Perceived quality of urban open space: a Stockholm case study

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In investigating the quality of urban open space, it is important to investigate how the visual and auditory components contribute to the total quality. The majority of studies investigating audio-visual interaction in environmental perception have concerned how visual stimuli affect auditory perception, such as how vegetation affects the perception of the sound of road traffic from a motorway (e.g., Anderson, Mulligan, Goodman, Regen, 1983). In general, these studies indicate that how people perceive sound depends on the visual context. That is, some sounds are more appropriate in one context than in another, which seems to depend on the participants’ expectations. For example, a city center is expected to sound like a city center, and not like a forest, and vice versa. Typically, a mismatch resulted in discomfort. A handful of laboratory studies investigated how perception of auditory and visual aspects related to the perception of the composite of audio-visual information (e.g., Gifford & Ng, 1982; Kuwano, Namba, Komatsu, Kato, & Hayashi, 2001; Morinaga, Aono, Kuwano, & Kato, 2003). Chiefly, these studies showed that visual aspects of environments were more important than auditory aspects. However, how important the visual aspects were, was highly variable across different environments. This indicates that auditory information might dominate over visual information at some point (see also Gan, Luo, Breitung, Kang, & Zhang, 2014; Preis, Kociński, Hafke-Dys, & Wrzosek, 2015).
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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