Cities are amazing places. However, living in urban areas today can be a cause for significant mental, physical and emotional strain.

Tranquil City has been working with communities, campaigners, volunteers and the inhabitants of London over the past few years to present a way of city life that can be healthy, mindful, slow and environmentally responsible.

We have condensed our thoughts into The Tranquil City Manifesto, a vision for what we believe are cities that enable human beings to thrive, alongside a healthy and well environment.

Take a breath, change your mindset towards living well in a Tranquil City and join us in realising this vision. Remember that it’s sometimes the smallest of changes that can make the biggest impact when we make them together. There are clear and simple ways in which you can improve your own urban life, starting immediately. Your actions can improve the lives of others and encourage urban design interventions that can support more people to follow your lead.

What is The Tranquil City?

Our minds are free to wander

As opposed to a city where you rush from one meeting place to the next, with an absolute focus on speed and targets, The Tranquil City is one where your mind is free to wander and contemplate, and you are free to roam, sit, or rest in your own way.

We can easily find balance

As opposed to a city with a uniformity of colossal concrete and glittering glass, The Tranquil City is one where there is a balance between active, bold and vibrant places and those for quietness, softness and solitude.

Exploration and discovery is the norm

As opposed to a city where you keep to the main thoroughfares, jostling with endless strangers, motor-vehicles and urban canyons, The Tranquil City is one where exploration and discovery is the norm, as streets and spaces are porous and intriguing, encouraging curiosity.

Walking is the primary form of movement

As opposed to a city where you are constrained to travel in your private vehicle, a “precise, dynamic and sculpted” “statement of intent”, The Tranquil City is one where walking is the primary form of movement and where cycling and public transport are easy, safe and affordable.

We can experience, connect with and tend to nature every day

As opposed to a city of sterile, pristine, polished, environments, The Tranquil City is one where you can experience, connect with, and tend to nature every day.

Our common spaces are open for interpretation

As opposed to a city where all actions are prescribed and monitored, The Tranquil City is one where the streets and public spaces are common land open for interpretation and spontaneity.

We socialise with people from all walks of life

As opposed to a city where people’s backgrounds entrench segregation, The Tranquil City is one where people feel free to socialise with those from all walks of life.

Actively welcoming communities

As opposed to a city that puts up barriers for newcomers, avoids interaction between neighbours and results in isolation, The Tranquil City is one where you are actively welcomed into the local community whether you’re a homeowner, renter, worker, visitor or just passing through. Incoming ideas improve the city.

There is a balance between the needs of people, nature and climate

As opposed to a city that prioritises growth and consumption above all else, The Tranquil City is one where there is a quality environment balancing the needs of people, nature and climate.

10 Actions to Help Build a Tranquil City

1 Allow yourself time to get outside, wander, take notice and breathe.

Notice the nuances, smile at passers-by, don’t be afraid to look like you have nowhere to go. Sit next to someone and tell them about something beautiful you’ve just seen. Laugh away the awkwardness.

2 When you need some quietness, seek out a tranquil space not too far away.

Share your tranquil spot with someone when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Sit with them.

3 Put away your phone and find a tranquil route to your destination.

Allow for intrigue and curiosity to lead your direction, take a wrong turn, discover the beauty of a quiet street you’ve never noticed before, use your ears to avoid the main noisy and polluted roads, walk through the park, use the sun or the skyscrapers to help navigate. Tell your friend, or boss, to blame Tranquil City for you being late.

4 Walk all the way.

It’s probably not that far. Tell people when you arrive that you’ve walked. “You walked all the way here?!” Enjoy the look on their faces. They’ll walk from further next time. Invite others to walk with you.

5 Observe the beauty of nature, the impermanence of things.

Nature is a forest, a meadow, a street tree, a pigeon, a weed on the street. Take the time to sit in a more natural space and contemplate what it means to you. Relish in the ways that nature resists our management. See the beauty in the smallest things, creatures, birds, plants and trees. Remember that we’re just part of nature too.

6 Sit in a place that feels good to you regardless of whether it’s expected.

Listen to yourself, your senses, and choose a place where you can enjoy the warmth of the sun or the relief of the shade. Think about why it feels good to you and be conscious of these reasons next time you take a journey. Bring a chair, a blanket or just sit on the ground. By just sitting there it will spark another person to follow your lead. Then you’ve started a movement, a quiet protest against managed public spaces that consciously and subconsciously limit our willingness to act how we would like.

7 Go out and tend to nature.

Plant, even without a garden, on your street corner, roadside verge, tree basin or patch of green. Join a gardening group. If one doesn’t exist, start one. Get people together, have fun and improve your street, community garden and area.

8 Go out and explore your neighbourhood, by yourself, or with friends.

Maybe there’s a park, pub or gallery around the corner that you never knew existed? Each new visitor is a recognition of the effort people in your community have taken to create that place, maybe they need your help. Invite and share it with others, volunteer or get involved and help protect it for the future communities to come.

9 Consider whether you need a car.

Resist the convenience of owning a motor vehicle. Consider the damage that air and noise pollution does to you, your fellow city dwellers and the environment. In any large city public transport and active travel options should be easy, affordable and normal. The more people exploring options other than owning cars, the more the infrastructure of the city will adapt.

10 Get involved with plans for your neighbourhood.

Find out what developments are being planned and why. Talk to people about it. Get involved in the community groups who share your views and help raise issues with your council and planners. Tell the council to make sure that something you want (a park, a square, a community space, a cycle path, a wildlife garden, an allotment, a pub, a cafe) is part of the plans. All of our voices are important when it comes to the planning of our neighbourhoods.