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    Urban acupuncture


    • Urban acupuncture is a socio-environmental theory that combines contemporary urban design with traditional Chinese acupuncture, using small-scale interventions to transform the larger urban context. Sites are selected through analysis of aggregate social, economic and ecological factors, and are developed through a dialogue between designers and the community. Just as the practice of acupuncture is aimed at relieving stress in the human body, the goal of urban acupuncture is to relieve stress in the built environment. In Taipei, there was an urban acupuncture workshop that aimed to "produce small-scale but socially catalytic interventions" into the city's fabric.

      Originally coined by Barcelonan architect and urbanist, Manuel de Sola Morales, the term has been recently championed and developed further by Finnish architect and social theorist Marco Casagrande, this school of thought eschews massive urban renewal projects in favour of a more localised and community approach that, in an era of constrained budgets and limited resources, could democratically and cheaply offer a respite to urban dwellers. Casagrande views cities as complex energy organisms in which different overlapping layers of energy flows are determining the actions of the citizens as well as the development of the city. By mixing environmentalism and urban design Casagrande is developing methods of punctual manipulation of the urban energy flows in order to create an ecologically sustainable urban development towards the so-called 3rd Generation City (postindustrial city). The theory is developed in the Tamkang University of Taiwan and at independent multidisciplinary research center Ruin Academy. With focus on environmentalism and urban design, Casagrande defines urban acupuncture as a design tool where punctual manipulations contribute to creating sustainable urban development, such as the community gardens and urban farms in Taipei.

      Casagrande describes urban acupuncture as:

      [a] cross-over architectural manipulation of the collective sensuous intellect of a city. City is viewed as multi-dimensional sensitive energy-organism, a living environment. Urban acupuncture aims into a touch with this nature. and Sensitivity to understand the energy flows of the collective chi beneath the visual city and reacting on the hot-spots of this chi. Architecture is in the position to produce the acupuncture needles for the urban chi. and A weed will root into the smallest crack in the asphalt and eventually break the city. Urban acupuncture is the weed and the acupuncture point is the crack. The possibility of the impact is total, connecting human nature as part of nature.



      • Lerner, Jaime. (2014). Urban Acupuncture. Washington, DC: Island Press.
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