Dr. Antonella Radicchi

Dr. Antonella Radicchi

Chartered Architect, Ph.D. Urban Design

Hush City awarded the PRIX BLOXHUB INTERACTIVE Honorary Mention

We are delighted and honored to announce that Hush City has been awarded an Honorary Mention in the Category Excellence, within the context of the 2019 PRIX BLOXHUB INTERACTIVE for projects and ideas which are aimed at making urban space more “liveable using digital technology”.

In total the open call received 122 ideas and of those the prestigious jury – consisting of Carlo Ratti (MIT), Helle Søholt (Gehl Architects), Gerfried Stoecker (Ars Electronica), Kaj Grønbæk (Aarhus University), Indy Johar (00 Architects), Natalie Mossin (UN), Marius Sylvestersen (City of Copenhagen) – chose 2 winners and granted 8 honorary mentions.

Hush City along with the winners and the other honorary mentions are featured in the PRIX BLOXHUB INTERACTIVE’s website and the projects will be exhibited at the 2019 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz (Austria) on 5-9 September 2019.

The winners and the honorary mentions were also awarded at the BLOXHUB Conference, which took place in Copenhagen on 21-22 May 2019. Because Antonella was in New York for the research stay and she could not attend the conference, we thought to celebrate the award, dedicating this newsletter to feature the winners and the honorary mentions!

The followings are the honorary mentions and the winners, as reported in the PRIX BLOXHUB INTERACTIVE’s website.

HUSH CITY APP
Category Excellence, Honorary Mention
Is a noisy city liveable? The Hush City project takes inspiration from citizen science and uses the free Hush City app to involve people in the identification and evaluation of urban quiet areas. Hush City uses technology as a means to increase the knowledge about actual noise conditions in cities, and empowers citizens in defining their liveable urban spaces.

GROW YOUR OWN CLOUD
Honorary Mention
Grow your own cloud explores how reforming human associations with seemingly abstract and immaterial data, can create opportunities for more liveable urban environments. It does this by reimagining the cloud, creating new relationships with data by storing data nature’s way, in the DNA of plants.

PHI – YOUR INTERFACE TO PEER-TO-PEER ENERGY
Honorary Mention
Phi Collective helps community leaders go from having no culture of dealing with electricity, to possessing the tools and knowledge to share energy, accelerate new alternative energy sources, and take control of their own development improving their living conditions.

SHELTER LIGHTS
Honorary Mention
The purpose of the concept is to create space for homelessness in the city scape, this entails both a physical place and room for dialogue. This is done through an app for shelter staff, an app for the homeless and a light installation.

HYBRID URBAN ECOSYSTEMS AND ITS GREEN PATHWAYS: UNCOVERING THE HIDDEN CAPABILITIES OF THE CITY’S ROOFSCAPES
Honorary Mention
This project provides an interactive mapping platform, that explores the unused agricultural capabilities of the roofscape. By promoting a way of envisioning the city across its different layers of complexity, the idea is to look at the rooftop agriculture as a possible driver for social and environmental sustainability.

OURHUB
Honorary Mention
They have designed a solution that makes it possible for individuals to access games and training equipments on site 24/7 and to connect with other people around playful outdoor experiences.

PARKLET APP
Honorary Mention
Parklet App is a project based registration app, combining GPS and Open Data, where citizens via Augmented reality can draft and suggest new proposals for temporary design of a public space.

DIGITAL GARDEN LAB – DIGITALLY AUGMENTED EDIBLE URBAN LANDSCAPES
Honorary Mention
Digital Garden Lab is researching new methods of urban food production and community engagement facilitated by digital augmentation.

MAPPLE
Category Excellence, Winner
Mapple’s urban intelligence software helps city planners use data to better understand the area they are planning to develop, predict the impact of their developments and make sure they change the lives of the residents for the better.

FLORA ROBOTICA
Category Concept, Winner
The broader project has been developed in an interdisciplinary team and investigates closely linked symbiotic relationships between robots and natural plants, to produce new living spaces.

Did you enjoy the projects and ideas for making our cities more liveable?
Let us know your favorite ones at info@opensourcesoundscapes.org

Quiet regards from Berlin!
The Hush City Mobile Lab Team

 

Everyday Quiet Area of the Week

Wörther Str. 37, 10435 Berlin, Germany. This everyday quiet area is rated as relaxing and it is no. 2385 of the Hush City Map.

Placemaking, healthy cities and community-driven technology

We are thrilled to dedicate this newsletter to new publications and projects addressing placemaking, healthy cities and community-driven technology.

“Sound and the Healthy City”

Four new papers have been recently published online, as part of our special issue “Sound and the Healthy City” of the Journal, “Cities and Health” published by Routledge.

Professor Emerita and leading noise expert, Dr. Arline Bronzaft authored: “Supporting healthier urban environments with a sound and noise curriculum for students”.
This article introduces readers to Dr. Bronzaft‘s work with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection on the Sound and Noise Module Curriculum. The curriculum would teach children about the beauty of the good sounds and the dangers of loud sounds and noise.
The lesson plans on the Sound and Noise Module are a worthwhile read for all people interested in working towards a quieter and healthier society and it can be accessed at the New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection site.
The full article is available here.

