The Growth of Feng-Shui

Birmingham Skyline PaintingI’ve lived in three cities and they have all been far richer, more wild, more wacky, and more challenging than any that I, or other designer could single-handedly design. They are however, what we are, built up in fragments by individual thought and action – just like the HoBB.

I illustrate one city (above) that has followed very concrete proposals in its past, both politically and economically. The reason it continues to grow and modify itself, is because of its spirit. You can feel the spirit of a city which can be likened to the spirit of a person – brimming with vitality and eager to forge a place in the World.

Cities can grow beyond imagination, especially with unchecked population growth, and as they expand so does the repetitive urban sprawl. It is this extended layering that I find very spiritless as each city merges with its neighbour turning villages into districts.

I have also lived in three country locations enriched by nature and managed by care takers. All three, being clear of industrial farming, grew organically around rural farming communities.

Planning policies, better communications and road improvements all go to support the evolution of villages into towns, but with all the efforts put into design and planning we still get places that all look very similar. The people I meet however, love places to be very different and individual so are planners and designers listening? In my book, the role of designers and planners is to listen, work towards the needs of the present day but with a practical eye on the best future.

The best future is a balanced future and we must stop western thinking from losing the plot. Here in the west we usually treat nature as a ‘raw material’ and refer to it as such in our writings. We must however heed the main point to the ancient wisdom of Feng-Shui (wind and water), and this does not mean that I am suggesting you rush out to buy a coloured object to put in a particular room corner to enhance your love life!

If you look behind the ritual of Feng Shui you find an understanding that must be applied. We are part of nature so we cannot disrupt the ecological balance of nature without it back firing in our face. The ‘balance of nature’ needs to be maintained as much by us as by earthworms. Our humans workings can continue to live on, only if we restore, preserve and maintain balance.

This ‘balance’ is not a static balance. As we design and plan more habitats with ever new technologies at our disposal, the challenge is to find new balance points. The shame of tomorrow would be to neglect it and deprive its citizens of their future through our greed for our present.

At the HoBB we keep exploring the best ways to enjoy building today for tomorrow.

Forward ~~~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ waves from Grant


OPTIMISMThe optimist in me says that the ‘oceans are clear and blue’, all mountain streams are fresh, rain water is pure and that the glass of water is always full.

The pessimist in me never swims in oceans, lakes, canals, public swimming pools or rivers and buys a very good quality water filter for use in my own kitchen, bathroom and garden!

Whether you are optimist and view a partly filled glass of Water as half full, or a pessimist with a half empty glass of water, you always want your Water to be Clean.

You want to be able to swim at the beach party, shower and make a drink without risking your health. We all want this – all of us on this ‘blue planet’ – all the Whales, Dolphins, Fish, Birds, Plants and every other creature needs clean water to be healthy.

As we steadily pollute the land, sky and waters around us, we damage this planet. The sure ‘slow kill’ of most pollutants often goes un-noticed, unlike an oil tanker disaster where the destruction of marine life can be photographed for the World’s front pages.

I am still an optimist. There’s an old saying that ‘optimists tend to make things happen whilst pessimists tend to allow things to happen’. For things to get better, we need to believe they will whilst designing and implementing balanced progress.

“We are what we think we are and we become what we want to become”

Once we knew a sea full of fish with no fishing quotas needed – now we land on Mars wanting to find life thus water there. We need to look after the water we have on this planet. We need to be thankful for how far we have come and be positive about how far we have to go.

I believe that both optimism and pessimism are self fuelling and become in themselves, self fulfilling prophecies. If people think that things will get better they surely will. Our home, this small blue-planet, needs to be a better ‘home-sweet-home’ for its wide ranging group of inhabitants. We can learn thus make it better or ignore life’s lessons and make it worse.

Waves ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ Grant