Adam studied Architecture at the University of Portsmouth and graduated with honours in 2007. Upon returning to Portsmouth University to study for his Diploma in Architecture, Adam has chosen to study with the Urbanism Studio to pursue his interests in the sustainable evolution and regeneration of the city. You can follow the collective work of the Urbanism Studio @ www.urbanismstudio.co.uk

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Perspective exploring the concept of re-routing the road and removing fabric to create animated spaces.

Monday, 6 December 2010


 Breaking edges, creating spaces conceptual vision.

Altering fabric and perception.


A study of the existing site in Karakoy, Istanbul. Looking at a possible strategic intervention, removing existing fabric to create spaces with connections.

Saturday, 4 December 2010


The “yin” and “yang” of planet earth could be conceived as the opposite natures of city and countryside; the pairing could not co-exist without each other.


Architecture and Urban Design are not extensions of each other, they merge seamlessly. Maunuel de Solà-Morales work is not driven by planning or the art of city building, it is instead the concept of stimulating urbanism, through minimum interventions achieving the maximum effect. Hans Ibelings writes on urbanity, “the work of de Solà-Morales consists to a large extent of interventions at points where there is little energy, if any at all. His interventions unleash a heightened potential: the possibility of urbanity”.[1] Urban Acupuncture to de Solà-Morales is built upon this underlying principle. He believes the essence of urbanity lies in the balance of urban mixity and density, between building and activity. Approaching the sites with an attentive and cautious approach to the richness of the sites, both the existing richness and most importantly, the potential richness.

De Solà-Morales writes that he works on the skin on cities, that the architecture of surface texture is the raw material of his urban projects. It is this skin that is experienced, urbanity made of touch and vision, of sensations and suggestions. “It is the urban matter that transmits to us, at its most sensitive points and neutral zones, the qualitative energy that accumulates collective character on certain spaces, charging them with complex significance and cultural references and making them semantic material, social constructions of intersubjective memory.”[2] The power that is held within the skin of the city is overwhelming. The art of Urban Acupuncture is the manipulation of this skin.

As with acupuncture as a medical application de Solà-Morales states that the location of the sensitive point is the first step in the strategic treatment of the urban skin. To identify the sensitive point, “the skin of the city has to be observed with the attention of a detective who scrutinises the tinniest clues in it wrinkles and their apparent lack of connection”.[3] It is only after this in-depth scruitinisation has been undertaken can the intervention be conceived considering, adding, removing, modifying or the restructuring of things. Surprise and intuition are as important in the urban project as coherence and understanding.

[1] De Sola Morales, M. (2008) A Matter of Things, Rotterdam, NAi Publishers. p11.
[2] De Sola Morales, M. (2008) A Matter of Things, Rotterdam, NAi Publishers. p24.
[3] De Sola Morales, M. (2008) A Matter of Things, Rotterdam, NAi Publishers. p25.

Friday, 3 December 2010


Urban Acupuncture is an urban environmentalism theory of Finnish architect Professor Marco Casagrande which combines urban design with traditional Chinese medical theory of acupuncture.[1] He developed his theory in Taipei after attending the Urban Flashes symposium before being invited back by the Taipei City Government to study the human/organic layer of the city and how to react to it by means of urban planning. The focus was an illegal settlement, an urban farming community enclave inside the modern city named Treasure Hill. Marco Casagrande noticed this area was full of human energy that was being destroyed by the government. He states that the energy had been turned negative and had to be redirected positively towards construction,
like turning over the compost that has been the smelly part of the farm just to become the most fertile top soil. I was careful to manipulate these hidden energy flows and the small elements that I introduced to Treasure Hill can be compared to the needles in acupuncture.”[2]

[1] Urban Acupuncture [online] 23rd November 2010, http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Urban-acupuncture
[2] Casagrande, M. Urban Acupuncture [online] 23rd November 2010, http://thirdgenerationcity.pbworks.com/f/urban%20acupuncture.pdf


Jaime Lerner holds the ethos that the city is not a problem it is a solution. “More and more I am convinced that not only a solution for a country but also for the problem of climate change. We have a very pessimistic view of the city, with the attitude that the city is too big with the resources to be improved quickly.”[1] Lerner believes that the city can be improved in less than three years, not a question of scale or financial resources, every problem in the city has to have its own equation of core responsibility and also a design. Citing, “creativity starts when you cut a zero from your budget.”[2]

The two prominent features of Jaime Lerner’s theory of Urban Acupuncture are mobility and education. Through educating the children they will have a strong understanding of sustainability, they then may have an influence on changing their parents perceptions also. Lerner has created characters to educate the younger generation of his ideas, assigning a character to an everyday object. Using the turtle as an example of the best way of life, he says, “the turtle is the best example of living and working together”[3]. In contrast much of the way the modern city works is dislocated. People live in one district, or outside of the city, work in another and use another for leisure activities. Another character Lerner has created, Otto the automobile, to which he assigns the characteristic that, “the car is like the guest who is invited to a party and never wants to leave, greedy, exhausting all the food and drink and always asking for more.”[4] The automobile is often used to connect the dislocated entities of the city, exhausting the planets natural resources and demanding improved infrastructure. Public transport on the other hand, transports many people with the minimal input of energy, improving mobility and sustainability.

