The influence of Feng Shui on the Chinese historic built environment is well documented: its development was promoted by many emperors – who used Feng Shui principles to position graves, design and orientate buildings and locate cities – and was supported by ordinary people – who built their own homes and positioned their ancestors’ graves according to the same principles. The impact of Feng Shui on the contemporary city, however, is less overt. Whilst there are examples of urban planning and design practice being apparently influenced by its principles, systematic evidence of Feng Shui’s impact on the contemporary built environment is lacking. In this presentation, the author’s ongoing research on the continuing influence of Feng Shui on built environment’s outputs and decisions is outlined. The research – undertaken in collaboration with Dr Xiaoqing Zhang (Zhejiang Sci-tech University) – considers Feng Shui as a means through which social and cultural values are transposed onto urban and architectural space. Whilst there is no expectation of Feng Shui occupying any formalised position in urban policy, that policy is developed in a wider decision-making environment in which both community actors and commercial interests exert influence over the planning and design of all elements of the urban fabric. For that reason, the research is focusing on the continuing imprint of different values – Feng Shui in this instance – via commercial considerations, on urban planning and design and on built environment outcomes.
About the Speaker:
Dr Manuela Madeddu is currently Senior Lecturer and Course Director for the MA Urban Design and Planning at London South Bank University (LSBU), where she started working in August 2007. Before joining LSBU, she worked as a researcher at the Politecnico di Torino (Italy) for five years. She qualified as an architect at the Politecnico di Torino in 1998 and completed a PhD in Town Planning and Local Development at the same university in 2006. She also holds a Masters degree in Cultural Heritage Management from the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (Italy). Manuela is a qualified architect and has practised as an architect and urban designer in Italy and the UK. Her research is concerned with cultural aspects of urban design and urban regulation.
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