Towards guidelines for soundscape design

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Architects and urban planners request guidelines with regards to soundscape design. In 2013 staff and students at the University of Sheffield, UK, were invited to take part in an electronic survey to investigate what kinds of urban open spaces that they prefer, and how these spaces should be designed with regards to soundscape. Respondents were asked to freely name their favourite outdoor place in Sheffield, and to what extent they found a list of 45 social and recreational activities, as well as a list of 40 sound sources appropriate for this place. A total of 935 individuals completed the questionnaire. A hierarchical cluster analysis of the 45 social and recreational activities revealed three main categories of favourite outdoor places: ‘Urban Park’, ‘City Centre’, and ‘My Space’. For ‘Urban Park’ natural sounds were appropriate when clearly audible, sounds of individuals when moderately audible, sounds of crowds when slightly audible, and technological sounds when inaudible. For ‘City Centre’ sounds of individuals were appropriate when moderately audible, whereas natural sounds, and sounds of crowds were appropriate when slightly audible. Technological sounds were appropriate when inaudible. For ‘My Space’ natural sounds and sounds of individuals were appropriate when moderately audible, whereas sounds of crowds and technological sounds were appropriate when inaudible. This kinds of profiles may serve as design guidelines for urban outdoor spaces with regards to soundscape, based on their social and recreational purposes.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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