We Live With Water

By December 14, 2015Musings, News

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SUBMERGE offered The Stove the chance to imagine a Dumfries of the future…a future that is predicted to be as much as fully twice as wet by the end of this century.

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As we prepared for SUBMERGE our local council unanimously voted for a plan to build a physical structure along the edge of the River Nith in an attempt to hold back the surges in this spate river and prevent the flooding that has been a feature of the town since records began. Hard though we searched, we could not find the longer term vision for the town that the barrier plan fitted into – how did the barrier work towards a future for Dumfries we wondered? The only answer we could fathom was to make a small area of the town more attractive to property developers. The strategy of trying to attract private investment to make the town flourish has been the mantra for the last 20 years – it has not been a success and appears increasingly questionable during the decline 20th Century capitalism which is failing to deliver well-being for the majority of the population in Scotland.

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The Stove put out a call for people to join a group who would take an alternative approach and try to imagine a future where increased rainfall, sea-levels and river surges would be seen as an opportunity. We tried to imagine Dumfries as River Town….a place that embraced its environment…a place that Lives With Water.

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In this plan the banks of the River Nith are re-wilded as riverbank through the centre of town and these new spaces are joined with existing green spaces adjacent to the river to create a green corridor along the Nith which is used for a combination of food and energy production, leisure, culture and education.

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The commercial district of the town centre is constricted and focuses on its traditional function as a market for local producers, a meeting place and a centre of culture/heritage. As the transport hub for the region Dumfries is the place that connects national and international relations to the wider region of South West Scotland.

DRT-Zonal-Plan

The area immediately bounding the High Street and Market Square is returned to residential use with urban smallholders and makers taking advantage of the proximity to market for their excess production and bringing vitality to the town centre throughout the day and nights.

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This vision was presented in a document called ‘We Live With Water’ which was written from the vantage point of Dumfries in 2065 and included commentaries by local writers looking back from the future.

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Richard Arkless MP visited his constituents in Dumfries on Monday 7th December 2015 to inspect the aftermath of the flooding from the previous weekend. He heard rumours of an alternative plan for the town and the river during his visit and collected a copy of We Live With Water to take back to Westminster as a potential way forward for our town.

Richard-Arkless

We Live With Water was coordinated by The Stove Network and included contributions from:

Katie Anderson
Kate Foster
Rita Pacheco
Alyne Jones
David Slater
Mike Bonaventura
Lee McQueen
Matt Baker
Mark Zygadlo
Ivor Gott
Stuart White
Mary Smith
Lauren Soutar
Rhiannon Dewar
Linda Powell
Katharine Wheeler
(and some anonymous writers)

Copies of We Live With Water are downloadable as a PDF

4 Comments

  • d says:

    What a load of utter rubbish

  • agnes parker says:

    please correct your date for the mp that suposedly visited dumfreis on 7th dec / 2016 eh whit should it have been 2015

  • George Brown says:

    Y not build a 6’hx 4’thick wall with a walkway on the road side 2′ -3′ up….no need to bother car parks……but id like to know wot happens at the next bridge down.???…

  • Duncan Gray says:

    Maybe not 100% attainable, but a lot more sensible than the unworkable plan the council have come up with against the wishes of the vast majority. It might even be possible to persuade the mega rich Duke of Buchleugh to let some of his reclaimed floodplain overflow to take the pressure of the lower reaches of the Nith in Dumfries, and pigs might fly on that one!!!!! Even though his wee pet Mundell is Scottish secretary!!!!