Professor Emeritus and co-founder of the legendary World Soundscape Project project, Barry Truax, authored: “Acoustic sustainability in urban design: lessons from the World Soundscape Project”.
The contribution illustrates the pioneering work of the World Soundscape Project in North America and Europe in the 1970s, which has laid a foundation for acoustic ecology, soundscape composition and a model of the acoustic community. Based on this work, the author suggests some guiding principles for the qualitative aspects of urban acoustic design and sustainability that address quality of life issues.
The full article is available here.

Humam geographer Dr. Brandley Rink (University of Western Cape) and Lwando Klaas (University of Cape Town) authored: “Flying, health and the city: sensing aeromobility and risk in an informal settlement”.
The contribution illustrates the findings of a research, which explored the relationships between flying, health and the city from the perspective of an informal settlement called Freedom Farm in Cape Town, South Africa, located underneath the flight path for Cape Town International Airport. Using semi-structured interviews with Freedom Farm residents and participant observation, this study explores the terrestrial experience and associated perceptions of health risks of aeromobility from the vantage point of informal dwellers.
The full article is available here.

Helen Steiger, project manager at DG Cities, authored: “A London municipality’s electric refuse collection vehicle – ‘The eRCV project’”.
The contribution illustrates a repowered, 26-tonne end-of-operational-life diesel Refuse Collection Vehicle, converted to be fully electric, by a consortium of partners comprising Magnetic Systems Technology, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and DG Cities Limited. The article shows that repowered, end of life, electric Refuse Collection Vehicles offer a viable alternative to diesel powered vehicles to reduce noise within urban areas, whilst maintaining a high-quality service, producing zero-emissions and supporting the principles of a circular economy, by re-using valuable resources.
The full article is available here.

„Our City? Countering Exclusion In Public Space”

We are truly proud to be part of the first publication by the European Placemaking Network with a piece on HUSH CITY app as a digital participatory tool for placemaking healthier and quieter cities!
The book presents „research insights, local stories, tools, and actions, from a variety of voices, to provide you with a clear understanding of what is needed to maintain a sense of belonging in our cities’ public places”. The book also “shows how actively working with the local community, from engagement through to design, can change the way urban spaces are created and activated”.
You can pre-order the book here. Happy reading!

NOISY

NYU Professor Tae Hong Park has recently kicked off NOISY.
NOISY is an AI Powered Automated Airplane Noise Reporting System that can automatically send noise complaints to your participating local airport and, even more importantly, save evidential data for future use.
You can read more on the project, watch the stunning introductory video, and back the project here.

And…“when things get loud, get NOISY!!”

Quiet regards from New York City and Berlin!

 

Everyday Quiet Area of the Week

Calle Angulo, 9, 18002 Granada, Spain.
This everyday quiet area is rated as lively and it is no. 2274 of the Hush City Map

Let’s celebrate INAD 2019!

We are thrilled and honored to partner with the Acoustical Society of America and the New York University (NYU) for the celebration of the International Noise Awareness Day (INAD) 2019!
A series of Hush City soundwalks and a day-long workshop take place in New York throughout April and May 2019.

Save the Dates!

Hush City Soundwalk Series

The Hush City soundwalk series was kicked off on April 8th 2019.
The soundwalk was guided by Antonella, with NYU Professor Tae Hong Park, Dr. Arline Bronzaft and NYU students in the Washington Square Park area. The aim of the soundwalk was to increase awareness on noise, quietness and their impact on health as well as to visit, evaluate and map quiet areas in the Greenwich Village, using the Hush City app.
Quiet areas explored during the soundwalk and data collected by the participants can be reviewed on the Hush City Map here.

Workshop “Noise, Quietness, and the Healthy City”

Later on this month, on April 24th 2019, a day-long workshop “Noise, Quietness, and the Healthy City” will be hosted at New York University with talks, discussions, and a soundwalk in the Washington Square Park area.
This workshop is aimed at engaging the NYC community with expert talks and soundwalks that will provide answers to important questions about city noise, including:

  • What exactly is noise pollution?
  • How does noise affect urban environments, population health, and local economies?
  • What reduction measures and strategies is NYC implementing?
  • What are quiet urban areas and what state-of-the-art measures exist for their identification and protection?
  • What is the “soundscape approach” to noise pollution? Why does it represent a citizen-driven paradigm shift?
  • What are the tools and resources available to take action and contribute to the protection of quiet areas in cities?

Invited speakers include (in alphabetical order):

Organizers and collaborators
The “Noise, Quietness, and the Healthy City” workshop is organized by Antonella Radicchi, Tae Hong Park, and Arline Bronzaft and it has been made possible with the support of (in alphabetical order): Acoustical Society of America (ASA), Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC), Dayton Audio by Parts Express, GrowNYC, HEAD-Genuit Foundation, New York City Department of the Environmental Protection (DEP), New York University (NYU), NoiseGate, Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), The Quiet Coalition, The Trust for Public Land.

