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Healing Cities Through Urban Acupuncture


This model consists of selectively intervening spaces in order to unblock the flow of a city’s energy.

For the first time ever, in 2008 there were more people living in cities than in rural areas. If this tendency continues, by the year 2050, seventy percent of the world’s population will be living in urban spaces.

With the intensification of this migratory pattern, new challenges for contemporary society will emerge: the harmonious organization of shared spaces, the creation of collaborative models that are truly efficient, and dynamics that will favor, in a balanced way, the appearance and functionality of the city.

Finnish architect Marco Casagrande (1971) approaches this challenge by combining traditional urbanism with acupuncture, a millenary Chinese technique that pursues the unlocking of energetic channels in order to enable the correct circulation of vital energy: Qi.

By perceiving the city as a living creature, thoroughly intertwined, “urban acupuncture” encourages the communal machinery and establishes localized nuclei ―similar to the human body’s meridians. Satellite technology, network and collective intelligence theories are employed to surgically and selectively intervene those nodes that have the greatest regenerative potential.

Urban acupuncture is a new movement. But there are cities —such as Berlin— that in the past few decades have benefited from similar models: spaces that were once abandoned are now housing small forests, community leisure centers, or gardens that have been spontaneously transformed into relaxation centers.

These types of initiatives promote the idea that as long as there are talented individuals focusing on designing solutions, the possibility of creating a better scenario exists. In this sense, the birth of urban acupuncture responds to a historical mission that is shared by thousands of people: the genuine search for a better quality of life.

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