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Tranquil City, Tranquil Pavement London

A mapping tool for exploring and celebrating tranquility in London

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The Brief

  • To design and build a user-friendly, interactive, mobile-ready site which allows users to explore environmentally tranquil spots in London
  • To condense an enormous amount of complex data on sound and air pollution into a simple visual representation
  • To enable and encourage user participation, so crowd-sourced information is mapped against empirical data, building a rich visual map of London’s most restorative places

The Client

Tranquil City is a group of environmental enthusiasts and self-proclaimed city lovers dedicated to exploring and celebrating tranquil places within city limits. Their project is to enable city dwellers to escape the stresses of routine life, reduce exposure to harmful pollutants and provide evidence of benefits that can help us design a more sustainable urban existence.  

Tranquil Pavement London is the first of many such maps that will change how we see tranquility in our cities.

Our Solution

Using data collected by Tranquil City, and with the help of funding from OrganiCity, we have developed an interface that provides two complementary layers of visual information: a rendering of objective data on noise and air pollution and a crowdsourced picture library of specific tranquil locations. These two layers are laid over and pinned onto a street map of London.

In order to concisely render the data, we settled on a system of data dots. Each data dot represents, via a sliding scale of shades of green, an estimated level of noise and air pollution for an OS grid square.

A low level of noise pollution and fresh air, however, are not the sole contributors to a tranquil environment. In order to open the platform up to more subjective parameters, a second layer employs crowdsourced user photographs and pins them to specific points on the map. Once a photograph is uploaded to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #tranquilcitylondon, it is scraped from the Instagram/Twitter API and pulled into Tranquil Pavement London.

The Tech

We used Laravel for the back end, AngularJS for the front end and Mapbox for the map.

For a more detailed account of our process and the lowdown on the best technologies to use in similar projects, check out Senior Developer Joaquim’s blog entry: Mapping Big Data.

Impact

As the conditions of our environment worsens, and with society’s heightened awareness surrounding mental health, it would be great to see Tranquil Pavement becoming a popular tool for those living in urban areas. Since its launch in January 2018, the tool has had over 1,200 crowd-sourced spaces added to it, at a rate of more than 100 a month.

Through our digital and marketing campaign, we are hopeful the community will continue to grow. The more spaces that are added to the map, the more understanding we will have of our society’s and communities’ need for tranquil spaces. There is also scope for city commuters to identify alternative routes to their place of work or leisure.

Going On

With the prospect of further funding on the horizon, we look forward to developing the tool further. Not only would we love to see the tool being used in more cities, but we are keen to build on the features that already exist. Ideas include: improving the usability and accessibility of the tool, updating noise and air pollution on a weekly basis and adding routing so that residents in urban areas can plan their tranquil routes.

At Outlandish, sustainable urban development, increased environmental awareness and improved quality of life for all are issues close to our hearts. We welcome opportunities to work with partners and clients wishing to instigate positive social change and have tailored our technical skills and collaborative potential to this end.  If you have a project that requires the design and development of web tools, data aggregation, dashboards, websites or campaigns, please get in touch!