Picture the typical member of your typical field crew, and the image of a job foreman discussing "chi" and the "art of flow" with his carpenters is an amusing one. But if a California resolution passes the state legislature, it just might happen.
Assemblymember Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat, has recently introduced a resolution urging the office of the state architect and individual municipalities to incorporate feng shui principles into their design standards.
The legislation is a resolution, not a bill, meaning that it doesn't mandate anything, but only makes suggestions. Yee, himself Chinese-American, said in a press release that the resolution is, in part, "about respecting the diversity of cultures here in California."
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art that holds that placement of material objects creates positive energy, resulting in a more relaxing, productive atmosphere. Feng shui principles also extend to the layout of buildings themselves.
According to Adam J. Keigwin, Yee's press secretary, the assemblymember had heard of instances in the state where certain feng shui-driven designs had been rejected because they didn't conform to building standards and codes.
The original reaction to the proposed resolution was overwhelming, as national media poked fun at it, officials felt that the cash-strapped state had more important issues to consider, and the building industry complained about adding to already stringent standards.
However, according to Keigwin, once people realized that as a mere resolution, the legislation wouldn't actually mandate anything, it garnered more and more support. The resolution is currently in committee, and Keigwin says that he expects the resolution — which doesn't need to be signed by the governor — to pass both houses of the California legislature.