Creating immersive soundscapes for urban open spaces

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How do typological urban factors influence the possibility to experience designed immersive soundscape within the urban landscape? Are there similarities between different projects built during the last 50 years across the world? Soundscapes in situ can be designed by lowering noise levels and adding new sounds. Several urban open spaces (in Paris, Bern, Vienna, Graz, Zadar, Thessaloniki, Sheffield, Cardiff, Dordrecht, Miami Beach, New York City, Phoenix, San Francisco, Chicago, San Louis Potosi, Melbourne, Sydney, Campbelltown, Onohama and Xi’an, for instance) are characterised by designed soundscape elements that have the immersive quality - they offer the ‘surround sound’ designed experience. This interdisciplinary analysis covers urban (spatial), environmental acoustic (and electroacoustic) and music factors and their mutual influence. Different methods of designing immersive soundscapes within the urban landscape are being analysed using the geospatial data. Methods of achieving designed soundscape span from electroacoustic multichannel soundscape systems to the soundscape articulated through mechanical and acoustic qualities of urban design elements, such as pavement, vegetation or a built structure designed for a specific waterfront promenade, square, plaza or park. Two general spatial principles are recognised: open and enclosed. The former can feature different levels of integration of a soundscape design into an urban design, while the latter tends to isolate certain places from unwanted factors to a certain degree using strong architectural elements. The spaces here analysed were rarely conceived solely to enhance an urban soundscape. Designed immersive soundscapes intertwine contemporary sound art, music and urban design and enrich urban open spaces giving them a new layer of a landmark quality.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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