Feng Shui with Dr. Anna Markovic Plestovic

FENG SHUI * ARCHITECTURE * URBANISM * GEOGRAPHY * SOCIETY

2. Manifestations of the basic character of the place in structures and processes of built environment and society

 

The character of place defined by earth and metal manifests in many forms and structures of society and built environment. The pattern of favouritizing matter over spirit manifests in the spatial formative processes through growing gabarites of subsequent City Hall buildings, strengthening the point of material-secular power, while the accumulation of matter was used to create a spatial structure isolating the center of spiritual power.

  

The spiritual center was further weakened by contra-posting the first church by other equally distantiated and spatially secluded churches, and later the other institutions linked to the mental-spiritual plane of existence were positioned in equally distant and less easily accessible places compared to the City Hall. At the level of society this pattern manifests in the personal and social legitimation based solely on the ownership of arable land and houses (which are in their perception different from the meaning contained in the term real-estate) , which according to Feng Shui are expressions of non-movement. The society thus prioritizes non-movement over movement (flow, communication, capital, knowledge, etc.). The same pattern characterizes the priorities influencing the social decisions over time. The need for preservation of existing forms always overrides the needs of modernization (increasing movement) during the whole history of the city. The local society’s self-image tends to take into account only the indicators of quantity and neglects any inquiry into quality matters. The pattern of materialism can be detected in continual accentuation of the central position of the City Hall by expanding its dimensions through time. The same pattern can be traced in the processes of the development of the city, where the processes of concentration increased the population and housing density of the initially scarcely populated area which was considered the city area over some 200 years. The basic grid on this area did not change, only the number of houses was increasing continually through time within this area, while the initial fast growth of population of the city has stopped and is stagnating since the first third of the XIX. Century. In the XX. Century the process repeats itself at a larger surface.

 The spatial growth of the city in the right lower corner. Orange zone represents the city to the end of the XIX century, the purple area represents the growth between the World Wars, the yellow area represents the growth after the WW II., but in practice the inhabitation of the area begun from the `60-es. The largest amount of growth, just like during the formation period,  appears in the northern and north-western segments, where the development takes place in the form of traditional  process - instant  loose inhabitation, then long-lasting thickening of the fabric, without urbanistic plans and any regulatory measures. (Own marking on the basic layer of GIS, based on the map of Györe Kornél 1976, and personal surveilance)

area represents the growth between the World Wars, the yellow area represents the growth after the WW II.,
but in practice the inhabitation of the area begun from the `60-es. The largest amount of growth, just like 
during the formation period,  appears in the northern and north-western segments, where the development
takes place in the form of traditional  process - instant  loose inhabitation, then long-lasting thickening 
of the fabric, without urbanistic plans and any regulatory measures. 
(Own marking on the basic layer of GIS, based on the map of Györe Kornél 1976, and the personal 
surveilance)

 

The territorial expansion of the city did claim some outer areas. The whole new territory was instantly loosely populated while the density is gradually increasing during the time. The same pattern manifests also in the overextended proportion the real estate market holds in the employment structure or the local self-governments policies that are construction-focused and neglecting the development of infrastructure.

By the domination of material (non-movement) over the spiritual (movement, flow) aspects of existence, the preservation, the neutralization of changes or in other word the conservativism comes into the focus of social values. The social perception of space is a factor restricting the possibilities of changes in spatial forms. In Szabadka this perception is continuous in time, hereditary. The new-arriving population easily adopts this perception, resulting in the preservation of higher social standing of the XVIII century city area, recognized as „the real city”, separated from the larger, recently populated areas by the railway network which acts as city wall, the road-passes across the railway performing the role of city gates. Thus the secondary accumulation center that triggered the formation of the city reproduced the spatial formation surrounding the primary accumulation center, with its fortification-like quality. The preservation of social organizational forms can be recognized in the system of weekend-houses concentrated in the northern and northwestern segment of space. Namely serving the purpose of leisure, in fact those are the modern forms of the traditional two-hearth organization of the basically agricultural society, where the small-scale agricultural production and large parts of life take place at these outer premises, while the family holds a house in the city, proving their status. 

The strengthening of earth quality according to the rules of Feng Shui leads to the strengthening of metal, which did lead to the strengthening of inward-orientation of the space-society segment, along with the exclusion of external movement typical for fortification-like basic formation. The most characteristic spatial form of appearance of this feature is the monocentrical-radial transportation structure, that restricts the movement, through condensing and slowing down the traffic in the city center by the lack of transversal traffic routes, since the movement would endanger the stability-based local identification. The same pattern is shown in the fact that large-scale social upheavals like revolutions or world wars usually have minimal and delayed effect on local society of Szabadka. In the employment structure this pattern results in the large number of low-radius small family businesses, which goes with low social and spatial mobility. The self-image of the society avoids comparison, in evaluation of progress and change refers only to internal data, therefore it can be considered inward-focused.

 

 

The flow of energies that made the formation of the city possible and the authoritarian organizational model of the military frontier-territory both predestine the local society for authoritarian organization, which value is also contained in the monocentrical-radial spatial structure and the structures supporting such spatial organization, every path leading „to” and „from” the city center, or to be precise to and from the City Hall. Even the neighboring peripheral units can communicate with each other only through the center. In the social organization this produces pyramidal hierarchic forms repeating the model of the classical patriarchal family with the undisputed pater familias at the top. These informal organizational forms are present in the politics, economy, public life and culture. The network-like organizational forms based on equal standing and communication rarely appear, and if so, quickly disappear. 

 

 

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