Read the full program & schedule here
For those in NYC, please RSPV here

 

Everyday Quiet Area of the Week

1 Washington Square Village, New York, NY 10012, USA. This everyday quiet area is rated as pleasant and it is no. 2127 of the Hush City Map

Sound and the Healthy City (1)

We are thrilled to dedicate this newsletter to the first three papers which have been recently published online, as part of the special issue “Sound and the Healthy City” of the “Cities and Health” Journal.

The aim of the special issue is to put together trans-disciplinary contributions which address not only the negative effects of noise pollution but also the positive effects of the acoustic environment on people’s health and quality of life, focusing on:

  • Public spaces, private/public spaces and the built environment;
  • Streetscapes, walkability, and new forms of mobility;
  • New technology;
  • Urban commons, innovative policies, and form of governance;
  • Placemaking and inclusion;
  • The ecology of urban soundscapes.

The special issue is curated by Antonella Radicchi, the guest lead editor, Lindsay McCunn, the managing editor of the “Cities and Health” journal, and by a fantastic bunch of guest co-editors (in alphabetical order): Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi, Andy Chung, Pamela Jordan, Sharon Stewart, Aggelos Tsaligopoulos.
Last but not least, the special issue would have not be possible without the great support of Marcus Grant, the visionary editor-in-chief of the “Cities and Health” journal.

The call for papers, launched last year on April 25th 2018 for the International Noise Awareness Day, was very successful and 30+ contributions were submitted from several countries worldwide.
As of March 18th 2019, three papers have been published online and further accepted papers will be published in the next weeks.

The first paper “Urban noise levels are high enough to damage auditory sensorineural health” is authored by Jan L. Mayes and it was published online on February 18th 2019.
It highlights how cumulative hazardous urban noise causes auditory sensorineural damage, tinnitus, and hearing impairment in all age groups and it describes how public health noise limits can prevent adverse auditory effects and speech interference disturbing communication.
The full article is available here.

The second paper “Combined soundwalks and lightwalks” is authored by Prof. Dr. Dietrich Henckel and it was published online on March 11th 2019.
The article proposes the performance of combined soundwalks and lightwalks as a method to investigate and evaluate noise and artificial light at night as relevant stressors for human health and wellbeing.
The full article is available here.

The third paper “Soundscape and its contribution to health in the city” is authored by Prof. Dr. Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp and it was published online on March 14th 2019.
It highlights how the soundscape approach to the acoustic environment underlies a holistic concept based on the expertise of the people involved and it stresses how there is an urgent need to get communities involved based on the use of the Soundscape Standard.
The full article is available here.

We will be featuring the latest publications of the special issue “Sound and the Healthy City” through our newsletters to help spread the word around and keep you guys updated.

So, stay tuned and happy reading!

Everyday Quiet Area of the Week

100 Barrow St, New York, NY 10014, USA. This everyday quiet area is rated as relaxing and it is no. 2073 of the Hush City Map

The Hush City Ambassadors!

We would like to dedicate this newsletter to feature the passionate work of the Hush City Ambassadors!

As you might remember, last summer we implemented the new feature, namely the Hush City Ambassadors, both in the app and the web-app versions of the Hush City. The feature tracks the areas crowdsourced with the Hush City on a monthly basis, by reporting the nickname of people, who contributed to the project, and the places where the areas were mapped.

Through the Hush City Ambassadors feature we aim at acknowledging the Hush City community’s members, while protecting their privacy: this is why the app reports the nicknames of the contributors. However, if you are willing to see your real name displayed on the Hush City website, please do not hesitate to drop us a line at info@opensourcesoundscapes.org and we will be happy to feature your work!

Meanwhile, we are thrilled to share with you the invaluable contribution of some of the most active Hush City Ambassadors, operating in Europe and in the US.

In New York City, Jeanine Botta – a recent graduate of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health – has been using the Hush City app to create records of accessible public spaces with relatively peaceful soundscapes. Jeanine included Hush City among six apps related to citizen science and sound that she tested as part of her final research project looking at ease of use among the public.
Jeanine maintains the website for the Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection, and wrote the piece “Citizen Science Gains Popularity” addressing citizen science and smartphone-based sound level measuring apps (including the Hush City app!). You can find it by visiting http://www.quiet.org and scrolling down. Happy reading!

In Granada (Spain), Prof. Vida Manzano of the University of Granada has launched a public crowdsourcing campaign involving both students of the University of Granada and local inhabitants of Granada. Up to the end of September 2018, more than 60 quiet areas were mapped, leading to a comparative study between the areas crowdsourced in Granada and in Berlin. The initial results of the comparative study were presented by Antonella at the 176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America on November 5 2018, by means of a joint paper titled “Soundscape Evaluation of Urban Social Spaces. A Comparative Study: Berlin-Granada”. The abstract is available here.

In Bristol (UK), Sarah Jones-Morris – a landscape architect and director of the firm Landsmith Associates – along with Francois-Xavier Lallemand – an acoustical engineer at Ramboll – have launched a program of monthly public soundwalks to create a quiet map of Bristol, by using the Hush City app. The program aims at linking with Bristol’s Legible City project, with the potential of guiding future use, development and regeneration to positively impact on the future health of the city, people and nature. The next soundwalk is on February 19th at 1pm. Keep yourself updated and bookmark their cool website! You can also follow them on Twitter: @BriSoundwalks

In Singapore, Dr Siu-Kit Lau – senior lecturer at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore – and his students are currently studying the soundscape and quiet areas in Singapore using the Hush City App. The App is also being used in a course as a training and survey tool. Explore the amazing quiet spots crowdsourced in the dense city of Singapore, by having a look & ear at the Hush City map. Happy (quiet) surfing!

