• Anu van Warmelo

Looking Beyond the Obvious


One of the tasks when using Feng Shui is to see what others may not. Thus, locations that appear benign may be anything but and, contrariwise, those that are unappealing may actually be very positive and life-enhancing. Take this unprepossessing street view from Totnes, Devon, for example.

There is nothing special about it at first sight, just another semi-urban street, but look a bit closer: the road curves serpent-like towards and away from the bus stop from which the picture was taken. Traffic is compelled to slow down. A lot of influences (ch'i) are converging on this spot: traffic, the bus stop, several pathways (some outside the picture) and a pedestrian crossing. Normally all these influences can become too 'busy' and hence stressful, but this is not the case here. A major reason for this is the aforementioned serpentine road, causing a natural, meandering flow, nearly always recommended in Feng Shui. The second reason is hidden from the picture - thus emphasising why sites really need to be visited to discover what is happening - and it is that the crossing lights favour the pedestrians. One only has to wait a very short time after pressing the button for the lights to change, and the traffic to stop, no matter how many times it has been pressed. This serves to emphasise people rather than machines. I'm often in a car here too, and there is a sense imbibed that encourages patience in a positive, unstressful way.

Totnes is known as a place different from the norm. Its High Street was voted one of the Top Ten in Britain in a recent poll, for instance. Various people and organisations may on occasion take credit for this uniqueness; but for me, when I look closer, the surrounding landscape as well as the town structure itself, all combine to make this town special - perhaps long before it existed.

#urbanplanning #chiflow #Totnes