Dr. Antonella Radicchi

Dr. Antonella Radicchi

Chartered Architect & Soundscape Urbanist

Urban Health

Urban Health. Concepts, consequences and challenges for health in large cities.

Whether people are or remain healthy, is influenced by both their living circumstances and environment.

A city’s transportation system, spatial layout, housing conditions, and safety are all factors that interact to create complex vulnerabilities in urban environments that affect health and contribute to health inequities.

However, novel concepts in how to design and manage a city or a district are emerging that promote behaviors conducive to health and ultimately better health outcomes.

In this conference, experts from France and Germany will explain major health threats for residents of urban environments, but also share visions and concrete prototypes for a healthier life in large cities.


Practical details:

When: June 29 2018
Where: Französische Botschaft, Wilhelmstr. 69, 10117 Berlin, Germany
At what time: registration opens at 9.15am

See the full program here

 

 

Building Health

From June 14th to July 1st the Make City Festival, “A Festival for Architecture and Urban Alternatives”, takes place in Berlin. Spanning over 17 days the festival features over 120 events: exhibitions, workshops, urban tours and studio talks.

As part of the festival, the European Network Architecture for Health invites to the foyer talk Building Health.

Can architecture and urban planning affect health? Which visionary and innovative concepts are available to make our cities a sustainable healthy and social environment?

We are looking forward to discuss these questions with you  in a convivial atmosphere – with good conversations and a glass of wine!

To make planning easier, please register at: mail@enah.eu

 

Berlin calling!

 As we anticipated last week, the public participation campaign “Berlin wird leiser” has been kicked off on April 26 2018.  It is a great opportunity: make sure to not miss it!  Your feedback will be included in the next Berlin Noise Action Plan (2018-2023). According to the European Directive on the Environmental Noise (END 49/2002), every big European city is obliged to produce and update every five years its noise maps and noise action plans. The process of identification of urban quiet areas (and their protection) has also to be included in the noise action plans!

But how to identify urban quiet areas?

Acoustical and quantitative criteria are not sufficient to guarantee the identification of a neighbourhood-based network of quiet areas accessed to everyone. On the other hand, we believe that people’s preferences should be applied as the criterion for the identification and protection of urban quiet areas.

Hush City app empowers you to make your voice heard and it supports you in having your quiet areas protected.

Download here the app and start today to impact on the next Berlin Noise Action Plan!
For us, at the Hush City Mobile Lab, citizens – like you – are indeed the real smart, active sensors that can play an effective role for a quiet and just city. Participate in the public participation campaign “Berlin weird leiser” and crowdsource your favourite quiet areas, by using the Hush City app.

If you don’t have a smartphone and you are interested in participating, just contact us at info@opensourcesoindscapes.org: we will support you!

Curious to hear more about the topic of urban quiet areas & our participatory methodology?

> Read our latest publication: Citizens as smart, active sensors for the quiet and just city
> Listen to the podcast, in which Antonella talks about the Hush City app!

‘Till next week, and quiet regards from Berlin!
The Hush City Mobile Lab Team

Everyday Quiet Area of the Week

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Vera-Brittain-Ufer, 10178 Berlin. This everyday quiet area is rated as meaningful and it is no. 995 of the Hush City Map. Image source: Hush City app.

Sound Tweets

In case you could not enjoy our daily tweeting, we are happy to share with you our “Best of the week” selection:

  • Very interesting interview about the ambivalent experiences of a formerly deaf woman who decided to get cochlear implants. Read the full story here
  • The modern digital soundscape: “All-you-can-hear buffet” of synthetic noises, of whooshs, dings and cha-chings! Read the full story here
  • What about if we think of “Citizens as smart, active sensors for a quiet and just city”? (open access)? Read the full story here
  • @HUSHCITYapp is successfully using the idea of #crowdsourcing. We’re convinced of the benefits of participatory research and planning. Read the full story here
  • The singing road: Another example how planning without thinking of the people’s need for quietness can go wrong. Read the full story here
  • These sounds annoy us the most! Plus the backgorund music of the video…was that the intention? Read the full story here
  • Berlin’s #SenUVK works on its new noise action plan – and involves the citizens! Read the full story here

Follow us on Twitter @HUSHCITYapp @btnoss

Berlin Noise Action Plan „Berlin wird leiser“

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Public participation in action at the kick-off meeting of “Berlin wird leiser” on April 26 2018. Image courtesy of Charlotte Weber.