Last, but not least!, in Reading (UK), Richard Bentley – a PhD student at the Sonic Art Research Unit, Oxford Brookes University – has been implementing the Hush City app together with a variety of arts interventions in a case study exploring the soundscape of interior quiet spaces in Reading. A second comparative case study in Saint-Denis, Paris will commence later in the year, with Richard employing Hush City as part of a wider Co-Creation mapping project, spearheaded by the NGO European Alternatives (more information here).

We are deeply grateful to our Hush City Ambassadors for their outstanding contributions to the project and we do hope that these fruitful collaborations will be long-lasting, leading to new projects to make our cities quieter and healthier places, where to live in.

Everyday Quiet Area of the Week

Horfield & District Allotments Association, 106 Longmead Ave, Bristol BS7 8QF, UK. This everyday quiet area is rated as beautiful and it is no. 1857 of the Hush City Map

Right to quietness versus right to party

Berlin has a long history of club culture and nightlife, dated back especially to the 1990s, when club cultural activities flourished due to the surplus of available space and lack of control. Nowadays, an increasing number of residents and tourists share public spaces for different uses such as recreation, sporting and cultural activities, leading to potential conflicts.

Free Open Airs

Non-commercial access-free open air events, which usually take place in public spaces, are indeed particularly critical. Youth cultural music events, namely open air raves, have spread out over the past years, provoking conflicts regarding noise and littering. Due to the high number of official open air events (e.g. “Karneval der Kulturen”, a street parade celebrating Berlin’s cultural diversity), it is difficult for organizers to get permissions to organize smaller and unofficial events in public spaces. Furthermore, getting approval often takes several weeks, whereas free open airs are usually spontaneously organized. Consequently, many events are illegally organized.

Right to quietness versus right to party

For young people and newcomers to the music scene it is rather easy to organize free open airs and thus engage with the cultural scene in Berlin. However, open air events can also negatively affect other groups of people, such as local residents, who might need quietness while resting at home, people who are using the same spot (e.g. a park) to recover or people who work nearby and need to focus on tasks. Thus, Berlin is facing the challenge to identify spaces where open air events can be organized without disturbing other people in order to protect the right to quietness and, at the same time, ensure the right to party.

The Model Space project

To tackle this challenge, the Club Commission – a Berlin-based association of club, party and event organisers – has launched the Model Space project in 2018.
The Model Space project aims to identify solutions at spatial and policy level in order to promote and facilitate the use of “Model Spaces” for free open airs. Part of the project was conducted in cooperation with students of the Master’s program in Urban and Regional Planning at TU Berlin, including Charlotte, research assistant at Hush City Mobile Lab. The joint project looked for spatial parameters and potential spaces in Berlin that support the organization of free open airs, without leading to conflicts.
So far, sixty spaces in three Berlin districts (Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Pankow and Mitte) were identified and ranked according to evaluation criteria, like: distance to residential areas, accessibility, nature protection status and noise level thresholds.
For example, one of the best-ranked spaces is the industrial site “Gewerbegebiet Pankow Nord” in the Pankow district. The area is located far from nearby housing complexes (approximately 600 meters), it’s affected by high noise levels due to the nearby highway, and being classified as an industrial site, it has permissible noise levels up to 65 dB(A) during the day and 55 dB(A) at night, according to TA Lärm.

Image of Gewerbegebiet Pankow Nord. © Anton Wohldorf 2018.

 

Due to the complex overlapping of diverse interests and stakeholders, it is still under discussion whether identifying “Model Spaces” is the most effective measure to address the issue of free open airs. Other measures could include the release of a law inspired by the “Freiluftpartygesetz” (the “open air party law”) passed by the city of Bremen. In Bremen, the Municipality implemented a simplified procedure for spontaneous non-commercial open air events with up to 300 people. Instead of applying for permission, people who would like to organise an open air event can communicate their intention, by handing in a one-page form between one week and 24 hours before the event.
In the next weeks, the Model Space project’s team will hand over an advisory report to authorities and politicians discussing research findings and possible further actions.

If you are interested in the outcomes you can stay updated reading the Model Spaces website here.
We are also looking forward to the outcomes of the Model Space project!
It addresses an important yet complicated question: 
how can urban planning and policy innovation meet different needs and avoid conflicts in a growing city like Berlin?
 
If you have ideas on effective measures to address this issues, please, don’t hesitate to contact us: info@opensourcesoundscapes.org.

 

Everyday Quiet Area of the Week

1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569. This everyday quiet area is rated as relaxing and it is no. 1672 of the Hush City Map

Our 2018: in a nutshell!

So, here we are approaching the end of the year! 2018 was the beginning of a new journey, which brought us to conduct in-depth research, live fabulous experiences, make interesting encounters, and have inspiring discussions. We have also learnt many lessons. For example, reflect on failures is as much important as celebrate achievements is. So do we!

