Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Urban acupuncture

Urban acupuncture includes the idea of working with local communities to identify their skills and resources, particularly in large urban areas with informal settlements. Skills may range from trades to arts, and communities may identify additional resources needed such as trades colleges or theatres. These goals are then presented to local urban authorities to be incorporated into strategic plans. What do you think of this approach?


  1. I think Urban Acupuncture has significant unrealized potential to empower communities to work collectively to improve their well being, which is a powerful thing to do. There is an entire culture or informal planning that goes on largely unrecognized in communities. But I think it is very important to always ask; who does this approach privilege, at the expense of whom? because the nature of planning, when it is undertaken with honest intentions, is about balancing out competing agendas to achieve some higher purpose. A large part of planning is about 'freedom from'; regulating against stuff and managing effects, but what about 'freedom to'? How can planning methods be used on a large scale to empower people to make positive change and improve things? This is what urban acupuncture has the potential to do. Its strongest aspect is that it encourages 'buy in' to an idea for a neighborhood, and takes people along with the process, rather than impose an idea (often held by an outsider who might have all the qualifications in the world but little knowledge of what a community's strengths are) on others. In summary, I believe urban acupuncture has to be administered with honest intentions and a recognition of competing agendas in order to work well.

    Luke Carey


  2. Urban acupuncture views the city as a living organism and planning is a way to relieve stress in the built environment. I think it recognizes the essential element that makes up the urban fabric – people. The top-down planning practice excludes local community involvement in shaping the urban environment they live in. By adopting the idea of urban acupuncture, it effectively facilitates community empowerment as authorities begin to working with local people to identify problems and potential solutions. The process may takes longer than the usual formal plan making process, however, I believe it is a good way to improve the quality and responsiveness of the final plans and policies.

    Qiaochu Li

  3. The urban acupuncture approach treats local problems and caters for the exact needs of local community. It has the following benefits in terms of community planning.

    Firstly, The approach creates dialogue between the local and planners, and accords citizens rights of being “the planner” in its own community. This avoids the overlook of local issues by authorities and the new problems created through central planning system. Secondly, the micro-project encourages bottom-up community mobilisation at various levels. Authorities and planners do not know all; rather, it is the community that should be the active provider of knowledge and resources inputs for unique local issues. Thirdly, it avoids overuse of resources and finances that capital-intensive municipal programs involve.


  4. Urban acupuncture advocates a micro-targeting, low-cost, democratic and empowering tactic to relieve stress in the built environment. I think this approach is significantly beneficial in community planning. It opens the door for and active dialogue between local community and decision makers. The localized process paves the way for a detailed understanding of local community, which in turn avoids the overlook of local issues. This small-scale approach also avoids the excessive resources input that municipal program required. I believe with an efficient participation and well-monitored plan making process, urban acupuncture approach will significantly contribute to a vibrant and sustainable community development.
    Jenna Wu

  5. Urban acupuncture is a very concentrated approach which aims at dealing directly with local communities. The benefits are that it gives voice to specific local communities giving them a chance to analyse harness their strengths while also being able to fix inherent problems that may have otherwise been ignored by the government.

    I believe that urban acupuncture is a good way to ensure local issues in communities do not go unnoticed and are brought to light to be implemented in strategic plans. However it should not be relied on too heavily.

    Sam Benson


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  7. I think Urban Acupuncture is for a long time what we have been missing. All stakeholders should embrace and implement it. With a short time we shall appreciate its adoption.

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  11. I like the idea of of a design that relieves stress in the built environment.
    The environments and neighborhoods are becoming stressing situations

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