How can Embracing Tranquillity Fundamentally Change the Way We Behave and Interact with Cities?

Grant Lewis Waters, Ben Warren, Alberto Calzada, Julie Godefroy, Diana Sanchez


Amidst the growth in urban living, an often-forgotten need is for respite from stress, congestion and pollution. Indeed, the notion of tranquillity is often associated with escaping from the city. So what happens when we challenge this mentality and celebrate tranquillity within our urban centres? Could the creation of a smart-city technology help city dwellers seek and share moments of urban calm and actually be used to inform how we could design healthier cities by integrating such spaces and experiences? This article presents the concept and initial findings of Tranquil City, a non-commercial initiative exploring the meaning of tranquillity in London, promoting its incorporation so that cities can better respond to human needs? Through the #tranquilcitylondon crowdsourcing campaign, city dwellers are celebrating and sharing their moments of calm in London via social media and thereby contributing to a map called the Tranquil Pavement. The map combines this subjective dataset with large public datasets on noise and air pollution, which provides users with a clear and straightforward indicator of low pollution areas and streets. In the future, could this change in perspective help us to have the agency to alter our daily routines to better our health and wellbeing and change the city as a result?

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