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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
City dwellers, take control of your city. You shouldn’t have to move to the countryside in order to live a healthy life. You deserve one too.
To download our full Manifesto – please click here.
Please send all complaints of “lateness” due to this Tranquil City manifesto to @tranquilcityapp on Instagram in the form of an image. Be creative.