Urban Acupuncture

It is no clear who invented the term Urban Acupuncture (U.A.), but is clear that some people developed a very strong concept based on small interventions in urban environments with economic limitations.

For example, Jaime Lerner's approach to the revitalization of cities depends on the relative agility of local policymakers. He calls it urban acupuncture. As the name suggests, it involves pinpointed interventions that can be accomplished quickly to release energy and create a positive ripple effect. Lerner's recent book by the same name provides sundry examples of successful urban acupunctures from the demolition of San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway to the renewal of Puerto Madera in Buenos Aires and the construction of Curitiba's Opera de Arame theater at the site of an abandoned rock quarry.

Urban Acupuncture need not be limited to physical interventions. Policies to reduce noise pollution or that encourage nightlife in otherwise desolate areas also qualify. In the end, urban acupuncture is the most logic behavior for cities with limited resources; it is practiced formally as well as informally.

Besides researching the different occurrences of U.A. worldwide, we developed and contributed to the idea with our own practice in Europe and Central America. The idea of small-scale punctual interventions to create great effects is present in Industrial Design projects such as A.U.F., BicipúbliCartago, I Board, P.O.D., Plug N Skate or T.B.C.; Mixed Use Development such as El Bosque or El Pochote; Infrastructure and Public Space projects such as Parque Metropolitana La Libertad or Trama Verde; Spatial and Masterplanning projects such as Acupuncturas Monteverdes, C.C.M.E.C., Los Hatillos, Sintiopia and W.T.A.; bottom-up initiatives like the Popular School of Urbanism; or temporary activities as promoted and executed in Occupy All Street.


A Foundation (Oliver Schütte and Marije van Lidth de Jeude) with project specific support

Location: Various

Status: Ongoing

Year: 2004–present