Engaging the public – ‘Walking through the Tranquil City’ Workshop

On the Wednesday 15th February we held a workshop to experiment with our newly created Tranquil Pavement Map. We wanted to observe how people interact with the map to see if it was able to help people find healthier routes through the city. More than 40 people participated and were grouped together to form 5 teams.


Each team was assigned three tasks:

  1. Draw on a (plain) map a typical walking route that you take from point A to B
  2. Contribute your tranquil spaces based on your experiences of the city
  3. Consider the same A to B route but prioritising passing through tranquil spaces and areas of low pollution

We presented some examples showing the reduced pollution exposure that could be achieved by using the Tranquil Pavement Map to devise routes across the city. The benefits in terms of exposure were quantified using our GIS map.

The graphs demonstrate that by using both the crowd-sourced and open data sets, we can actively reduce our exposure to noise and air pollution when travelling around the city by significant amounts.

screenshot-2017-02-22-00-19-03Figure 1: Comparison of noise and air pollution exposure with ‘typical’ route and the ‘tranquil’ route.

We considered the health and wellbeing benefits of these reductions in exposure. Using the routes mapped by Grant as an example, based on available guidance and average exposure, we found that if he was to change his route to the ‘tranquil route’ every day for a year, he could be expected to gain an additional day of healthy life! This is a tangible benefit of seeking out tranquil spaces and quieter, less polluted paths along his journey to work.

We believe that this research (which will be detailed further upon completion of the project) is powerful in that as much as we rely on planning and government policies to clean up our air and provide liveable cities, we can actively reduce our exposure to noise and air pollution by choosing routes that are more beautiful, greener, quieter, wilder, sometimes longer but definitely more tranquil.

We are seeking to raise awareness of this so that the profile of the liveability of the city is raised and that planners listen to citizens who want more green spaces, more trees, more wildlife, more pedestrianisation, more waterways and water features. As the Tranquil City experiment has demonstrated, these features can actually result in reduced exposure to noise and air pollution and can help empower people to find more scenic walking and cycling routes through the city.

We will be publishing the results to each of the workshop group’s tranquil routes very soon… watch this space!

screenshot-2017-02-22-00-24-32Figure 2: Visual representation of Tranquil City’s ability to help define tranquillity in the urban context and how it may be placed to aid Local Authorities protect it in the city.


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