I am wanting to see Chico become the first street light and stop light free city in the state. Removing the building of say like every forth and fifth block through out the city and building a "serenity as you describe it" parks on these locations. Removing curbs and sidewalks in the proses.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU!
There are already probably some good examples of what you are trying to do in places all over Europe.
I believe birds will be your best friends. They know where and how to plant plants. Plant some seeds for them.