The Eco-Acupuncture program has grown internationally with work in Florence (Italy) in 2013, and Rotterdam in 2014. Leeuwarden – as the EU Cultural Capital 2018 – became part of the international Eco- Acupuncture program in late 2014.
The Leeuwarden bid for EU Cultural Capital proposed to use the intense cultural investment of the program as a driver for social, economic and environmental development of the city – with Lwd2018 as a deflection point in the historical development of the city.
With the support of Leeuwarden City, the Province, NHL and the University of Melbourne, the Eco- Acupuncture program began with a variety of engagement processes starting in 2014 to consider visions of the city in 25 years time – Leeuwarden 2040. There were multiple visits to the city during 2014-5 by the Eco Acupuncture principals Chris Ryan and Michael Trudgeon and at the beginning of 2015 a project team of 18 began work on an analysis of the city, its current and projected environmental and social challenges and the 2018 bid program.
In April the team travelled to Leeuwarden and set up an atelier for three weeks, based in the Blokhuispoort. Design work continued in Australia upon their return with another visit to Leeuwarden by the principals in July 2015. Finally in October 2015 the concepts were presented in two exhibitions in the city.
Each design intervention is guided by the Eco-Acupuncture analysis of the future challenges and opportunities for the city. Each addresses the themes of Lwd2018: Exploring and celebrating links between nature and culture; closing the gap between the city and the countryside; providing new opportunities for building community diversity and social interaction.