Urban acupuncture is a design tactic promoting urban regeneration at a local level, supporting the idea that interventions in public space don’t need to be ample and expensive to have a transformative impact. An alternative to conventional development processes, urban acupuncture represents an adaptable framework for urban renewal, where highly focused and targeted initiatives help regenerate neglected spaces, incrementally deploy urban strategies, or consolidate the social infrastructure of a city. Drawing from the metaphor of the Chinese traditional medical practice, urban acupuncture refers to the improvement of social and urban issues through precise interventions that revitalize areas of the city, and consolidate urban planning strategies. First coined by Spanish architect Manuel de Solà, the concept circumscribes projects with a high degree of reversibility, allowing for corrective measures and improvements. The tactic has the advantage of being a fast-tracked planning, thus being implemented swiftly and often with modest means. With less bureaucratic requirements, these localized gestures can trigger a chain reaction of improvement in the quality of the adjacent urban environment, from an increase in social cohesion to an improvement in public safety.
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