Urban Acupuncture: Small Solutions for Big Problems

The Guardian explains:

Could urban design infused with Chinese medicinal theory offer a solution? Watch for the "urban acupuncture" movement to transform urban life in the coming decade. Traced to Finnish architect Marco Casagrande, this school of thought eschews massive urban renewal projects in favour a of more localised and community approach.

"Urban acupuncture is a surgical and selective intervention into the urban environment," said Los Angeles architect and professor John Southern in an interview, "instead of large scale projects that involve not only thousands of acres, but investment and infrastructure that municipalities can no longer provide."

The idea seems to be to find small things that can be easily fixed/upgraded and do hundreds of those, rather than doing that one big ball-buster of a redevelopment. For instance, rather than building some giant Marine Park or exhibition centre, invest that 150 million dollars into creating 150 high quality small parks for $500,000 grand a pop, and put the other 75 million into upgrading a hundred dilapidated local libraries and community buildings. The article notes that with modern mapping and GIS technology, it’s pretty damn easy to run a database of every building/space in a city that could use an upgrade. That’s just my interpretation of this trendy new idea, it may be little more than a buzzword, we’ll see.

There is a definite desire by governments to go for the ‘big ticket’ items that cost a lot and look great on a poster behind the mayors head at a press conference. Would the idea of many smaller revitalisation projects work in your municipality?


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