Urban Acupuncture in Taipei
A number of conditions can be attributed to driving the recent revolutionary movement of urban acupuncture and locally-led interventions in cities around the world. Political, economic, and environmental uncertainty; the deindustrialization of cities that has led to an increase in vacant lots and buildings; and an increasingly mobile workforce all support the desire for more flexible and adaptable spaces and uses (Bishop and Williams, 2012). The inefficiency of institutional bureaucracy has also been identified as a contributing factor as to why citizens are taking local improvements into their own hands. These all lead to an increasing awareness that traditional planning processes are struggling in its capacity to be adaptable and resilient enough to respond to local needs. The rising sense of responsibility among citizens who actively partake in responding to local situations, separate from traditional planning processes such as attending planning consultations or sitting on community boards and commissions, reflect the discrepancy between contemporary planning processes and its adequacy in engaging stakeholders and addressing local issues. Temporary interventions have emerged as a gateway for improvements to local neighbourhoods in a more timely, efficient, and less costly and risky manner. These informal initiatives are popularly known as "urban acupuncture". In the context of Taipei, urban acupuncture is a city leading in its local transformative capacity where people-centric planning is implemented on a governmental level. Urban acupuncture is put into practice by the Taipei City Government through an apparatus called ?Urban Regeneration Station (URS)? to promote local development through the strength of local communities. URS sites are shared by all citizens - even throughout the innovative progress is public participation the main priority. Creativity, art, culture and design are integrated into the practice of urban regeneration as a catalyst of urban redevelopment. This thesis purports that urban acupuncture has a particularly important role in the future of cities and its communities because it challenges the assumption that cities can improve only through major spending and tortuous rounds of paperwork and approvals. It allows citizens and officials to test new ideas on a low-cost, low-risk model. If something works, great. If it doesn?t, well, on to the next experimental idea. Drawing upon the metaphor of therapeutic acupuncture, examples will be explored to highlight ways in which punctual interventions can activate places, asserting the importance of urban acupuncture in facilitating more holistic understandings of urban health.