Urban Soundscape Design

Without considering soundscape design during urban planning we are risking the sustainability and liveability of our cities.

Soundscapes are one aspect of our everyday environment that is critical to the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Soundscape design necessitates an interdisciplinary approach to the master planning process of the urban sound environment, including aspects such as traffic planning, landscaping, architectural design and ecology – effectively everyone involved in shaping our visual and aural environments.

When ‘good enough’ isn’t.

A traditional approach to acoustics within planning dictates that complying with guideline noise levels creates a ‘good habitable environment’. Should we be striving towards a ‘good habitable environment’?

Most people understand that this is an oversimplification and that being subjected to annoying sounds, even at low levels, can be just as stressful. This is why a holistic approach must be adopted, where focus is directed towards the quality of the sound environment.

Decibels are not proportional to wellbeing. With soundscape design as a key aspect in the master planning process, we can engineer our future towards maximising wellbeing and creating sustainable urban environments that will serve our communities well into the future.

Approaches to Soundscape design

Connectivity

Creating walkways and travel routes with appealing and engaging soundscapes can increase the inter-connectivity of different urban districts.

Nurturing urban wildlife

A focus on wildlife, natural greenery and waterways. Consideration of biotopes can attract birds and other animals in to urban environments. Celebrate local wildlife while creating relaxing and stimulating environments for the community.

Vibrant public squares

A focus on art and culture can be used to create multi-functional public squares, and a destination for the wider community. Sounds from local independent businesses, bars and coffee shops can be positive in the right context, helping create an atmosphere. Exhibition and performance spaces are an important asset to local communities.

Mental relaxation

Providing relaxing outdoor space is vital in boosting the liveability of urban areas in order to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with urban life.

Creating an appropriate balanced soundscape is key in harnessing the potential restorative qualities of urban greenspace rather than a simple change of scenery, creating a true wellbeing advantage; resulting in happier and more productive communities.

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Urban Soundscape Design.

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