When people talk about noise in the big city, the sentence “If you live in a big city, you have to tolerate noise” often comes up. And yes, cities have special urban soundscapes, they are full of sounds that produce not only annoying cacophonies, but also the charming melodies that attract so many people to come to cities. However these soundscapes are not only a random by-product, they can be actively designed. This becomes particularly important when excessive noise pollution endangers health and limits the quality of life in cities. This is where noise action planning comes in.

10 years of noise action planning in Berlin
This year the Berlin Noise Action Plan will be revised for the third time. Last week, we attended the kick-off event at the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection. Under the motto „Berlin wird leiser“ (Berlin gets quieter) the Senate analyses noise pollution in the city and draws up action plans and measures for noise reduction. Because around 360.000 people (!), meaning 12% of the people living in Berlin, are affected by harmful noise.

Reducing noise, protecting urban quite areas
The next Berlin Noise Action Plan and its public participation campaign revolve around two topics.
1. Reducing noise – e.g. through new mobility concepts, sound-absorbing road surfaces, speed limit at 30 km/h and/or the installation of soundproof windows.
2. Protecting urban quiet areas. To identify the small and large places where Berliners can relax, mixed data will be taken into account, including both noise levels and human responses and subjective evaluations. In order to define these qualities, the findings of Hush City App are going to be included in Berlin’s noise action planning. Stay tuned!

 Get Involved!
List the places that are too noisy in Berlin at www.leises.berlin.de. Mark your urban quiet areas and tell about interesting noise/quite-related initiatives in your neighbourhood. Noise and quietness are perceived very differently. Your opinion is needed for taking action where it is really necessary. The online dialogue continues until May 23rd.

And don’t forget to share your feedback on everyday quiet areas by using the HushCity App: data can be used in the context of the next Berlin Noise Action Plan. Download the app on iTunes and Google Play store, by clicking here: http://www.opensourcesoundscapes.org/hush-city/

‘Till next week, and quiet regards from Berlin!

 

Sonic Bits for the International Noise Awareness Day 2018

Hello!

Do you know that on April 25, the International Noise Awareness Day will be celebrated worldwide?

Throughout this week many activities are organized all around the world to raise awareness towards the negative effect of noise pollution and the importance of experiencing quietness for preserving and enhancing our mental and physical health, and social well being.

We are thrilled to participate in this worldwide initiative, with our two cents!

  • On April 17, Antonella led a soundwalk with a group of female students and her teacher Juliana Kohl of the Rütlischule in the Reuterkiez. This soundwalk was part of the “Soundwalking in the kiez!” Program, initiated last year in the framework of the “Beyond the Noise” project and run in collaboration  with the Stadtteilbüro Reuterkiez to promote and diffuse the soundscape culture in the Reuterkiez. Curious to read more? Click here!
  • On April 21 Saturday night you could spot us walking back and forth along Weserstrasse in the Reuterkiez. And no, we were not clubbing around. Antonella and Michael Jäcker-Cüppers were supporting a community group in their fight against issues of noise and super gentrification processes going on in the kiez. We took noise measurements at several clubs and we were pretty much astonished by the high levels of noise reached. Cannot believe us? Watch the video we made at the corner Weserstrasse/Reuterstrasse.
  • On April 25, the call for contributions to the special issue “Sound and the Healthy City” of the “Cities and Health” Journal will be launched.  Stay tuned! We will write more about this very soon.
  • On April 26 the public participation campaign of the next Berlin Noise Action Plan will be officially launched! This year the campaign will revolve around two issue: noise and quietness. You will be asked to comment on noisy and quiet spaces of Berlin. It’s a great opportunity to give your contribution and make your voice heard. We know you are crazy busy, but we hope you can make space on your agenda and to see you there!
    Where: Köllnischen Park 3, 10179 Berlin
    When: April 26 2018 18-20 pm
  • From Berlin to Pistoia (Italy), where a two-day event will be organized to collect scholars, artists, architects, policy makers and the local experts and discuss about urban soundscapes. And the importance of having a great sonic quality in our cities and how sound contributes to our understanding and experiencing of the world. Antonella is part of the Organizing Committee and she will be also leading two terrific soundwalks in the historical centre of Pistoia, guiding the participants through 12 listening points where musical events will be active by the arrival of the group. The musical events have been envisioned and organized by Lorenzo Brusci. Click here to read the program!

We have joined the Thunderclap campaign organized by the great Quiet Community. There’s still time to become a supporter ending unwanted damaging noise and protecting quiet places worldwide. Join us and make our cities healthier, by clicking here!

 

From Beyond the Noise to the Hush City Mobile Lab

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A view of one of the “everyday quiet areas” mapped in Berlin by the Hush City app community. Image source: (c) A. Radicchi 2017

Time flew away since 2 years ago when the “Beyond the Noise” project was officially launched at the Technical University in Berlin, with the aim of experimenting with a novel citizen-driven methodology to analyze, assess and plan “everyday quiet areas” in cites.

Many exciting things happened: we launched the Hush City app, we implemented the pilot study in the Reuterkiez with Dominik and Rabea of the Stadtteilbüro Reuterkiez. We also travelled the world to disseminate the project and exchange with the international community.

It was a terrific journey, only possible thanks to the participants in the “Beyond the Noise” project and to the Hush City community. Without your passion, enthusiasm and contribution the project would have not made possible. We thank you very much. We hope we will continue to stay in touch and collaborate.

The journey is indeed not yet over!

We are thrilled to let you know that we are setting up the Hush City Mobile Lab at TU Berlin.
The main goal revolves around open source planning of urban quiet areas. In this regard, the “open source soundscapes” approach to city planning approach will be deepened and disseminated for an environmentally just and healthy city.

We are working on a new version of the Hush City app, which will be released soon. New amazing features will be available, such as the possibility to select your favorite language! German, first!

If you are curious to learn more about the Lab’s first two-year agenda, click here! You can also follow us on Twitter @HUSHCITYapp.
If you would like to get in touch, say hallo at info@opensourcesoundscapes.org.

‘Till next week, and quiet regards from Berlin!

Happy New Year!

Dear all,
after a bit of digital silence, I’m back with the first newsletter of 2018, which is dedicated to wish you all a peaceful and quiet 2018!

In the next weeks, I will follow up with further email to inform you on the final steps of the “Beyond the Noise” project and the first draft of the “Reuterkiez Everyday Quiet Areas Master Plan”. Tentatively, in the next months, along with Rabea and Dominik, we will be organizing a community workshop to discuss it with you: a potential date will be communicated as soon as possible.
In the meanwhile, I thought to share with you a couple of links to articles published on the issues of silence and quietness in cities. There are also references to the work we have been doing in the Reuterkiez. The issue of noise from tourism is also discussed.

Senhsucht nach Stille, FOCUS | November 2017
Ruhe, große Stadt, Süddeutsche Zeitung | December 22 2017

I hope you will like them and to get feedback from you!
Many thanks for your attention.

Happy New Year!
Antonella

Illustration (c) Jessy Asmus

Image source: Süddeutsche Zeitung. Illustration (c) Jessy Asmus

 

Bürgerpark Pankow, a beautiful yet noisy park in Berlin

2017 has been a challenging but very rewarding year and I would like to end it, by thanking very much all the participants in both “Beyond the Noise” and “Hush City” projects, as well as those who dedicated their time to share with me stories and secrets about their favorite quiet (and less quiet) spots in Berlin and beyond.

I would like also to thank very much the journalists, who, intrigued by the topic of noise pollution and quietness in cities, got in touch with me and published wonderful articles and posts about how these issues have been treated in the framework of both “Beyond the Noise” and “Hush City” projects. If you missed some of these articles, you can find a recap here.

The role played by journalists is fundamental in disseminating the research works done by the scientists and in helping them to reach out the public; however, it is important to monitor these publications to avoid mistakes and/or misunderstandings, which can happen, when English is used as a lingua franca, leading to unexpected events. As it is the case happened to me few months ago.

On August 5 2017, while I was in Italy to visit my family, an article about my research projects on urban quietness and the Hush City app was published in the magazine Berliner Abendbladtt and distributed in the letterboxes of the Berliners across the city. A very good promotion for the projects and the app I was totally unaware of! I assume, indeed, that the journalists read about the projects in the media coverage (e.g. Berliner Zeitung, Berliner Kourier et al.) and then decided to cover the issue on their magazine, without getting in touch with me.

The day after, on August 6 2017, I got an email from Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth, who drew my attention on this article, complaining about the content reported in it and asking for clarification. The journalists, indeed, to introduce the topic of my research on urban quietness, used the case of Bürgerpark Pankow in Berlin as an example of a quiet oasis in Berlin, whereas, in the reality, this park is one of the noisiest spot in Berlin, due to noise pollution from aircrafts to and from Tegel airport!

Furthermore, the article was accompanied with a beautiful picture of the park, which contributed to convey the idea and feeling of peacefulness and quietness, as you can see below. If interested, you can read the digital version of the article in German here.

2017.08.05 Abendblatt 1

Cover of the magazine Berliner Abendblatt, reporting the overview of the article published at p. 3 (image courtesy of Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth).

I cannot forget the mix of emotions I felt while reading the email received from Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth: sadness and anger, for the misunderstanding and the erroneous information reported in the magazine, and, on the other hand, gratitude and joy, for being informed and contacted by Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth. My reaction was immediate: I replied to the email, clarifying my point and asking for a meeting in the Bürgerpark Pankow area to have a (sound)walk around.

Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth gently agreed and, on September 26 2017, I left Kreuzberg for Pankow, where I met Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth, who generously brought me around Bürgerpark Pankow, telling me the past and present story of this gorgeous park. If curious, read the history of the park and current projects here and here (links courtesy of Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth).

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Views of Bürgerpark Pankow ( image: cc Antonella Radicchi)

In the meanwhile we were (sound)walking around this beautiful park, every 2/3 minutes, an aircraft was crossing the sky just upon our heads. The noise was so loud that we had to stop talking and wait for the aircraft passed by, before continuing our conversation. What a perfect oasis of quietness! I really could not understand why and how the journalists referred to it as the ideal heaven of quietness in Berlin. Really.

To double-check with your ears, please, click on the “sonicshot” below to listen to the soundscape. Use of headphones is, of course, recommended J

Video of an aircraft flying over Bürgerpark Pankow in Berlin on September 26 2017 around 2pm (video: cc Antonella Radicchi)

In-between one aircraft and the other, we spent one hour (sound)walking around the area, which is indeed extremely beautiful as well as alarmingly noisy. Community groups in the neighborhood are also pretty much active in their fight against Tegel airport, due to the high levels of noise pollution which not only disturbs their quality of life, but it constitutes an health hazard for all the residents. Click here to read the harmful effects of noise on human health.

2017.08.04 Cotta

Picture of a board hung up to the balcony of the buildings surrounding the Bürgerpark Pankow, reporting the motto “Give me the quiet back” (the translation from German is mine; image courtesy of Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth).

Luckily, a bad beginning does not keep you from a good ending. In my case, a misunderstanding led me to meet a very generous and interesting person, Mr. Gerhard Hochhuth, who so kindly shared with me his everyday life experience and knowledge of the area and informed me about a detrimental issue of noise pollution in an area of Berlin which I had not yet visited.

It was such a very rewarding moment that I wanted to share it with you all in my last post of 2017.

And, now, to conclude, along with my wishes for a peaceful and quiet 2018, I wish you all to not forget to “climb out of our bubbles, emerge from behind our screens, walls, loudspeakers and headphones and open ears directly to the environment” (Westerkamp, 1974).

Let’s keep on fighting for a high quality of our city soundscapes.

Happy New Ears!

The Reuterkiez “Every Day Quiet Areas” Map

Dear all,
On October 14 2017, the Reuterkiez Stadtteil-Tagung took place and we had a wonderful day of exchanging and debating about the neighborhood. It was also a great opportunity to meet new people and imagine together a quieter future!

Thank you so much to the Stadtteilbüro Reuterkiez for having made it possible, and of course, thank you to all those who participated with energy, passion and dedication.

On that day, I had the privilege to set up a corner dedicated to the “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes” project, thanks to Rabea and Dominik from the Stadtteilbüro Reuterkiez who encouraged me to do it. By means of visual tools, I described the project’s rationale, its goals and methods and I presented the project’s first results through a colourful and interactive map: the Reuterkiez “Everyday Quiet Areas Map”.

This maps shows the favorite quiet areas identified by the participants in the project. The size of areas relates to the rating given by the participants: e.g. the bigger is the dot, the bigger is the number of participants who indicated that area as their favourite quiet area.

During the day, people were invited to evaluate the quiet spots identified by the participants in the project, by playing a simple interactive game: the LIKE OR UNLIKE IT! game.
A number of red post-its for UNLIKE and green post-its for LIKE were provided and people were invited to place green post-its on the quiet areas they liked, and the red post-its on those quiet areas they did not like. The results can be seen hereafter!

EQAs-map+game

Picture illustrating the results of the interactive game played with people to evaluate the “everyday quiet areas” identified by the participants in the “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes” project. (C) Antonella Radicchi 2017

There is still time to vote and participate in the project, so don’t be shy and join us!

The next step consists of establishing a participatory process to draft the “Reuterkiez Everyday Quiet Area Master Plan” and to define planning guidelines on how to preserve and improve the existing “everyday quiet areas” and, eventually, planning new ones.

If you would like to join us and participate in the planning phase, please send me an email to antonella.radicchi@tu-berlin.de

Thank you for your interest!
Best regards,
Antonella

The Reuterkiez “Everyday Quiet Areas Map”

On October 14, the Reuterkiez Stadtteil-Tagung took place and we had a wonderful day of exchanging and debating about the neighborhood. It was also a great opportunity to meet new people and imagine together a quieter future!

Thank you so much to the Stadtteilbüro Reuterkiez for having made this event possible and so special, and, of course, thank you to all those who participated with their energy, passion and dedication.

On that day, I had the privilege to set up a corner dedicated to “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes” project, thanks to Rabea and Dominik from the Stadtteilbüro Reuterkiez who encouraged me to do it.
By means of visual tools, I described the project’s rationale, its goals and methods and I presented the project’s first results through a colourful and interactive map: the Reuterkiez “Everyday Quiet Areas Map”.

T7_stadtteilkonferenz_ger_web

The Reuterkiez “Everyday Quiet Areas Map” (C) Antonella Radicchi 2017


The “Everyday Quiet Areas” Map

This maps shows the favorite “everyday quiet areas” identified by the participants in the project.
The size of areas relates to the rating given by the participants: e.g. the bigger is the dot, the bigger is the number of participants who indicated that area as their favourite quiet area. The numbers displayed on the dots refer to the pictures of the areas framing the top of the map.
The results displayed on this map come from the overall data collection, which took place between May and September 2017 in the Reuterkiez in Berlin, by means of interviews, soundwalks, and by using the Hush City app. As of September, 30 2017: 19 interviews were made, 5 soundwalks were performed, 45 datasets were collected by participants in the Reuterkiez, by using the Hush City app.

The initial evaluation of data collected through interviews, soundwalks, and the Hush City app, has yielded interesting results. Data evaluation led to a more complex understanding of the notion of quietness in cities, beyond the common definition based on sound levels. For example, in the interviews, people have referred to quiet areas as places, which favor relaxation and social interaction, and are characterized by a mix of natural and human sounds. This association between “everyday quiet areas”, expected on the local scale, and lively, yet relaxing places, resulted also from a cross evaluation of data collected through the soundwalks and the Hush City app. You can read a bit more about the project, its first results and future challenges here.


Like or Unlike it!

During the day, people were invited to evaluate the “everyday quiet areas” identified by the participants in the project, by playing a simple interactive game: the LIKE OR UNLIKE IT! game. A number of red post-its for UNLIKE and green post-its for LIKE were provided and people were invited to place green post-its on the quiet areas they liked, and the red post-its on those quiet areas they did not like. The results can be seen hereafter!

EQAs-map+game

Picture illustrating the results of the interactive game played with people to evaluate the “everyday quiet areas” identified by the participants in the “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes” project. (C) Antonella Radicchi 2017


What’s next?

These initial results can be said to be advancing soundscape theory and they can be applied in city planning.

But, how?

Keep on following us if you are interested in learning more about the integrated planning process we aim to achieve. The next step indeed consists of establishing a participatory process to draft the “Reuterkiez Everyday Quiet Area Master Plan” and to define planning guidelines on how to preserve and improve the existing  “everyday quiet areas” and, eventually, planning new ones.

If you would like to join us and participate in the planning phase, please get in touch by dropping a message at antonella.radicchi@tu-berlin.de.

Thank you for your interest!