industrial businesses.The space was going to be vacant in the process of obtaining necessary permits.We convinced the developer to allow us to curate and prototype a retail/workshop/community space fitted with a pop up kitchen and a cafe.Various food,craft,arts & music programmes were initiated with the creative community and new independent businesses.The activation of this space liven up the neighbourhood,brought more opportunities and publicity to young creative business and offers the networking and collaborative environment for further collaborations.The landlord, through our project, found a creative business as a tenant.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 2 editions of Transitional___ interventions, each lasting 4 weeks,we have partnered with 48 businesses, independent creatives, artists, organizations and social enterprises to deliver 37 programmes and 8 artworks.In the 2nd edition,we activated a vacant rooftop space in the city,worked with a partner to fit the outdoor space with solar panels, providing shelter and generated solar energy to power the events.We spotlight initiatives that use design to do good in the city, such as rooftop urban farming, solar powered rooftop gigs, starting a new lunch experience in the city, collaborations between designers and artists to develop new works. The platform also saw many firsts:the debut of new workshops that allowed the businesses and creatives to refine their offerings. Also,both locations have since benefited with one being leased out and the other reimagined for new programs.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

This model can be applied to other dense and urbanised cities in SEA & Asia.As the developing Asian cities & their economies mature,it is likely that they will experience a similar situation in Singapore where creatives & social enterprises will be outpriced by market forces.Unlocking transitional spaces for the community will be critical to ensure that asian urban communities can continue to be resilient and vibrant in the face of urban development.At this scale too, the "big data" that is gathered can be analyzed for insights into sustainable urban development.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

A startup funding through grants, sponsorships and crowdfunding will allow us to build a team and build critical systems. Revenue will come from fees for our core service of connecting space and users, and also additional services such as operational & logistics assistance to setup the space and consultancy on the gathered intelligence.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are no similar platforms in Singapore & Asia at the moment.While initiatives such as MiLES(USA) opens storefronts to possibilities & not for profits such as Life for Vacant Spaces (Christchurch,New Zealand) brokers sites for the creative rebuilding of the city after an earthquake,Transitional___ is a hybrid that unlocks spaces in transition in one of the world’s most expensive cities.We take a proactive role in connecting with the community,initiating collaborations,curating the space, & do this with a deep understanding of Asian business & creative culture with technology as enabler.

Founding Story

I have seen how buildings are never as lively,meaningful nor memorable as the designers imagined them to be. Together with my co founder, Stella Gwee, we run a placemaking studio, Shophouse & Co that develops & executes ideas to build communities around spaces and turn them into meaningful places. Through the company’s projects, we noticed various vacant properties between leases in Singapore. As well, through our various projects, we came across creative community, social enterprises and changemakers fighting an uphill battle to look for affordable spaces,struggling to navigate bureaucracy to gain access to spaces and resources. Hence, we created the platform, Transitional ___.


Ours is a lean team – myself with background in design, writing, curation and architecture.My co founder with her background in arts management, music, events, pr and marketing looks after partnership, sponsorship, business development & strategy.We work with a team of passionate freelancers & volunteers with the right skills in their own field to deliver We hope to grow the team in business management,community engagement, ops, design & tech.
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Organization Country

, Singapore

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Singapore

Funding: How is your project financial supported?


Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?


Where have you learnt about the competition?

We were contacted by someone from Ashoka who encouraged us to participate!

Tell us about your partnerships:

We partner with private land owners, foundations, agencies, city councils, anyone who has access to spaces. We also work closely with various design organizations, non-profits and have a strong relationship with various design,craft and maker communities.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Our biggest challenge is time and resources to research, developing partnerships, seeking funding in growing the platform and in creating resource materials, distilling data and building the platform. We have many enquiries on when the next Transitional ___ will happen but our ability to influence and spark more projects are tentatively limited by funding, manpower and resources.