Advancing Places: Urban Acupuncture & the Archaeology of Local Knowledge

Overview: Within the realm of placemaking, there are many techniques and strategies to use to improve the quality of life, well-being, and health of people living, working, and visiting downtowns around the world. This webinar will be exploring two case studies, demonstrating innovative and out-of-the-box solutions hoping to inspire others to create their own placemaking projects and programs.  As a central theme, we will explore urban acupuncture, a process consisting of small-scale interventions that serve as a catalyst for both social and physical changes to radiate and transform the larger urban context. We will also discuss the archeology of local knowledge as a technique that unearths local community idiosyncrasies that reveal the authentic characteristics of a place and the general identity of a community. Other theories covered will include the city as a public sphere, participatory placemaking, communicative action, direct democracy, and local knowledge. 

The first case study, Trojan Rocking Horses WPB, consists of eight life-sized rocking horses, each custom-designed based on local children’s designs created through community workshops. These will be fabricated locally, under the guidance of Marco Casagrande. Inspired by the stories of the Barefoot Mailman, the horses will begin their journey through various communities in the City of West Palm Beach collecting messages from citizens about their aspirations and dreams for the city and downtown.  

The second case study that will be discussed is the Za’atari Maternity Clinic, a pop-up prefabricated CLT structure that is modular and scalable, bringing a solution to safely delivering babies and providing women access to health services at Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee camp. This project serves as a pilot test to inform future solutions for other refugee camps to create spaces that provide better health options for women and children, the most vulnerable of all groups within the humanitarian crisis. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Understand the benefits and purpose of placemaking projects and urban acupuncture techniques, and how they can be used to engage the community and identify new potential projects that are of importance to a place.
  • Gain an understanding of what urban acupuncture and the archaeology of local knowledge is, and how to apply it through two different case studies. 
  • Learn to strategize community engagement programming for placemaking efforts and how community participation is key to creating a sense of stewardship for projects and places. 

Friday, January 13, 2023 | 12:00pm ET (9:00am PT) 

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Domain: Public Space Management and Operations

Pricing: IDA Members: Free | Nonmembers: $40

Advancing Places is an online series aimed at empowering IDA members with the solutions needed to address the most critical urban issues of the day. This session will include a moderated Q&A and will be recorded for member and nonmember use in the future.


  • Marco Casagrande, Architect / Environmental Artist / Social Theorist / Writer / Professor of Architecture (Raseborg, Uusimaa, Finland) 
  • Sherryl Muriente, LPM, Public Realm Director, West Palm Beach DDA (FL)


  • Carolyn Dellutri, Director of Professional Development, IDA

LPM | 1 IDA LPM professionals can earn credit hours for this webinar. More information about IDA’s Leadership in Place Management certification program can be found here.

CM | 1 AICP members can earn Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for this webinar. More information about AICP’s CM program can be found at



Marco Casagrande


Sherryl Muriente, LPM

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