APRIL 2018

From Beyond the Noise to Hush City Mobile Lab

After the conclusion of the “Beyond the Noise” research project, we set up the “Hush City Mobile Lab” at the Technical University of Berlin, supported by an HEAD-Genuit Foundation research grant. Key to the project is the application and dissemination of the open source soundscapes approach to everyday quiet areas. Read more here.

International Noise Awareness Day 2018

On April 17th 2018, Antonella led a soundwalk with a group of female students of the Rütlischule in the Reuterkiez for the International Noise Awareness Day. This soundwalk was part of the “Soundwalking in the kiez!” Program, initiated last year within 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. Did you miss it? A recap here.

MAY 2018

Soundwalk in Altstadt Köpenick, Berlin 

On May 16th 2018, Antonella led a soundwalk in Altstadt Köpenick, Berlin. The soundwalk was organized in collaboration with the district of Treptow-Köpenick and the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, within the framework of the public participation campaign “Berlin wird leiser”, preparatory to the next Berlin Noise Action Plan. The soundwalk was a successful experience, which confirmed the interest and the potential of citizens in playing an active role in soundscape evaluation and planning. More on the soundwalk and its results can be found here.

JUNE 2018

Everyday Quiet Areas Map

In June we kicked off the Everyday Quiet Areas Map, which since then has been online and open access here. The map displays the everyday quiet areas crowdsourced worldwide with the Hush City app. By offering open access to the Everyday Quiet Areas Map we hope to increase awareness on the importance of having, curating and protecting everyday quiet areas in our cities. Read more here and give your feedback!

JULY 2018

Future Listening: Soundwalk in the Reuterkiez, Berlin

On July 18th 2018, we celebrated the World Listening Day 2018 with two soundwalks conducted in the Reuterkiez, Berlin. The soundwalks were led by Antonella and organized by Dominik and Stefanie of the Stadtteilbüro Reuterkiez. Interestingly, besides traffic noise, nightlife was reported as a novel, albeit dramatic, noise source in the neighborhood. We are happy to inform you that the District of Neukölln had just approved a noise impact study to deepen the issue in the area, starting from 2019. More on the soundwalk and the World Listening Day here.

AUGUST 2018

New version of the Hush City app!

In August, we released a new free version of the Hush City app with tremendous new features. For example, we implemented new languages and now the app is available in English, German, Spanish and Italian. And because your contribution is fundamental, we added the “Hush City Ambassador” feature! When you submit a survey you will be nominated “Hush City Ambassador” of the city where you collected the survey. Read more on the new features here. New to the Hush City app? Give it a try here!

SEPTEMBER 2018

Soundwalk in the Pankstrasse area, Berlin

On September 11th 2018, Antonella led a soundwalk in the Pankstrasse area, Berlin. The soundwalk was organized by the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, in collaboration with the district Mitte of Berlin and the Quartiersmanagment Pankstraße within the framework of the public participation campaign held in preparation of the next Berlin Noise Action Plan “Berlin wird leiser”. Curious of what the participants reported? Read here the results.

OCTOBER 2018

Car-free cities: a new trend?

In several European cities – across Spain, France and the UK, for example – walkability, bike-friendly design and free public transport are measures rising on the top of the planning agenda. And our newsletter dedicated to the car-free cities movement was one of our most popular ones in 2018! Did you miss it? Read it here.

NOVEMBER 2018

Soundwalk in Madrid

On November 27th 2018, Antonella led a soundwalk in the historical center of Madrid! The soundwalk was organized by Professor Vida Manzano, within the context of the International Conference of the Environment: CONAMA 2018. During the soundwalk, the Hush City app was used to evaluate the 8 listening points along the route. Seventeen participants joined the soundwalk and overall they collected 61 datasets: 61 recordings, 61 noise measurements, 61 pictures & 1220 entries. Do you know that you can review the Madrid quiet areas, crowdsourced during the soundwalk, on the Hush City website? See for example, area #1586 at Puerta del Sol.

THANK YOU!

We would like to conclude this year by thanking you very much for your fantastic participation and kind attention. We will get back in touch early in the new year with great news for the 2019!

Quiet wishes & Happy New Year!

The Hush City Mobile Lab Team

News & Events: Autumn Edition

After a summer packed with conferences and events that offered interesting discussions and new perspectives, we have entered the Autumn season ready for new exciting projects and opportunities.

Hush City at the Bloomsbury Festival, London (UK)

On Saturday 20 October 2018, we exhibited the Hush City app & map at the stunning event “Activists and Architects of Change” organized by the UCL Extreme Citizen Science Lab within the Bloomsbury Festival held in London from October 17-21 2018.
Our Hush City Ambassador for London, Mattia Cobianchi, run the Hush City table and welcomed the visitors, guiding them through a virtual tour of the quiet areas crowdsourced worldwide with the Hush City app.
We are grateful to Prof. Muki Haklay for the kind invitation, to Alex Albert for her enthusiastic support with the organization and to Mattia for his kind availability!

