The Future history of Dorking

What could Dorking look like in the year 2075?

The Future of Dorking © Vita Architecture

Our friends at Vita Architecture came up with this thought-provoking dreamscape for a future Dorking with lots of ideas, just to get us thinking.

Look out for…

  • The skyway cycle track with panoramic views over the town
  • Powered balloon taxis with their rooftop landing pads
  • Solar panels on the church spire to harness sunlight energy for electricity
  • Delivery drones heading for the shops
  • Weatherproofed food and antiques markets to attract shoppers on rainy days
  • Homes with ‘hanging gardens’
  • How do you like the Dorking cockerel boats on the lake?

What do you think of these ideas?

Project:  Design your perfect Dorking town centre for the year 2075

What would your perfect Dorking town centre look like?  Create a map or picture of your Vision for a future DorkingExplain your thinking by writing a short document to go with it.  Be bold with your ideas!

Here are a few things to consider:  

  • What will we all need and want from Dorking town centre in the future?
  • What kinds of shops and services (hairdressers, libraries, etc.) will we still need?  During Covid-19, many people turned to online shopping with home delivery.  Shops were already suffering because of people buying things on the internet.  So, will we still want bookshops to brouse in, places to try on clothes, somewhere to buy a bag of nails and to buy food?
  • Where will you meet up with friends to catch up with the gossip?  Cafes, parks, sports centres?  
  • Which features of today’s town centre would you like to preserve?
  • Are there places you would be happy to bulldoze to make way for new features? 
  • How important are green spaces to help us all relax and connect with nature?
  • Town centre shopping malls, like the Swan Centre in Horsham, are under weatherproof roofs.  If climate change leads to warmer and wetter winters, should we make Dorking town centre more weatherproof by putting a cover over it?  How about a glass roof over, say, Dorking High Street?
  • Can we make the layout of future streets and shopping centres more pandemic-proof in case a similar thing happens again?  Perhaps wider walkways around school entrances and town centre buildings would help with ‘social-distancing’?
  • Getting around – some cities (like Barcelona) have outdoor escalators to help people get up and down the steep hills.  Would a street escalator be helpful in Dorking? If so, where would you put it?
  • Technology is changing fast, so think ahead. For instance, will we still need car parks or just landing pads for airship taxis and delivery drones? All these things are being developed by engineers around the world.
  • What is the essential ‘character’ of Dorking (think about the old streets, such as West St) and is it possible to change our town without losing it?

The future of Dorking is in your hands!

What Dorking almost looked like

East West bypass © Dorking Museum

Everybody groans about Dorking’s heavy traffic and the model above shows an idea put forward in the 1960s.  The plan was for a new road that would bypass Dorking town centre from east to west. The bypass might have made Dorking’s High Street a calmer, but homes would have been demolished and it would have meant cutting through Meadowbank Park (just beyond the church spire) where the playground and millpond lie. The plan was eventually rejected, so the heavy traffic continues. 

Do you have any ideas of how the traffic problems could be solved?

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