Soundscape mapping in the urban context: a case study in Sheffield

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According to the recently published ISO 12913-1, soundscape differs from the acoustic environment, since the first refers to a perceptual construct, whilst the latter to a physical phenomenon. Noise exposure has been a main concern over the last decades, but from the planning viewpoint limited attention has been given to the perception of the acoustic environment and its representation at a city scale. This paper aims to establish a method for representing soundscape through source-related maps and secondly to correlate the sound sources with the urban context in terms of specific activities. Using a grid-based sampling methodology within the broader area of Sheffield city centre, soundscape data were collected in 90 spots, during morning and evening hours. Afterwards, soundscape variability for technological, anthropic and natural sounds was represented by maps using a Kriging interpolation technique in GIS. Preliminary results show how sound sources’ spatial variation in urban soundscapes is closely related to urban contexts and activities, therefore urban activities can be relevant for designing the soundscape of the urban realm. The paper ultimately points out how soundscape mapping can be used as a tool for planning purposes and urges to rethink the design process of the built environment also from the sonic viewpoint.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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