Hush City featured on Soundproofist 

In the latest Soundproofist’s podcast episode, “Learn how your contributions can help civic planning. A conversation with the creator of the Hush City app”, Antonella was interviewed by Cary of Soundproofist on the Hush City app.
In the podcast, Antonella discusses the importance of placing people at the core of soundscape and urban planning, highlighting how Hush City app can favor this process and contribute to the planning of healthy sonic environments.
You can listen to the podcast both on Soundproofist or on iTunes.
We thank Cary very much for her interest in the Hush City project and for helping us in spreading the word around!

176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Victoria, Canada, 5-9 November 2018

Antonella is currently attending the 176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Victoria: on November 5 2018,  she presented the initial findings of a comparative study developed in collaboration with Prof. Vida Manzano (University of Granada), in which the Hush City framework was applied to evaluate urban quiet areas both in Berlin and Granada.
You can find the abstract of the presentation and have a look at the conference program here.

Public Forum “Creating Quieter Communities”, University of Victoria, Canada, 7 November 2018

Antonella will present the Hush City project at the public forum “Creating Quieter Communities”, organized by Prof. Trevor Hancock at the University of Victoria.
As reported in the column written by Prof. Hancock to promote the public event, the forum aims at encouraging public debate with local communities on noise pollution, its negative impact on health and well-being and noise mitigation strategies.
Noise is addressed by Prof. Hancock as a “secondhand noise”, as something that is “put into the environment without people’s consent”, as it is the case of sonic assaults we are subjected in bars, restaurants and stores.
In his article, Prof. Hancock goes on and concludes arguing for “the right to a quiet community where [people] can have a quiet meal and a conversation — or sit out on the street, or in the park, or in the garden — without being driven away or indoors by noise.”
We are grateful to Porf. Hancock for his kind invitation to participate in the forum!
Read the full article by Prof. Hancock here.

Stay Tuned

Curious to hear more about the events?
Follow us on Twitter in these days @HUSHCITYapp @btnoss. We will post real time updates from the events!

A Thank You! note

Do you know that the Hush City community crowdsourced over 1000 quiet spots worldwide?
You can access them here.
We would like to conclude this newsletter with a big Thank You! to the Hush City soundscape & citizen science community of mappers & ambassadors that regularly contribute to the project.
We would be happy to publish your names on our website! If you like the idea, just drop us an email at: info@opensourcesoundscapes.org

Everyday quiet area of the week


17 W Waterfront Rd, Vancouver, BC V6C, Canada. This everyday quiet area is rated as informative and it is no. 1422 of the Hush City Map.

Car-free cities: a new trend?

Traffic is the main source of noise in cities.
In Germany, for example, 60% of the population feels disturbed by road noise (see BUND). In Europe, 100 million people are exposed to road noise levels higher than 55 dB(A) at daytime, with 55 dB(A) being the threshold for annoyance (European Commission 2017).
Around 60 years ago, the car-friendly city was considered a progressive planning paradigm. Nowadays we face a paradigm shift in urban planning to reduce traffic and its negative consequences on health and the environment at large. Measures, like fostering walkability and improving bicycle infrastructure, promoting public transport and e-mobility and banning cars from city centers, are increasingly taken to reach this goal.

Pontevedra, a pioneer city in banning cars

19 anni fa, la città di Pontevedra, nella Spagna nord-occidentale, ha messo al bando le auto dal suo centro di 300.000 metri quadrati. Da allora, il centro città è stato trasformato in un luogo adatto ai pedoni, implementando misure come:

  1. rimuovere i parcheggi dalle strade;
  2. sostituzione di parcheggi con parcheggi sotterranei o periferici;
  3. sostituire i semafori con le rotatorie;
  4. riducendo il limite di velocità a 30 km / h nelle zone esterne della città.

Questi cambiamenti sono stati efficaci e hanno portato grandi benefici:

  • senza decessi dovuti al traffico, dal 2009;
  • Le emissioni di CO2 sono diminuite del 70%;
  • quasi i tre quarti dei viaggi in auto sono ora fatti in bicicletta oa piedi;
  • il centro ha guadagnato 12.000 nuovi abitanti;
  • la qualità del soundscape è migliorata in modo significativo.

Il divieto di macchine ha portato a un paesaggio sonoro completamente nuovo nel centro di Pontevedra: al giorno d’oggi è possibile ascoltare cinguettio di uccelli, voci umane e bambini felici, che possono giocare e muoversi in sicurezza.
Leggi di più qui .

Una nuova tendenza?

Molte altre città internazionali stanno adottando misure simili. Nel 2015, Madrid ha messo al bando le auto dal centro città e attualmente la città sta lavorando al cosiddetto Piano A per rimuovere le auto private da 500 ettari di città e dimezzare le emissioni entro il 2030 ( vedi Zeit online ). La città di Oslo prevede anche di bandire permanentemente le auto private dal centro città entro il 2019, e molte città come Berlino, Amburgo, Parigi e Londra stanno introducendo il divieto del gasolio ( vedi Curbed ).

Città rispettose del clima, tranquille e vivibili

Molte delle misure attuate si concentrano sul rendere le città più rispettose dell’ambiente, che alla fine porteranno a migliorare la qualità della vita nelle città. Le auto sono sporche, rumorose e occupano molto spazio. Gran parte dello spazio pubblico è attualmente dedicato al traffico. Meno traffico e una riprogettazione più favorevole ai pedoni consente alle persone di riutilizzare lo spazio pubblico in vari modi. Permette inoltre di creare aree verdi e più tranquille che invitano le persone a incontrarsi o rilassarsi: spazi che possono rendere le nostre città luoghi di vita più sani e vivibili.

Zona tranquilla della settimana

David Keir Building, 39-123 Stranmillis Rd, Belfast BT9 5AG, UK.
This everyday quiet area is rated as relaxing and it is no. 1346 of the Hush City Map

Report on the soundwalk Mitte

On September 11 2018, we led a soundwalk in Mitte Pankstraße area, organized within the framework of the public participation campaign held in preparation of the next Berlin Noise Action Plan  “Berlin wird leiser”, with the aim of involving stakeholders and inhabitants living in the area in the evaluation of quiet areas nearby the Pankstraße area.

The soundwalk was led by Dr. Antonella Radicchi (TU Berlin) and organized by the Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, in collaboration with the district Mitte of Berlin and the Quartiersmanagment Pankstraße.

Today’s newsletter will report on the initial results of the quiet area evaluation performed by the participants during the soundwalk.

By sharing this story, we hope to grasp your curiosity on soundwalks: powerful participatory excursions, whose main purpose is to listen to the environment, evaluate its sonic impact on our health and develop strategies to improve it. Soundwalks are indeed effective research methods adopted by the international scientific community and regulated by international standard norms, e.g. ISO 12913-1:2014 and ISO/DIS 12913-2.

If you are curious to read more about the method of soundwalking, find here “A Pocket Guide to Soundwalking” written by Dr. Antonella Radicchi.

By sharing this story, we also hope to raise your awareness on the importance of identifying and protecting urban quiet areas, an open issue at the European policy level. The European Environmental Noise Directive (EC 49/2002) indeed requires Member States and their major cities to develop plans to protect quiet areas, as measures to reduce noise pollution in cities and safeguard citizens’ health and well-being.

Introduction

The soundwalk was joined by a group of 14 committed Berliners, including people living in the area, and officials from the district Mitte of Berlin, the Quartiersmanagement Pankstraße and the Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection.

The meeting point was at the corner of Ruheplatzstrasse and Antonstrasse, where Antonella gave a short introduction to the activity. Printed questionnaires were also distributed to the participants who could not use the Hush City app. Then, the participants were engaged in “ear cleaning” exercises, which were invented by Murray Schafer – the father of the soundscape studies – with the aim of helping the soundwalks’ participants in re-tuning into the environment and open the ears.  

The route

Antonella led the soundwalk along a predefined route, composed of 6 listening points, identified in agreement with the district Mitte, the Quartiersmanagment Pankstraße and the Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection (see the map below).

Map showing the soundwalk’s path and the 6 listening points: 1) Plantagenstraße 17, 2) Playground at Adolfstr. 12, 3) Gerichtstraße 50/51, 4) Nettelbeckplatz, 5) first stop along the Panke river, 6) second stop along the Panke river. Image source: © A.R., Hush City Mobile Lab 2018, TU Berlin

 

The participants were invited to walk along an ideal line at slow pace in silence, following Antonella who guided the group while recording the sonic environment with her H4 ZOOM recorder. Walking in silence and stay focused on listening was clearly a challenge for the majority of the participants, who tended to walk in small groups and talk along the route.

At each listening point we stopped, and the participants were asked to listen to the environment in silence for a couple of minutes. Then, they were invited to evaluate the quiet area where we were, by replying to the questionnaires or by using the Hush City app. At the end of the soundwalk, we had a discussion about the overall experience.

Initial results

Whereas the traditional acoustic planning approach relies on measurements and calculations to map and evaluate environmental noise, the soundscape approach aims at studying the sonic environment, focusing on the way “people perceive, understand and /or experience [it] in context” (ISO 2014). To bridge the two approaches, we cross-analyzed the noise levels measured at each listening point with the level of perceived quietness expressed by the participants thought a 5-point linear scale (not quiet-very quiet). The results are illustrated in the diagram below.

Noise levels and perceived quietness

Diagram showing the cross-evaluation of noise levels measured at the 6 listening points with the level of perceived quietness expressed by the participants at the same points. Image source: © C.W., Hush City Mobile Lab 2018, TU Berlin.

 

Overall data evaluation shows a consistency between the noise levels measured and the level of quietness perceived by the participants, confirming the assumption that citizens can be considered as smart, active sensors in the context of soundscape evaluation processes (Radicchi et al. 2017). Ambivalent results were found at the fifth area, a linear green path along the Panke river, which was perceived at the same time “not quiet”, “slightly quiet” and “quiet” by the participants.

Although through the questionnaire many topics were evaluated by the participants, in this context we will discuss only the results pertaining: the noise levels; the level of quietness, the positive and negative sounds and the overall landscape quality, all as perceived by the participants.

