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Last Friday, I debuted Geomancy, Fortune Telling with Maps at the most recent iteration of the seasonal/monthly multi disciplinary art party Long Winter.

Geomancy is based on the idea that we are all implicated in the city, and no one can opt out of geography. The features of the landscape and their histories undeniably influence our being.

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Surveying participants’ present and historical routes through the city, I helped people map their lives, and untangle the relationship between their disposition and the landscapes they most often travel.

I spoke with many people about their routes. There was a person from Scarborough who mapped her relationship with industrial spaces, and a fellow living in Liberty Village who crosses under the Strachan railway overpass everyday. Many people had spent their entire lives in the Don or Humber watersheds.

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All the while, those participating in Geomancy — or waiting their turn — got to enjoy a hot cup of Cedar Tea – harvested from one of Toronto’s forests the previous day and served by the always gracious Walking Philosopher. In his words, we were considering the landscape as we drank it.

As I prepare my application for Guelph’s fantastic Masters of Landscape Architecture program, I realize the Geomancy, or, Urban Feng Shui, could be an effective approach to urban design. Taking a regional scale, the appropriate situation of a park, streetscape feature, or square can depend on the landscape around it: its topography or its proximity to railroads and river valleys and waterways.

I am excited to continue to study Geomancy/Feng Shui, and incorporate it into a future professional practice.

Until then, I look forward to seeing you at the next iteration of Geomancy.

All photos courtesy of RCSTILLS via Long Winter

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