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
The homepage displays the worldwide map of the everyday quiet areas collected with the Hush City app. They are represented by colour markers: if you click on each of the markers, a window pops up displaying all the information collected by the user and related to the quiet area. For example, you can listen to the sound recorded in that area, have a look at the picture of the area, read the noise readings and the user feedback evaluating the quiet area.
2) The search box & the icons
On the right top corner of the homepage, you can find the search box and 6 icons. Through the search box, you can explore quiet areas mapped all around the world. For example, Berlin, Granada, Bristol, New York, Cambridge (USA), and Geneva are the most mapped cities. The 6 icons offer you the possibility to (1) provide feedback, (2) visualize the everyday quiet areas in the list view mode, (3) filter the everyday quiet areas, (4) access the legend, (5) select your favourite language, (6) show your current location on the map.
The Filters feature allows you to select and display on the map the everyday quiet areas according to their noise levels, the descriptors used to tag them, the perceived level of quietness, the overall quality, the accessibility, and the timeframe (coming soon).
4) iTunes and Google Play buttons
Interested in joining the community? Click on the buttons displayed on the homepage to download the Hush City app and start crowdsourcing your favourite quiet areas.
Why crowdsourcing quiet areas?
Our cities have become increasingly noisier. In Europe, over 125 million people are affected by noise pollution from traffic every year, and apparently, quietness is becoming a luxury available only to a few of us. In 2002 the EU Environmental Noise Directive (END 2002/49/EC) was released with the aim to provide a common methodology among Member States to reduce noise pollution and protect quiet areas both in open country and in agglomerations.
However, the common methods applied by acoustic planning to identify and protect quiet areas mainly rely on acoustical criteria (e.g. noise levels), land use criteria and/or size based criteria and don’t involve people in the process.
To help fill this gap of knowledge, we have developed a novel participatory methodology combining the soundscape approach and citizen science, in which people’s preferences are applied as the main criterion to identify and evaluate everyday quiet areas on the neighbourhood scale.
Impact of the Hush City app & the Hush City map
The results of the 1st year experimentation are available by accessing the Hush City map here, where the everyday quiet areas crowdsourced worldwide by people using the Hush City app are displayed.
In Berlin, for example, people have identified an extensive network of everyday quiet areas, which can have a positive impact on our health and well-being when properly curated.
By joining the community and using the Hush City app you can help us understand what quietness is for people and what kind of strategies can be implemented to protect them. You can participate in many ways:
1) by downloading the Hush City app and crowdsourcing your favourite quiet spots;
2) by getting in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or on Twitter at @HUSHCITYapp;
3) by sharing feedback through the Hush City web-platform, available here.
By offering open access to the Everyday Quiet Areas Map we hope to increase awareness on the importance of having and curating everyday quiet areas in our cities. Join the community and help us in making quietness accessible to everyone in our society!
‘Till next week, and quiet regards from Berlin!
The Hush City Mobile Lab Team