Listening point 1: Plantagenstraße 17

Word clouds of the negative & positive sounds (respectively in red and green color), indicated by the participants in the soundwalk. © C.W., Hush City Mobile Lab 2018, TU Berlin

The first area at Plantagenstraße 17 was perceived as “quiet” by the majority of the participants, a result consistent with the noise levels of 41.3 dB(A).
Among the positive sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated: natural sounds such as sounds of the wind through the leaves, human voices, and church bells. A participant indicated the “absence of loud sounds”.
Among the negative sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated traffic noise.
The majority of the participants rated the overall landscape quality as “good”.
Do you want to explore the datasets collected in this area by the participants with the Hush City app? Click here!

Listening point 2: the playground at Adolfstrasse 12

Word clouds of the negative & positive sounds (respectively in red and green color), indicated by the participants in the soundwalk. © C.W., Hush City Mobile Lab 2018, TU Berlin

 

The second area, the playground at Adolfstr. 12, was perceived as “slightly quiet” and “not quiet” by the majority of the participants, a result relatively consistent with the noise levels of 50.5 dB(A).
Among the positive sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated:  sound of wind through the leaves, kids playing and also people’s conversations,  as well as “quiet atmosphere despite of loud sounds”.
Among the negative sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated  (kids) yelling, although some participants softened their answers, e.g. by adding comments like “too much yelling by kids after a long work day” or “loud yelling of the kids can be stressing in the long run”.
The majority of the participants rated the overall landscape quality as “good”.
Do you want to explore the datasets collected in this area by the participants with the Hush City app? Click here

Listening point 3: the pedestrian area at Gerichtstraße 50/51

Word clouds of the negative & positive sounds (respectively in red and green color), indicated by the participants in the soundwalk. © C.W., Hush City Mobile Lab 2018, TU Berlin

The third area, a small pedestrian area at Gerichtstraße 50/51, was perceived as “quiet” by the majority of the participants, a result consistent with the noise levels measured at 46.3 dB(A).
Among the positive sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated: sound of wind through the leaves, bicycles. And also: birds, absence of loud sounds, human sounds.
Among the negative sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated: ventilation and motorized sounds.
The majority of the participants rated the overall landscape quality as “fairly good” and “good”.
Do you want to explore the datasets collected in this area by the participants with the Hush City app? Click here!

Listening point 4: the public square Nettelbeckplatz

Word clouds of the negative & positive sounds (respectively in red and green color), indicated by the participants in the soundwalk. © C.W., Hush City Mobile Lab 2018, TU Berlin

The fourth area, the public square Nettelbeckplatz, was perceived as “slightly quiet” and “not quiet” by the majority of the participants, a result relatively consistent with the noise levels of 54.5 dB(A).
Among the positive sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated: water fountain sounds, conversations.
Among the negative sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated: traffic sounds.
The majority of the participants rated the overall landscape quality as “fairly good”.
Do you want to explore the datasets collected in this area by the participants with the Hush City app? Click here!

Listening point 5: the linear green path along the Panke river

Word clouds of the negative & positive sounds (respectively in red and green color), indicated by the participants in the soundwalk. © C.W., Hush City Mobile Lab 2018, TU Berlin

 

The fifth area, a linear green path along the Panke river, was perceived as “quiet”, “slightly quiet” , and “not quiet”  by the participants, an ambivalent result considering the low noise levels of 46.3 dB(A).
Among the positive sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated: bird chirping, wind through the leaves, wind, water sounds, and also: foot steps, S-Bahn sounds.
Among the negative sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated:  traffic sounds from cars and the S-Bahn, ambulance signals.
The majority of the participants rated the overall landscape quality as “good”.
Do you want to explore the datasets collected in this area by the participants with the Hush City app? Click here!

Listening point 6: along the Panke river

Word clouds of the negative & positive sounds (respectively in red and green color), indicated by the participants in the soundwalk. © C.W., Hush City Mobile Lab 2018, TU Berlin

The sixth area along the Panke river was perceived as “quiet” by the majority of the participants, a result consistent with the noise levels of 39.7 dB(A).
Among the positive sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated: nature, kids’ voices, foot steps (on gravel). And also: muffled noises, “quietness itself”, and bicycles.
Among the negative sounds for the sense of quietness, participants mostly indicated: loud voices, kids yelling, and also dog barking, cars.
The majority of the participants rated the overall landscape quality as “good”.
Do you want to explore the datasets collected in this area by the participants with the Hush City app? Click here!

Conclusion

The soundwalk in Mitte confirmed the interest and the potential of citizens in playing an active role in the evaluation and planning of the sonic environment.
In the final discussion, participants drew the attention on the high level of noise pollution they suffer especially from traffic and asked for effective actions to calm the traffic down and protect housing from noise.
To create healthy environments, noise pollution mitigation measures are of course necessary, but the two actions of noise reduction and quiet areas protection need to be implemented in parallel, as indicated by the European Environmental Noise Directive (END 49/2002).
The World Health Organization also confirmed the importance of achieving this twofold goal: in the new Environmental Noise Guidelines, recently released on October 10 2018, the first guiding principle advocates for reducing exposure to noise, while conserving quiet areas.
Although the WHO guidelines are not legally binding, we hope governments and officials will not dismiss its recommendations, considering the extent of the health problems associated with noise as clearly reported in the guidelines.

Did you like our report? We are thrilled to get your feedback, so please get in touch at: info@opensourcesoundscapes.org.