Surrey Utopia – A Brave New World?
LDA Design Board Director, Alister Kratt, has been invited to give The Guildford Society’s Annual Architecture Lecture 2018 next month, hosted by the University of Surrey. It is the first time a landscape architect has been called on to give this keynote address.
Surrey has what most people long for in life. Fine villages and towns surrounded by lovely countryside. Home of the oldest untouched woodland in Britain, there is an abundance of nature’s riches throughout, and much of it is ‘protected’. If you have the energy, you can cycle to London along the Wey Path without touching a road. On a clear day, from Leith Hill it is said you can see 13 counties.
All this takes Surrey close to feeling like a utopian landscape. No wonder Aldous Huxley so enjoyed cycling round here – the perfect antidote to dystopia.
‘I should have then this only fear
Lest men, when they my pleasure see,
Should hither throng to live like me,
And so make a city here’
Abraham Cowley (1618-1667)
We can experience a strong desire to stop the clocks. Almost as strong as the pressure for development to continue to accelerate. Yet we are conditioned to evolve, all places and all peoples. Growth of settlement and change in the Surrey countryside has gone on for hundreds of years, much of it creating successful and attractive places. So why do we fear change so much?
Alister will explore the connection of people and place, Surrey’s landscape story, the concept of newness over nostalgia, as well as how we can secure positive outcomes in a changing world.
The Guildford Society’s Annual Architecture Lecture 2018 takes place on Tuesday 6 November at 7pm in the Rik Medik Building, Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey.