Dr. Antonella Radicchi

Dr. Antonella Radicchi

Chartered Architect & Soundscape Urbanist

Become a Citizen Scientist!

With Hush City app, you are an active part of a citizen science research project to map and evaluate quietness in cities.

But, what is quietness? And how can it be defined and addressed?

In the same way that health cannot be defined as “merely the absence of disease” (WHO, 1948), the mere absence of noise is not sufficient to define quietness and ensure a good sonic environment for our physical and mental health, and social well-being.
At Hush City Mobile Lab we believe that people, like you, need to be (re)placed at the core of urban planning processes and engaged to identify, evaluate and plan everyday quiet areas in cities.
To achieve this goal, we combine the soundscape approach, citizen science and mobile technology, by using the Hush City app.

What is citizen science?  Continue reading

Everyday Quiet Areas Map Now Online!

We are pleased to inform you that the Everyday Quiet Areas Map is now online and open access here!

The map displays the everyday quiet areas crowdsourced worldwide by people using the Hush City app, a free mobile app released on the market on April 2017. Hush City app’s goal is to empower people, like you, to identify and evaluate everyday quiet areas and therefore contribute to their protection; and/or to identify quiet spots crowdsourced by the community where to escape and recover from the hustle and bustle of noisy urban life.

How to access and read the map  Continue reading

Sonic bits from the soundwalk in Altstadt Köpenick

Last week we had a soundwalk in the beautiful historical center of Altstadt Köpenick. We were lucky: the weather was good and we could soundwalk around with a fantastic group of 9 committed Berliners.

Today we will tell you what we learned from this experience!

By sharing this story, we hope to grasp your curiosity on soundwalks as a powerful participatory method to evaluate the soundscape and its impact on our health and quality of life.  Continue reading

Soundwalk in Altstadt Köpenick on May 16, 5pm

We are thrilled to invite you to join us for a great soundwalk in the beautiful historic center of Köpenick!

The meeting point is at 5pm at the Luisenhain Park on May 16 2018.

This soundwalk is led by Dr. Antonella Radicchi and it is organized in collaboration with the district of Treptow-Köpenick and the Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, in the framework of the public participation campaign of the next Berlin Noise Action Plan  “Berlin wird leiser”.

What is a soundwalk?
A soundwalk is “any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment”. It is a walk whose main purpose is listen to any sound of the environment, next and far from us, continuous and discontinuous, in the foreground and in the background, sounds that we like and noise that we don’t like.  Ears first, please! Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Berlin Noise Action Plan „Berlin wird leiser“

IMG_1936

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