Contributing to the big picture through many small steps - that is the idea behind the concept of urban environmental acupuncture, on which the SALUTE4CE (SALUTE for Central Europe) project conducted research. Small are the green areas that were the subject of the project. They measure no more than 0.2 hectares, which is only slightly larger than a quarter of a soccer field. Behind the concept of urban environmental acupuncture is the idea of using small but very targeted interventions in the structure of cities to achieve major effects on their development. The concept is modeled on a treatment method from traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is supposed to help alleviate pain or cure illnesses by means of fine needle pricks in certain parts of the body. A manual published by the partners in SALUTE4CE at the end of the project explains how this concept can be successfully applied to the development of green structures in cities in the form of urban environmental acupuncture.
The project team shows how urban environmental acupuncture can help to overcome challenges of urban development or at least mitigate negative effects. This concerns, for example, soil sealing and other impairments of soils, the loss of biodiversity, but also air quality or problems with extreme weather events such as long periods of heat and drought or heavy rainfall. Urban environmental acupuncture can remedy these problems through a variety of nature-based solutions. In which way, the authors show in the handbook on the basis of different examples. On the one hand, they explain, in relation to the various challenges of urban development, which measures and solutions are available in each case. On the other hand, they show how the approach of urban environmental acupuncture can be implemented in a targeted manner through local action plans. Communication with local actors and the population as well as their active participation in urban development processes play an important role. A chapter of the handbook also provides helpful hints in this regard.
The project team can also report on practical experience. For one goal of SALUTE4CE was the concrete implementation of urban environmental acupuncture measures. In four different case study areas in Poland (Chorzów), Germany (Impulse Region Erfurt, Jena, Weimar, Weimarer Land), Italy (Alessandria) and Slovakia (Liptovský Mikuláš), for example, the project team greened small unused areas, facades, courtyards or pedestrian zones, upgraded them through further redesigns and thus made them more usable for the population. From their experiences, the authors have derived recommendations for action that have also been included in the handbook on urban environmental acupuncture.
Vojvodíková, Barbara (Hrsg.) (2022): Handbook SALUTE4CE – Handbook on Urban Environmental Acupuncture. Ostrava : VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, Faculty of Civil Engineering, 2022. ISBN 978-80-248-4598-2.
Download on the project website
Project title: Integrated environmental management of Small Green Spots in Functional Urban Areas following the idea of acupuncture (SALUTE4CE/SALUTE for Central Europe)
Term: April 2019 to March 2022
Funding: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)/Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme
Scientific partners: Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas (IETU), Katowice, Poland (Lead); Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), Germany; Leading Innovation & Knowledge for Society (LINKS Foundation), Torino, Italy; Institute for Sustainable Development of Settlements (IURS), Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Practice partners: City of Chorzów, Poland; Silesian Botanical Garden Mikołów, Poland; Impulse Region Erfurt-Jena-Weimar, Germany; LAMORO Development Agency, Italy; Municipality of Alessandria, Italy; City of Liptovsky Mikulaš, Slovakia.
More information on the interreg-project website
Scientific contact at the IOER
Dr. Juliane Mathey and Dr. Jessica Hemingway