Walking the Tranquil City - can travelling via urban tranquil areas increase our health and wellbeing in the city?

Tranquil City, OrganiCity - Both tours are now fully booked; please reigster on the waiting list


Image copyright credit David Wood

With the growth in urban living it is key that cities encourage and allow a harmonious way of life. An often forgotten need is for tranquil spaces where we can get respite from stress, congestion and pollution. The notion of tranquillity is often associated with escaping from the city. We believe, however, that cities do already and could offer further opportunities to enjoy tranquil spaces within them.

Tranquil City is a project that seeks to encourage the exploration of calm in London. The project grows from citizen engagement (including crowd-sourced data) and it embraces an open approach to tranquility: while green spaces and lower noise levels will be central to the perception of tranquillity within busy cities, the project also looks at wider opportunities for incorporating tranquillity and beauty within urban environments and soundscapes.

The National Planning Policy Framework identifies ‘tranquil spaces’ as something that can be valued by communities and therefore protected. However, there is no widespread definition and it is often limited to ‘areas of quiet’ considerations. This project explores an open approach to help define tranquillity in the urban environment and what it really means for the people and communities.

Tranquil City, with the support of OrganiCity, is investigating links between the subjective perception of tranquillity in the urban context and low noise and air pollution exposure, to see if by taking journeys via these areas we can encourage healthier modes of transport. The objective is to encourage the exploration of calm in London and increase our understanding of its benefits on health and wellbeing. This event will be an active experiment taking place in three areas across London.

Participants will explore their area and journey to a given destination using the Tranquil Pavement Map, which includes crowdsourced tranquil spaces and low-pollution zones. The experiment will encourage a conscious approach to walking through the city, seeking known tranquil spaces, documenting responses and finding new spaces to contribute. Following the exploration, participants will be provided with information to understand exposure to noise and air pollution compared with the ‘direct’ route. The event will be hosted by the multidisciplinary Tranquil City team, bringing expertise in Air Quality Acoustics, Sustainability, Socio-economics and Data Science. We believe that by choosing our journeys to be slower, more beautiful, in touch with nature and tranquil, we can all improve our health and quality of city life.

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