Of late, we've been working with local author Peter Brown on his book - the Future History of Dorking to reimagine a future Dorking. The intention is to run a local event soon with local communities and young families to engage and understand from them what the most pressing local issues are and what solutions they envisage will enrich the town for the better. Our visual above, is a summary of sketch exercises we've done to address existing issues in and around the town and playfully explore how we could translate these into future ideas of what the town could become.
The Pippbrook Tributary
A stretch of the Pippbrook Tributary currently sits to the back of the Meadowbank park and faces onto private gardens many of which have sheds facing onto the waterfront. We wanted to take this space and transform them into artist workshops, local craft shops, and food and drink stalls. This would reinvigorate this stretch of the tributary and with global warming - sea levels are predicted to rise by 300mm by 2100, so what if we embraced this and left it to flood? We could then have some floating chicken pedalos that could be used as bar areas as break-out spaces from the stalls whilst reinforcing the importance of the Dorking chicken!
Creating a circular economy
With the pandemic driving people out of the cities, creating a circular economy within towns has never been so relevant. The town as it is has a plentiful array of local suppliers, but what if we embraced this further by lining the pavement with fruit trees to harvest by local grocers and encouraging bees to live in our towns to pollinate our flowers and create honey?
Subterranean high streets
With a network of below-ground caves and an overlap of thin pavements and busy roads - what if we were to extend the high street - downwards? We could then pedestrianise the roads and give the street back to the community.
Solar air balloon chicken farms
Ok, so this one's a bit more out there, but with the growing pressure of building on the greenbelt to meet the housing demands, what if housing were to be elevated into the skylines? A near-reality solution for sustainable energy is the use of solar balloons which rise above the clouds. These are said to be 3 times more efficient than your standard solar panels.
All of the above aren't intended to be realised in anyway but is intended to stimulate conversations with local families to understand their concerns and potential visions of a Future Dorking.