Making our cities more tranquil

Purpose

Experiencing a sense of tranquillity can have a positive effect on our wellbeing and health in many ways, but tranquillity is generally thought of as being separate from our cities. We aim to challenge this mentality.

We all deserve easy access to tranquil spaces and the benefits they provide, no matter where we choose to live, especially as our cities expand and our ways of life become more urban.

By embracing tranquillity within our cities we can help positively change our experience and interaction as city dwellers, by encouraging healthy daily practices, promoting regular contact with nature, increasing the appeal of walking and cycling and reducing the dominance of noise and pollution.

Method

We understand that tranquillity is by nature trans-disciplinary, subjective and sometimes hard to put our finger on. We value this holistic approach to city making and embed it into everything that we do.

We use a combination of multi-disciplinary expert environmental know-how, public engagement and open, bottom-up and user-generated data to help understand what tranquillity means for us in cities.

This way we can truly begin to understand the nature of tranquillity in our cities as it exists today and identify ways to improve it.

Tranquil City Insights

We aim to help make tranquillity an integral part of city living.

Through our research, public engagement and practice we aim to:

  • Understand what tranquillity means in our cities
  • Highlight the health and wellbeing benefits of tranquil spaces
  • Insights into how people interact with cities.

We use our unique skill set and approach to help integrate, protect, improve and nurture tranquillity in all its forms throughout our cities.

We support design teams to embrace tranquillity into proposals in a meaningful way, from specific area investigations, master-plan strategy, design development, post-occupancy evaluation and public engagement activities.

  • Tranquil space qualities from a city-wide to community scale
  • Methods to enhance, improve and create tranquil spaces
  • Evaluation of tranquillity for a project area
  • Insights into how tranquil spaces and routes can reduce pollution exposure
  • Analysis of mobility patterns pollution exposure
  • Demonstrate the social and environmental value of tranquil spaces
  • Methods to encourage the uptake of walking and cycling

An investigation into the positive impacts of tranquil spaces on health and mobility in London

An experiment into the links between the perception of tranquillity in London with environmental characteristics including noise, air pollution and urban/natural features to better understand how the concept may be used to reduce pollution exposure and increase willingness to walk and cycle.

The project included the GIS mapping of both subjective and objective datasets, crowdsourced #tranquilcitylondon social media posts and complex environmental data on noise and air quality which led to the creation of the Tranquil Pavement London map prototype.

An investigation was carried out into how tranquillity relates to national and international planning policy, as well as a public workshop was hosted in order to gain insight into how the concept of tranquillity may help facilitate healthier walking and cycling routes and the benefit that they may provide if used on a city-wide scale.

The project was supported by OrganiCity, a smart-city initiative funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Fund.

Walking the Tranquil City – Green Sky Thinking Week 2017

A series of public and professional walks demonstrating the beneficial aspects of taking a ‘Tranquil’ alternative route and investigating how it can promote active mobility.

Resulting from the OrganiCity experimentation, participants were taken on two routes between the Highbury and Islington and Holloway Road stations, firstly the ‘Direct’ route, as calculated per Google Maps or City Mapper, and the second the ‘Tranquil’ route as created by using the Tranquil Pavement London map. The ‘Tranquil’ route passed through various tranquil spaces along the way, meandering between east and west of Holloway Road, providing significant reductions in pollution exposure. Participants were asked to describe their experiences (sight, sound, smell and emotion) as well as how the route affected their mobility.

The walks were host during the Green Sky Thinking Week 2017 series of events.

Tranquil City Exeter

Tranquil City were invited by Exeter City Futures, to host the #tranquilcityexeter campaign to promote a healthier and creative perspective of the city, active mobility and positive mental health awareness.

The project has accumulated over 400 spaces in Exeter over a year period and is to be finalised in a photography book curated by students of Exeter College to raise money for mental health awareness charities.

Exeter City Futures are an organisation fostering sustainable city development practices in Exeter by ways of supporting innovation and links between city government, industry and the public.

Co-creating and Engaging the Tranquil City

In partnership with tech cooperative Outlandish, City of London, Better Bankside, Team London Bridge, John Evelyn Community Garden and Lewisham Council, Tranquil City undertook the development of the interactive Tranquil Pavement London web-application and methods to evaluate and provide insight into tranquillity in three distinct areas of London.

The project experimented with how such a tool can be ‘co-created’ with the public, as well as Local Authorities, Business Improvements Districts and Community groups to ensure the value and longevity of the tool, as well as the integration of a method of informing city planning and design to promote health, wellbeing and sustainability.

A series of public engagement events in each of the areas were carried out in order to provide subjective data as to how tranquillity is perceived in each area, to inform improvements and each area, and how the concept may be used to encourage positive, healthy routines of mobility and exploration.

The project was supported by OrganiCity, a smart-city initiative funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Fund.

Lewisham Schools’ Air Quality Champions Event

Tranquil City was invited by Lewisham Council to host a series of workshops as part of the Lewisham Schools’ Air Quality Champion event in Catford Town Hall, South East London. Bringing together students from over 10 primary schools, who have shown ingenuity to lead their fellow students towards healthier, more sustainable and lower polluted journeys to and from school.

As part of the workshop, students were asked to find tranquil, quiet and less polluted alternative route between an example house and school location using the Tranquil Pavement London map. Routes were shown to be exposed to significantly less noise and pollution, as well as passing through tranquil spaces that the students liked the most.

Avant Gardening Church

In partnership with The Showroom and Carole Wright, and commissioned by Westminster City Council, Tranquil City led a group of local residents on a tranquil exploration of the Church Street area in West London. Participants were challenged with experiencing a different perspective of the area some have lived in for many years, discovering new spaces, ways of navigating and the benefits of spending time in tranquil spaces away from busy, polluted hotspots.

The event was held as part of the Avant Gardening Church Street series of workshops by Carole Wright and the Showroom.

South London Sanctuary Spaces

In collaboration with Groundwork Youth London, Tranquil City curated a tranquil exploration of Brixton titled ‘South London Sanctuary Spaces’.

The walk discussed the aspects of pollution concentrations on Brixton Road and the impact they are causing across London and asked participants to be conscious of their reactions to the road. Participants were then taken on an exploration of tagged Tranquil Spaces in the area, where we presented information on how these spaces can be good for health and wellbeing for those living in the area, again engaging the audience in how they felt in the spaces in comparison. The event finished with a Yoga session kindly hosted by the Brixton Buddhist Centre.

The event was held as part of the Groundwork Charity’s Inclusive Spaces Week.