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

Friday, 3 December 2010

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


  1. Dear adam,
    At the moment i am writing my master thesis about urban acupuncture and i would really like to read your theoretical exploration "small scale, BIG CHANGE". however i can not find your thesis online. Can you please send me the file?
    Best regards,
    Nora Prins

    1. Hi Nora,
      Apologies for the delayed reply. I will email you a copy of my Thesis. Can I please ask where you are studying?
      Kind Regards,
      Adam Parsons

    2. Dear Adam and Nora,
      this time I'm writing my master thesis. Already have Noras work in my bibliography. Adam, I found preferences about your work in many places. Would you be so kind and share your work with me? annawituszynska@gmail.com
      That will be very helpfull.
      Best regards

  2. Hello,

    Currently I am writing my thesis, and through the report of Nora, I read some interesting things about your thesis. Could you also send a copy of your thesis to me? My email adress is hendriks.rogier[@]gmail.com

    best, Rogier Hendriks

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi Adam, very interesting topic! I actually completed my Master's thesis of urban acupuncture in Barcelona and now I'm taking this a step further in my PhD thesis. I'm interested in reading yours as well. I hope you can send it to my email: haddadmarie@gmail.com
    If you need any help, documents or have questions concerning urban design in Barcelona please let me know.
    Thanks a lot,
    Marie H