When talking of the cities design Lerner believes that every city has its own design, and to make change happen quickly you have to propose a scenario for the city, state and the country. A design that will appeal to the large majority, who will respond and help to make it happen. The design has to focus beyond the building and materials used, instead the design is of the concept of the city and educating society.

[1] Lerner, J, (March 2007), Jaime Lerner sings of the city, Montery, California, retrieved 1st December 2010 from http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jaime_lerner_sings_of_the_city.html
[2] Idem
[3] Ibidem
[4] Ibidem


The following serial views depict a route through the site, showing the changing nature of the spaces and their characteristics.
Site plan
1. Approach along Galata bridge.
2. crossing Rihtim square.

3. Passing through the traffic on Maliye Road.

4. Traveling along Kemeralti Road.

5. On approach to the Istanbul Modern.

6. Viewing Nusretiye Mosque through parked cars and the American Bazaar.

7. Fenced promenade between port authority and derelict warehouses.

8. Viewing Mimar Sinan University form the Bosphorus.


The area that the Urbanism Studio has chosen to work in lies within the Karakoy area and is highlighted on the map below.
The site takes in the coastal banks along northern mouth of the Golden Horn and spreads north-east up the coast terminating at Dolmabahce palace. The site is approximately 50 hectares and falls within the districts of Beyoglu and Besiktas.

small scale, BIG CHANGE

The following extract is as introduction to my theoretical exploration titled;

small scale, BIG CHANGE : Urban Acupuncture as a strategy for sustainable regeneration.

“The moment the construction of a house is finished, its life begins, but while people are living in the house it will always be under construction.”[1]

The urban environment is constantly evolving, built by the human as a response to their needs. Built environments, thus, accurately record human achievements. Those records point at broader social issues and problems. We can say that if our actions are based on values that respect the environment, economy and society, then our cities will be sustainable; if our guiding social values are not sustainable, then our cities become unsustainable, too.[2]

The world’s current population is 6.83 billion and is projected to grow by over a third by 2050 and reach 9.15 billion with 70% of the global population living in cities.[3] With this increase there is the demand for the city to expand but the shift in population may also cause cities to shrink. An expanding city will arguably result in urban sprawl out onto the peripheral land. In the case of the shrinking city, the population decrease will alter the dynamic, leaving areas of the city redundant. In both cases an alteration to the population using the city will have an effect of the existing urban fabric, with an expanding city there is often a shift to new centralities resulting in downtown areas becoming superfluous. These redundant areas already have established infrastructure and are attractive sites for reoccupation, revitalizing decadent neighbourhoods.

This dissertation investigates the theory behind Urban Acupuncture as a strategy for the sustainable regeneration of the urban environment.

Chapter one will discuss the principles of Urban Acupuncture. It will look to draw comparisons between the medical application and the urban condition. Looking at how small-scale catalytic interventions can direct a sustainable development.

Examination of population trends show great disparities between the population growths in the worlds most and least developed countries. Having defined the principles, chapter two will explore the application looking critically at two case studies, Barcelona, Spain and Curitiba, Brazil. Studying how the principles have been applied to the transformation of different socio-economic, cultural, infrastructural, historical and political situations.

[1] Buchanan-Johnstone, S (2009) The white book, The White Book,13, p25

[2] Radovic, D (2009) Eco-Urbanity: towards well-mannered built environments, Routledge, Oxford, p 1
[3] Future Directions International (2010) World Population Trends Towards 2050 and Beyond, West Perth, Future Directions International Pty Ltd


The months of September, October and November have been invested working collectively with the Urbanism Studio and individually. The Urbanism Studio have been studying the city of Istanbul with particular attention paid to the area of the Galata Bridge at the mouth of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. Urbanism Studio visited Istanbul at the beginning of October. Since the visit the Urbanism Studio have undergone an in depth study of Urban readings, producing a series of Books titled, Istanbul : A Visual Reponce to the People and Place, Precedent : Major Cities and their Waterfronts, Istanbul : Urban Readings, and Istanbul : Strategy. The ongoing process being undertaken by the Urbanism Studio can be followed by visiting www.urbanismstudio.co.uk.

This blog is the process of my personal thesis development working within the Urbanism Studio. The focus of my study this year is starting with a theoretical exploration of the principles in “Urban Acupuncture”.  The findings will The understanding of these principles will act as the foundation for me to develop my design thesis in Istanbul. Welcome on board, I hope you enjoy the journey…