|Opportunities exist where system lines intersect and interact.|
What is Eco-Acupuncture?
The ‘urban acupuncture’ metaphor seems to have been first used by Jaime Lerner, the ex-mayor of Curitiba in Brazil, to explain (in retrospect) the success of their urban development approach that has become a globally recognised and iconic model. The term ‘Acupuncture’ seems rich and apposite to describe what VEIL aims to achieve in its work to envision – and change – existing (sub)urban residential and commercial districts. The Eco-Acupuncture 2010 process for the Re-visioning Hume project, described as exploratory work by VEIL, undertaken in collaboration with the Hume City Council, identified a series of likely intervention point opportunities (see the ‘c’ point below) which are seen as domains of potentiality. These opportunities, which in this case are physical locations, are the starting points of the Eco-Acupuncture process and as in any complex body, urban or otherwise, all the system lines that are identified, intersect and interact. It is these interactions that provide the design challenge and opportunities.
In this approach to changing trajectories of development and overcoming paralysis and short-term resistance, our aim is to identify opportunities – small domains of potentiality – that can become sites of design intervention to shift the path of innovation on a new trajectory: towards sustainable, resilient conditions. The critical characteristic of the design interventions is that they can ‘start small’, (so they are within the reach of community resources), and that they have large systemic effects. Our purpose: to intervene to re-invigorate the ecosystem of urban life and change the path of innovation and development towards resilient, low-carbon living. Our aim: to design small interventions that can redirect the forces – the meridian lines – that shape development, towards a more distributed system with ultra-low environmental impact (particularly in relation to greenhouse gas production) and greater social well being. The result: new projects ‘on-the-ground’ that can release new community energy and support for a new trajectory of development. We consider eco-acupuncture for the eco-system of urban life in the following way:
- Re-structuring essential ‘life support systems’: Energy; Water; Food;
- Realigning the essential ‘flows’ of social and economic life (to support the above): Transport and mobility; Information and knowledge
- Reshaping the physical, constructed, environment to enable the above changes. Physical infrastructure; Residential; Work/office/ commerce
- Restoring essential social services to function in the new urban eco-system: Economy and business; Education; Health
- Reinvigorating lifestyles for community health and sustainable prosperity. Creative expression; Leisure; Sharing