This week, our 'Explainer' considers the term 'urban acupuncture'. Chinese acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine involving needles being inserted into the body to relieve stress. In a rapidly modernizing world, urban acupuncture embraces the concept of Chinese acupuncture and opens the door for creative freedom, by creating project collaborations between designers and communities. Our sister site,, provides an in-depth overview:

'Little Free Library' movement is an example of urban acupuncture, image by Flickr user Matthew Matheson via Creative Commons

While urban renewal projects have the power to bring transformative change to neighbourhoods, small-scale interventions can have a similar impact on the socio-environmental fabric of a community. The concept of urban acupuncture, conceptualized by Barcelonan architect Manuel de Sola Morales and further popularized by Finnish architect Marco Casagrande, fuses urban design and traditional Chinese acupuncture with the goal of relieving stress in the built environment. 

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